So, what’s the big deal about painting snow?

Finished at last

It took immensely longer than necessary to finish this painting because…snow. I did three different versions of the snow and the light falling on it before I finally hit on this one. I had scoured the internet looking for photos of light at night that would work with this particular house and was having zero success. So why didn’t I just go back to the cottage after the foot and a half of snow had fallen this month and take some more photos? 1) It was closed up for winter, and 2) even if it hadn’t been, I had no desire to stand around in near zero degree weather waiting for just the right moment. I already had good photos of the house with snow on the ground, I just didn’t have any kind of dramatic lighting.

This painting was cobbled together from a full daylight photo, night photos with lights on  taken in summer from a boat on the lake, and dusk photos taken also with the lights on. While these photos worked for the lit windows (I had to cut them from one photo and paste them into another in Photoshop) there was no dramatic reflective or emanating light because what was coming from the windows just wasn’t intense enough. It was up to me to make something up.

At my wit’s end, I mentioned my predicament to a friend. She is a realtor, and just by chance she thought she had the perfect photo of a lit up house and snow right on her phone. It turned out she was right. It had just the right light-to-dark perspective and sequence, although not the color. I didn’t care about the color, I already knew what I was going to use. Just needed a road map to lay it down properly.

So, the last of the four cottage paintings is complete, my client is ecstatic, and I am too.

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Home stretch time

Got the windows all properly lit up, a building off to the right behind the trees, the garden and assorted remains of plants done. There’s a thick coat of white where the snow is supposed to be. Will wait for that to dry and then start layering in the “night blue” base color and the reflections from the windows.

Just a few cubic yards of snow to go, along with a bunch of colorful reflections


In the meantime, here’s another fun Photoshop “distortion” applied to the secret commission of a couple of posts ago. Love the colors!

Had no idea what Photoshop’s “stained glass” filter would do. Looks more like a mosaic, but whatever…


Keep an eye out for possible gallery show news in upcoming posts. I’ve applied to a slew (well, maybe not that many) of juried shows and now just have to wait for the verdicts.

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It snowed today

Well, at least on canvas. Figured I might as well continue the national stormy narrative the USA seems to have going this week.

Looks like the cottage hasn’t lost power yet.

That’s kind of an Easter Egg yellow light, but as usual it’s just a base coat and won’t stay that way. Lots of “stuff” to paint inside the windows, and even though it won’t be particularly in focus it will add a lot of gray/purple/red/brown areas. Having those colors will let me be a lot more generous in choice of reflections to come later on the snow. Meanwhile, I still have to build a snowy brick garden enclosure at the bottom of the deck line.

Oh yeah, and I have that secret commission finally all drawn out on the Gessobord™. As soon as I get some paint on it I can put it through Photoshop for a new abstract look.

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A dark and stormy night?

Dark, but not stormy!

Cottage version 4 continued. Not dark enough yet, but will be soon. And just to prove I’m not a creature of habit, I’m starting this painting from the top down instead of the bottom up as I did in the previous three versions. That’s because I need to see how the sky will turn out before I go on to the house and the warm light that will be emanating from it. And no, I don’t know ahead of time how the sky will turn out. It’s all a grand experiment.

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Back in business

One short vacation and three sick days later, I’m back in business so to speak. Guess I lied to myself that my last post would be the final one for 2017 😋. Got some nice trees going here on the final cottage painting, and will have a new disguised surprise commission coming up as soon as I get the drawing done and a first layer of paint on it.

Dance of the naked trees…

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An update, then some entertainment

Finnie, one of those “in your pocket” horses we all love

If you take a look a my previous post it will be easy to associate the swirled colors of the “secret” with this painting. The recipient was very happy with it, which, as always, is my one and only goal with these portraits. This one reminded me of the only other one I’ve done which needed at least the illusion of a lot of detailed foliage in the foreground. That was Gypsy, which you can see here if you’re curious. This oil painting was done a bit differently than usual–it’s oil on hardboard (Gessobord™), sized a bit larger than the Aquabords™ at 8″ x 10″.

So I got Finnie finished just in time to pack up my bags for a Christmas vacation trip to New Orleans. The lovely South gave me a parting present on my way back home–a nice head cold. So since I had a lot of time on my hands due to not feeling like doing much besides warming a chair, I put together this little video of the highlights of our trip. I didn’t include one site we visited, which was the exquisite New Orleans Museum of Art, because the Significant Other was the only one who took photos of it and I was too lazy (i.e., sickly) to ask him for them. But I do highly recommend the Museum to anyone happening to visit New Orleans.




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Doubling up

The secret commission is done, but still can’t be revealed. I was two-timing while working on it, as it was somewhat of a rush project. I wanted to start the last drawing of the four Carroll Cottage paintings, and took advantage of the time it was taking for paint to dry on the “secret” to hike across the room to my drawing table and start #4.

Here’s the “secret”–still can’t tell what it is, but is sure has a heck of a lot more color!

Might make a nice landscape, eh?

It seems like a sort of musical chairs version of landscape painting has taken place during the selection of each version of the cottage paintings. In the first one, there was a really nice water feature. We traded water for a really nicely lit grass feature in #2. The grass gave way to a huge pile of leaves in #3, and now–wait for it–there will be no grass, no water, no leaves. But yes, piles of snow and totally naked trees. Sunshine is gone for the most part too. So stick around and see how the drawing fills in!

Traded all those leaves on #3 for totally bare trees on #4

Finally, since I was so good at two-timing the past couple of weeks, I will be doing it again as soon as I finish my little Christmas break. Got another horse portrait commission yesterday!

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