Friday, December 28, 2018

Here Comes the Sun

The solstice is past and the days are beginning to grow longer as the sun makes its path across the sky, promising spring and warmth though both are yet far away. An old friend used to celebrate the solstice by exclaiming, "Here comes the sun!" Even when the days are still cold, the sunshine warms the soul and promises change and growth. George Harrison had it right in his famous song by the same name.

Here a few works celebrating sunshine. The first is a small landscape showing the view from my home studio just as the winter sun hits the side of a house up the hill. The warm sunlight bathed the house and snow at the top of the hill while the valley of Druid Hill Creek below was still in blue shadow. This is oil on panel, 8x10, and was done alla prima one morning in about an hour.

The next is also an oil sketch of a snowy scene on a clear winter day. Ask most anyone and even if the temperatures are low they prefer the day to be sunny. One of the great things in winter is finding ways to render snow. It isn't white, after all, but takes its coloration from the light and shadow falling on it. Here the shadows are a cold blue while the sunlit snow is warm. The twisted shape of the mulberry tree in the foreground is completely in shadow while the opposite slope is sun-warmed. This is 9x12 on panel.

Oil sketching in winter is a bit problematic given the weather, but these two were done from the window of the studio.

In winter one embraces the sun, celebrates it and each small gain in warmth and day length. While oil paint is the preferred medium of many collectors, watercolor can provide real satisfaction. Here is a sketch of bright sun on new snow, looking downstream. The blue shadows fall across the frozen and snow-covered course of the creek. Like the two oils, I did this one standing in a studio window (the temperature outdoors was near zero). The transparency of watercolor and the bright white paper make this painting look considerably brighter than the oils above. This is about 5x9 inches in one of my sketchbooks.

So take heart, days are getting longer and the sun is bringing back our smiles.

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