Monday, February 26, 2018

Fleeting Snow

Bloomfield Street
14x18 Oil by Michael Chesley Johnson
Available - Special Pricing for a Short Time!
(Includes frame and shipping to continental US)

You'd think snow this deep would last weeks, but that's not the case here in my part of New Mexico.  Four inches of heavy, wet snow lasts maybe a day or two in the intense sun of late winter.  Because of the generally low humidity, however, it will persist in shaded spots--sometimes for a month!  Right now, the snow depicted in the painting above is mostly gone, except for a scrap here and there, tucked into the shadows.

All that is an explanation of why this painting was made from a photograph.  Trina and I were driving through our town, came to a stop sign, and there it was:  my favorite stone house, surrounded by Lombardy poplars.  The shadows on the snow were a lovely blue; the house, built a long time ago of the local sandstone, shone yellow; and the underbelly of the tree tops glowed with a subtle warmth.  So, I snapped a photo, knowing it wasn't possible to paint this scene en plein air.  I knew the snow would soon melt, and I felt comfortable painting this scene from a photo because I've painted many, many snow paintings over the years.

Back in the studio, I got to work.    For those of you curious about color palettes,  it felt right to go with mostly earth colors.  I used only burnt sienna, yellow ochre and Prussian blue, plus a little naphthol red to intensify the bounced light in the trees.  (These are all Gamblin colors.)

You can see a much larger version of this painting here.

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