Sunday, December 15, 2013

Painting Winter - The Jordan River Parkway

I've never been a fan of winter.  I don't tolerate sub freezing temperatures well at all and my favorite landscape element, the trees are all bare.  There is also a distinct lack of color......or is there?  Maybe it's about time I learned to love winter, or at least the artistic possibilities winter provides.

We've been in the deep freeze the last couple weeks here in northern Utah, some days with the high temperature being below 20*F.  That kind of weather isn't very conducive to going for a walk with the sketchbook let alone painting outdoors.  Finally this weekend the temperature broke the freezing mark and today we had sunlight so I decided it was about time I got off the recliner and got outside.  It was the middle of the afternoon before I got up the ambition and with the days so short I only had time for sketching.  I went out to the Jordan River Parkway searching for subjects to sketch and to photograph.  While I only took a pen and kept the sketches quick, (it was still pretty cold ya know.) I was still forced to really observe my subject, even without using color I believe this helps cement the subject in my mind.  I decided it would be helpful to make a quick painting while the day's observations were still fresh;

art painting landscape nature winter tree snow

"Winter Ditch"

8 x 10, acrylic on panel

This is a good example of the kind of subject that only exists during winter. During the summer this  ditch would be full of bushes almost hiding the fact that it's there at all.  The snow also makes the subject more appealing by simplifying it.  Even in the spring before it gets overgrown all the grass and other plants combine to make the subject confusing and complex.  For these and other reasons winter paintings are worth making, hopefully I'll make many more of them this year than I have in the past.

Here are the two pen sketches I made today;

art ink pen sketch nature tree jordan river parkway

art ink pen sketch nature tree jordan river parkway


  1. Nice sketches, David, and a wonderful painting of the winter ditch. As much as the colors are mostly gone at this time of year, when you really look there is color everywhere the shadows on the snow and the trees, as well as the glow of the branches and grasses. This came out really well! I'm glad it warmed up a bit and you were tempted to go out.

    1. Thanks Joan. Hopefully the weather will cooporate and all me do more exploring and painting during my Christmas vacation.