Why I Don't Paint Snow

It's winter time, and after about five straight days of rain, it's tempting to look for something "winter-like" to paint. I see all of the beautiful holiday art, with snow covered cabins and silent forests, and wonder why I have no inclination to paint such things. I think my family and friends could probably explain it. Anyone who's known me for a period of time knows "Niki hates snow!"


For the record, I think snow on distant mountains is pretty. Even that lost its appeal for a while; as a teacher at a school in a wind corridor beneath the San Bernardino Mountains, I spent many a miserable recess period out on playground duty, freezing as the wind whipped down from the cold snowy mountains. Snow to me means miserable wet and cold and the opportunity to fall on my butt-- and that's about it.


I did try to paint a winter scene in an art class, and it looked like a bad attempt at a Thomas Kinkade imitation. I may try one again in the future, but for now I'll be sticking with what I know and love: winter in Southern California, which, present abominable weather aside, usually means gentle warm days and pleasantly uncrowded beaches.


People complain about our lack of seasons, but I think they just may be misunderstanding how lucky we are. I've come to prefer winter compared to spring and summer, and look forward to those 80 degree days where we sneak down to the beach and listen to everyone say "THIS is January?"


The painting below almost didn't survive-- after a painful painting session (literally-- my shoulders were aching), I put it aside to take a break. I strengthened some of the darker areas and smeared a little. I did notice the painting looks better from farther back-- probably part of the abstract style I used to show this poor old disintegrating half a frisbee, a typical sight on an empty beach in winter time.
"Summer's Treasure, Winter's Trash"
9 x 12 Chalk Pastel on Canson Mi Teintes Paper

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