The value of snow

There’s a retired man in my neighbourhood who is constantly shovelling the snow outside his house. His driveway is immaculate — even during a storm — because he’s always out there with a shovel. In spring I see him shovelling the snow off his lawn and carrying it onto the street. I, on the other hand, eagerly seek out these patches of snow on grass. I love how the remaining whites provide the lightest values in a sketch and in fact, I miss the snow when it’s all gone. You see, snow makes it easy when you are thinking in terms of lights, midtones and darks in a sketch, and even though I am looking forward to spring, I will miss the patches of white that help me compose the picture.


19 Comments on “The value of snow”

  1. And what a gorgeous painting and post this is! Thanks for sharing!!


  2. Peter says:

    Not only is the painting beautiful — I think I like just as much the assessment on the value of snow. As a photographer who is far more passionate about monochrome images than color the value of ‘whites’ and blacks is indelibly impressed upon me. But so often we gloss over those values when we see a scene. Thank you very much for the reminder.


    • I’m glad you found this useful Peter. I don’t always write about this but it is something that is on my mind with every sketch and drawing. Of course you must think about that too, especially if you work in b&w.


  3. Brilliant, love the trees. I want to be just like you when I grow up but chances of me ever growing up are small. Last art show of season this Saturday, hooray for a break! xo Jacques


    • I hope the show goes well John. May you sell enough to take a holiday after the season. Although you already live in a beautiful place, so I guess you don’t feel the need to get away like we northerners do.


  4. Ross says:

    I think you will miss the snow because you will have to start painting a whole picture again.

    [I thought I needed to get that comment in before the snow completely disappears and I lose my chance for this year… if I recall correctly, I make this same inane comment every year]


  5. andre savard. says:

    Best time in the spring. Snow and grass. It really brightens up a painting.
    Love this indian snow, a pacht here, a patch there !!!!!!!!!!


  6. sandidureice says:

    I like the ramshackle look of the distant building, slightly story-book style. And the sparkles of the dry brush in the sky, and how you have glazed over part of this but still retained some of the sparkle through the glaze.

    I know this comment sounds technical like some of my other comments. But as a viewer I do appreciate your paintings, first of all, emotionally. Then, as a student, I begin to analyse why certain parts of the painting grab me. I only spend a little time over this. It’s an enjoyable challenge. Thankyou. Sandi


    • I’m glad you spend time analyzing the sketches Sandi. I do that all the time too. Usually my first thought is “What colour did they use to achieve that?”. That’s a pretty technical question too. Then I try to figure out the order of the washes. What went down first, what was painted later, etc. It’s a good exercise.


  7. Janet says:

    As always, I think your work is amazing. Love the colors in this painting. I have to tell you that my cousin, in Illinois, has a neighbor just like the retired gentleman you mentioned. He is constantly shoveling the driveway and is not happy until the last little bit of snow is completely gone from his lawn and drive. He does the same thing with leave in the fall. He blows them all off of his property on to the street. We all get such a kick out of him. Thank you so much for sharing every day. You are awesome.


    • That’s very funny Janet. I’m sure this gentleman does the same thing with his leaves. There’s probably a few of these guys in every neighbourhood. They are definitely not sketchers. I would much rather be drawing than raking. Wouldn’t you?


  8. Connie Renaud says:

    I love this painting. The fact that it is winter, my favourite season, the manner in which you show the snow, the colour of the buildings and the general presentation. You are an inspiration!
    Thank you for sharing.


  9. Gabriella says:

    Since I have been following your blog, I certainly no longer look at the snow in the same way. We dot quite get as much as you do in Wisconsin but there is still a lot to look at, observe and paint.


  10. Sonya batten says:

    You are right snow makes for a beautiful picture! Unfortunetely where I live it never falls. Here in South Australia.


    • Thanks for writing Sonya. You really have a different climate to deal with thank I do. I am looking forward to some of the warmth you enjoy but spring is really starting to take over here. The snow has finally disappeared.


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