Meet 6 painters who find beauty in winter scenes
This story was featured in the December 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
“I painted this one in March in the Russian countryside. Spring in Russia often means the first days of bright sunlight after the short, gray days of February. The turn of the season brings a great change to everything. In the new light, with its blue shadows and warm sun rays, everything looks beautiful. This scene was right outside the door of the place where I stayed. I was at a friend’s house in the countryside and made a lengthy winter painting trip to Plyos, a village on the Volga River. In the gray February weather, I often walked past this spot. But after seeing it one morning in March, I returned the next day and began painting. Because the shadows moved quickly, as did the patches of warm sunlight on the snow, it took me a few mornings to capture the scene.”
“I painted NEXT GENERATION during the first snowfall of the season in the mountains above Santa Fe. I was so excited to see the snow again. So I drove up the mountain in the storm to see if I could find a painting. Coming around a sharp turn, I was struck by this image—the tallest pines were towering into the sky, while, at their feet, the baby trees were growing back. It was an area where they had cut the road through the forest years before. These baby trees had taken root there and were reaching upward toward their enormous parents. I tried to capture the moment when the sun’s rays were barely beginning to filter through the clouds after the storm. Everything was hushed and still, the sparkling forest silently holding its breath.”
“My favorite time to paint snow scenes is in early spring in the high Colorado Rockies when the sun feels warm, the snow sparkles, the sky is cobalt blue, and the willows are showing off their new, pink growth. BEDAZZLED captures one of those magical days. I focused on the rhythm of the warm shadows dancing across the slopes and the contrast of the bright willows against the deep forest. Painting on a yellow archival suede board with soft pastels, I suggested the scene without getting caught up in unnecessary details, keeping it quiet and serene.”
“I moved to Grand County, Colorado, 13 years ago and have become fond of the old trucks parked here and there around the county. I pass this one on my way to and from my own studio/gallery every day. Every season that truck is still in the same spot. Sometimes there is an aspen backdrop. It receives its washing by the rain in the spring, and this heavy snowstorm covered most of the rusty spots, finally giving me inspiration to paint it. It is a landmark to me now. It is for sale, and I may have to move it home to a new setting! I love painting my own state with its remarkable beauty and often do my work without objects. But when I do look for an object in the landscapes I paint, it is usually an old truck or bicycle.”
“Living in the mountains of Idaho, my painting is inspired by the incredible scenery—rivers, mountains, aspens, rural scenes—especially the scenes in winter. The exciting shadow patterns created in the snow intrigue me. I look for warm tones to offset the array of blue, and violet sets up a natural color harmony.
“For QUIET OF A WINTER DUSK, I literally stopped in my tracks to quickly get down, in a small study, the fast-fading light on the peaks. It was cold, quiet, and beautiful. The colder the temperature, the smaller the canvas! This one was 5 by 7. Back in the studio, I painted this 30 by 40 from the study and memory. Painting from life is essential to my work—even if it’s five below.”
“My first plein-air paintings were done along Cherry Creek, in the Denver area, 30 years ago. I have visited and painted the creek ever since. She is like a dear friend who never fails to comfort and inspire me. Winter scenes like EARLY MARCH DAY, which was painted last year, are especially exciting to me since they offer the contrast of a blue, chilled snow against a warm, red willow. This painting served as a catalyst for a larger studio piece. Painting plein air allows one to connect with the landscape through all the senses. I strive to convey an emotional as well as a visual aspect in my paintings, so the viewer can experience a fuller relationship with the image.”
Grapevine Gallery, Oklahoma City, OK; Betsy Swartz Fine Art, Bozeman, MT; Elements 5280 Gallery, Greenwood Village, CO; The Mission Gallery, St. George, UT; Abend Gallery, Denver, CO; Cogswell Gallery, Vail, CO; www.lorenzochavez.com.
Featured in the December 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art December 2013 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
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