Most likely prompted by the recent weather here as well as a desire to try a slight change of palette, I have been doing a small group of snow paintings recently. I thought I would look at several other artists, especially those with a distinct personal style, to see how they handle snow in their work. One of the artists whose snow works really stuck out was Dale Nichols, who was born in Nebraska in 1904 and died in Sedona, AZ in 1995. He is considered one of the American Regionalists, that loosely defined group of painters whose work for which I have long expressed my admiration.
His biography is a bit sparse with but Nichols lived a long and productive life, serving as an illustrator, a college professor and the Art Editor of the Encyclopedia Brittanica. He also spent a lot of time in Guatemala which resulted in a group of work with Meso-American forms that is quite different from his Regionalist work.
But Nichols is primarily known for his rural snow scenes and it’s easy to see why. The colors are pure and vivid. The snow, put on in multiple glazed layers with watercolor brushes has a luminous beauty. The stylized treatment of the crowns of the bare trees adds a new geometry to the paintings. There is a pleasant warmth, a nostalgic and slightly sentimental glow, to this work even though they are scenes that depict frigid winters on the plains of Nebraska. Free of all angst, they’re just plain and simple gems.
You can see a bit more of Dale Nichols other work on a site devoted to him by clicking here.