Last week we were blessed with snow in Bath - I know it is not a blessing for commuters trying to get to work, but it is heaven for painters! Obviously painting in the snow means braving the cold and losing a finger or two, but it's so worth it!
I couldn't take the car or the bike as the roads were slippery so I went painting just around the corner from my house in Oldfield Park in Bath. I moved here in November and I'm still exploring the area for painting spots which is very exciting. I found a little alley with a beautiful view over Bath and I liked it so much that I ended up doing 3 little paintings at the same spots (over two days) to show the change of light. Here is below the study I did in the morning:
|Claude Vale, Bath, in the snow, morning 10"x8" oil on board|
Snow is so great to paint because it reflects light in a beautiful way. What one would think is simple white is actually a multitude of colours, highlights and shadows that turn the ground and shapes into beautiful sculptures. More true than ever, painting at the scene is almost essential because the camera doesn't always capture those subtleties.
Here is my set up towards the end of the session. As I packed up, my clumsy old self managed to drop the painting face down in the snow! That's what I call really "getting a feel of the place and putting this on the canvas". Fortunately it dried up when I returned home...
Here is below my second painting of the same view, done in the late afternoon/early evening, when the light was disappearing and the city lights were showing up:
|Claude Vale, Bath, in the snow, evening 10"x8" oil on board|
|My painting after around 45 minutes|
Finally, I did a final painting making the most of the last minutes of light before it was completely dark. This was really a race against time and I could hardly see anything. I painted the same tree but this time showed the view on the left. Just for a few minutes there was that amazing intense blue light in the sky so I rushed putting it on the canvas. Shortly after this, it was pitch black.
Here is below a painting of a street just around the corner where I live. I loved effect of the snow on the roofs and cars and the lovely purple view in the distance:
|My painting towards the end|
Finally, here is a bigger painting made on park just at the end of my street which is a cul-de-sac. It was a bit of an adventure getting there as the road leading to the park is rather hilly and very slippery - most of the time it felt more like iceskating than walking. Add the challenge of carrying a painting kit and a wet painting on the way back and one might start feeling like an adventurer on a mission!
The view from the park was beautiful and the families playing in the snow added a lively touch to the scene.
(Apologies for the painting image below overlapping on the right, but I wanted to show it big enough to be able to see the details. As usual you can click on the image for full view)
|First snow, late afternoon at the park on the top of Ivy Avenue 9"x16" oil on board|
Below you can see my set up towards the end. When I left the light had completely gone:
The snow has now melted so I'm now already looking forward to spring with its longer and warmer days and its variety of beautiful greens!