From the window at the back of my house I can see out over the valley and the hill beyond. When it snows at night the scene is transformed from black velvet punctuated by rooftops and streetlights and lit windows to a hazy wonderland of blue and creamy white, the familiar rooftops and trees given depth and dimension by the falling snow. Just like “Frosty Morning, Just Before Sunrise”, I’d been visualizing this little painting of the snow falling at night, the house with lit windows nestled into the snow-dusted branches and bramble and trees, silhouettes of rooftops beyond, the lights of Carnegie’s Main Street brightening the view behind them, then the haze of snowfall where normally I’d see only darkness. It looks quaint and kind of cliché, but it looks like home to me.
This painting is done in Sennelier pastels on Fabriano Pastello Tiziano paper, in the dark green hue. I knew that I could get the softness I wanted from the Sennelier pastels on this paper which has a nice soft surface to capture pastel, and though I wasn’t sure I wanted the texture of the laid finish it worked well to break up and soften the edges. I used three tones of Prussian blue which is a cool blue tending toward slate blue and tempered it with violet and gray in the shadows, then added pinks and yellows to the lighter areas. The windows, of course, are several shades of yellow.
If snow is what you’ve got, then snow is what you paint—I’m going to take advantage of it while it’s here. I’ve started another sketch from this morning when there was still snow in the air but the sun was shining.
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The hushed energy a serious snowstorm lends to a night is magical as the very air seems to move, filled with a mist of swirling and falling snow.
My backyard is somewhat protected, surrounded by tall trees in my neighbors’ yards and situated on the lee side of a steep hill. Wind will catch the treetops and even swish across my roof, but once the snow swirls below the treetops it gently falls. Just a few hours after the snow had started every single branch and twig was covered with snow and more would be coming, even without a forecast one could tell that.