Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter landscape - snow-lined creek - pastel

Returning to the high country winter-themed paintings...

Winter's Reflections
12x12 inches - pastel on black cardstock
© 2012, S.Johnson
Today's painting is based on a photo taken on my Xmas day snowshoeing trip.  The loop trail I was on crosses this small wooden footbridge and creek that drains from Haviland Lake.  I saw this small section off the trail a bit, with its reflections and other fun details, and plowed through 18" of powdery snow to procure the photo.

I was really drawn to the abstract shape the creek forms.  A few grasses here and there, some trees and the smooth, undulating lines of the snow covering the land - all very cool.  I also like the exposed rocks at the edge of the creek with their little "snow biscuits", as I call them.  I had to adjust them so they didn't look like Sno Balls© , which is not a good look for any self-respecting winter landscape.

Aside from the fact that some of the "white" pastels (which I think are Senns...very soft) had issues adhering to the paper, this painting came together quickly.   Those are fun times in the studio.

Speaking of snowshoeing - here are a few photos taken from our Dec 30 trip to Spud Lake.  Fellow pastelist and PAP4C member Jan and her husband are avid snowshoers and she told me about this trail which is sort of hidden:

Along the trail

Winter grass still life

Aspen leaf with snowmelt drops

Aspen hillside

Pano shot of Spud Lake and the West Needles


  1. White is my nemesis, Sonya, so I am totally blown away by this painting. And your photographs are lovely as always. I especially like the aspen leaf. Just gorgeous!

  2. The aspen leaf is fine art photography!! Beautiful!

  3. You took a hard topic, and made one of your best paintings (that I have seen). !

  4. Hi Darla - thank you for the sweet comment! My nemesis is greens, for sure, but I find whites easy to paint. We need to get together for a painting retreat and share techniques :).

    Thanks, LeAnn - yes, I like to include an artsy shot when I can. Eventually, I want to open another Etsy shop for my photos, and will include photos like this one.

    Hi Casey - thank you so much; that is quite the compliment! It's funny, the scene might look hard to paint, but I actually found it pretty simple. Probably because I've already cranked out a few of these so far, and the process becomes smoother with each one (not necessarily *easier*, though).

  5. Wow, this is really really lovely, Sonya. I hope you are pleased with it!

    I love snowshoeing too, but we've barely had enough snow to do anything in so far this winter. I'm glad you got to give your snowshoes a workout.

  6. Amazing painting, Sonya!
    You really captured the icy look of the snow and a feeling of the cold. Love the little grasses poking through too.

    Wonderful photos as well. Love the sun on the winter grass, and the aspen leaf as well.

  7. Hi Gabrielle - thanks so much! Yes, I am pleased with it - another of those paintings begun with low expectations that were exceeded. That's a bummer about the lack of snow; we haven't had any for 3 weeks, so it's all but gone in town and melting and slushy at the higher elevations. It seems to be a dry winter throughout the entire continental US, unfortunately.

    Hi Debbie - thank you, I appreciate your comment! The grasses...winter is all about the snow and the dead grasses, I say ;)! I'm always amazed at how the painting is completely transformed when I start adding them.

  8. I did a double-take, a triple-take, to decide what was photographed and what was painted: absolutely lovely snow painting, bee-you-tee-full!

  9. This one is out of the ballpark GOOD! (Is that lavender in the reflections? **WOW**) Also, I'm awarding you bonus points for painting a snowscape on black paper and making it look easy-- More, please!

  10. The ice is wonderful, and the small spots of warm colors have a very big impact.
    I do like the aspen leaf photo, but I'm leaning towards the winter grass still life, tough choice.

  11. Hi Cindy - thank you so much. Funny you mention about double-taking to see what was a photo...I never intend to have my landscapes look that realistic, and in the thumbnail picture, it does sort of look like a photo. Thankfully, I think when you look at a larger image, it is clearly not...phew!

    Diane, I appreciate your generous comments about this painting and the use of black paper ;). The secret (for me, anyway) in painting these winter landscapes is my coveted set of "Thunderstorm Gray" pastels, which give those shades of lavender grays you see - I couldn't live without them!

    Hey, Dan - thanks. As someone who handles water and winter scenes so well, I know you appreciate those sorts of things in a painting. The grasses photo? As soon as I saw it, it looked like a dried arrangement made for a table centerpiece. Heck, I couldn't arrange anything that well if I tried.

  12. I love your winter series. The water and snow are beautiful. The highlights seem just right. I am finding coloring snow quite intimidating right now so this is quite inspirational.

  13. Thanks, Ruth. I really enjoy painting them, and I'm delighted that they could be a source of inspiration for your own works. I've never found snow difficult to paint, and I'm not sure if that is why I enjoy painting it so much, or it is easy because I enjoy it.

  14. All the photos are incredible. The painting is pretty cool too. The snow has a beautiful glow.

  15. Thanks Sheri. I was pleased that I was able to capture the glow of the snow in the painting.

  16. Fantastic Sonya! You should enter that in some competitions for sure.

  17. Thanks, Susan! I think I probably will, and thank you for the suggestion :).


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