Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Last Hurrah of Winter?

"Snow Tracks", 8x10 plein air,
oil on panel

We've had a remarkable run of good weather in Michigan. For more than a week the days have been warm and sunny with snow remaining on the ground. This weather condition has been key to Mother Nature providing phenomenal abstract shapes for our enjoyment and material for artists to capture.

During this time, I've been busy in the studio working on several commissions but have made it a point to head out to my favorite location to paint en plein air from 4:00 PM until sunset each day. Being familiar with the area I usually have a feel for what I might want to paint before arriving which cuts down on set-up time. I get right into it and paint until just before 6 PM then stow my gear and wet canvas in the car. Then, with camera in hand, I enjoy the next one-half hour of the most extraordinary light imaginable.

The conditions have been remarkable. I'm not a scientist so have no idea what the official explanation would be but it must have something to do with the low trajectory of a very warm sun on moisture laden air and snow. It's at times like this that I wish every student I've ever had who has said, "I don't see all those colors you put in your snow", was with me. In these brief unique sunny days the snow has been a kaleidoscope of color. Strange colors have even shown on other objects as well as I was able to record below. Note the turquoise fence shadow on the side of the barn. This is accurate and has not been digitally altered. Unbelievable!

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