Winter is here, I’ve been painting snowy scenes, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my December landscape-painting project. With yesterday’s painting — Moonlight Night — I felt a sense of satisfaction. I was pleased with the painting. In many ways it represented progress I’ve made over the last two weeks.
But, let’s never rest on our laurels, right? When things are progressing nicely, why not throw a monkey wrench into the works just to see what happens?
My little monkey wrench came about while painting recent “snowscapes”. Painting snow is a good challenge at times. There are many different colors in a snowscape, and it’s been fun to play with “warm snow scenes” and “cool snow scenes”.
To learn more about how to paint snow, I turned to an old issue of Artist magazine. I’d read it before, remembered that much of the issue focused on painting winter scenes, and thought that it might be helpful. It was. It was also inspiring.
The magazine was filled with gorgeous paintings. One article featured Canadian artist Simon Andrews and his abstract winter scenes.
I’m not an abstract painter, yet I enjoy seeing abstract landscape art. It takes the essential elements of a landscape, turns them into shapes and colors, and throws in a bit of… well, abstract expression, for wont of a better term.
Andrews used bold colors; his brushstrokes were thick and heavy. I liked what I saw, and while I don’t intend to make abstraction part of my personal style, I wanted to play with it a bit. So when I got ready to do the next painting in my series, I decided to change it up a bit.
The original “inspiration” painting by Charles Warren Eaton was that of a snowy forest. It’s a beautiful painting, almost entirely black and white. Nice, but I wanted a forest with a hint of color, something less representational, something more imaginative.
I dabbled around a bit, made thick impasto brush strokes in my snowy foreground, and came up with my own version of an abstract landscape painting. But I didn’t stop there. I uploaded the photo, played with it using different “filters” and finally came up with this.
I titled it “A Congregation of Trees” because that was my impression… all of these trees coming together in celebration, honoring the earth, dancing in the snow, singing their praises to the beauty of a cold, winter’s day.
I can’t say that I love it; I won’t say that I hate it. I do like what this was all about — using imagination, playing with ideas, mixing different styles and techniques, and creating something uniquely my own, something that tells the story I wanted to tell.
Maybe it just looks like random shapes. Maybe it doesn’t look like anything at all. Maybe you can’t see the trees for the forest, or maybe it’s the other way around. I can see lots of things in it, though, and in some silly way this painting makes me happy. And that always feels good.