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Snow Pile

Snow pile, gouache, 5 x 8 inches. 
The old pile of snow crouches at the edge of the parking lot, gritty at the edges, slowly melting toward a drain, and dusted with the whiteness of yesterday's fresh snowfall.

I choose to paint it for a practical reason: it's visible from my car in the parking lot where I'm waiting for Jeanette to do the hunting and gathering.

But I also like it because it's an overlooked subject, something artists don't usually paint. Unlike an "artistic" subject like a Venetian canal or a Maine seascape, there are no artistic precedents here. It's virgin territory.

It speaks to me for other reasons, too. Anything in nature that is white—such as a cloud, a breaking wave, or snow—reflects the dynamic light conditions of the scene. The sun is coming partially through high clouds from the right. The up-facing planes on the left side of the pile are cooler and a little darker.

I'm also fascinated by the contrast between the fractal-organic forms of the snow and the rectilinear lines of the parking lot. I greatly simplify the background to put the focus on this contrast.

Finally, the infinite complexity of the surface suggests the passage of time. The shape of it even changes a lot during the 45 minutes I'm sitting here. It speaks to the dynamic interplay of elemental forces and the impermanence of all external forms.
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Two artists who I admire who paint similar kinds of scenes of the built environment.
Andrew Haines and Scott Lloyd Anderson


This post first appeared on Gurney Journey, please read the originial post: here

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