Snow scenes

Last night it began snowing big fluffy flakes that Bootsy the cat decided were pretty fantastic. She ran down the snow covered steps, jumped and pawed at the white stuff, did a couple of pirouettes – and then raced at top speed across the yard into the back ‘woods’. My neighbor’s woods, the ones I’ve been painting.

After a couple of hours outside in the cold, the cat decided that was enough wintry mix until this morning, when she went out to explore the sleet covered crusted snow. I’ve never had a cat who liked snow, but maybe that’s because my most recent were southern bred felines. The kitten waits out winter inside the house, getting cabin fever.

I love to paint snow landscapes, but today was overcast with none of the dramatic shadows that I ordinarily prefer. The American painter John Henry Twachtman (1853-1902) made do without them, getting dramatic results despite a lack of high chroma. I remember seeing his ‘Along the River, Winter’ painting with my mother, soon after I moved to Atlanta in the mid 1970’s. He was a favorite of hers.

John Twachtman. “Along the River, Winter” 1889. High Museum of Art.

John Twachtman. “Round Hill Road” 1890-1900. Smithsonian American Art Museum.

John Twachtman. “Winter Landscape” 1890-1900.

Childe Hassam, another of my mother’s favorite American Impressionists, verged on the abstract in some of his snow scenes.

Childe Hassam. “Snowstorm, Madison Square” 1890. Peabody Art Collection.

Childe Hassam. “A City Fairyland” 1886. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Childe Hassam.  “Winter Midnight” 1894. Columbus Museum of Art.

After a slow day of gessoing canvas panels, it’s back to painting in the studio tomorrow.

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5 Responses to Snow scenes

  1. Ali Hossaini says:

    What a pleasant update from your snowbound studio! You’re lucky to have a cat who romps outside all year round – no doubt she’s ready to curl up exhausted after her frigid excursions! Thank you for introducing me to John Twachtman’s delightful paintings. We see Childe Hassam here in New York, where he reflects our urban milieu, but Twachtman’s rural scenes evoke a quieter and more majestic winter. With its rushes and hints of green, the creek he portrays reminds me of the one behind my childhood home. It ran true during the cold months, even when its banks were draped with snow.

  2. V says:

    These are some of Twachtman’s later paintings after he moved to Greenwich, CT. He studied in Europe and lived in NYC for a time, teaching at the Art Students League.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Great snow photos! Too funny about your kitty. Mine just look at me like I had some nerve putting that stuff out in their yard =p Very inspiring artwork – thanks for sharing!

  4. Wow, “lack of high chroma” is an understatement for those Twachtman paintings. They are gorgeous — so subtle, so simple, they really capture that muffled-ness of a snowstorm…. which I think is arriving here tonight…

  5. V says:

    I feel the same way about Twachtman, Michelle. I read that he loved painting snow.
    It’s one thing I’ll miss being in the South again….but at least we had a little.

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