Wednesday 30 January 2013

Amsterdam in the snow

I was so excited to be visiting Amsterdam this week, as it was 1985 since I was there last. As I flew over the coastline, the country was covered in a blanket of snow, little windmills, 'sloots' and farms were sprouting up out of the snow.
Honestly it was SO cold as we headed into the city and I was glad to have packed lots of warm winter woollies, and I could hardly wait to get them out and add a few layers. The snow was lovely though and I'm not sure why I hadn't expected it.
We spotted this fabulous 'snow couple' sitting on a bench in a side street clutching an empty bottle of wine.

I visited the Van Gogh and Impressionist Museum, at the Hermitage. The paintings were wonderful which goes without saying but the building was such a surprise, it has walk ways and glass viewing areas so you can watch people on different levels viewing the paintings, its truly superb.
We were there for 4 days and had a complete mixture of snow, rain and sunshine. It started off icy cold with skaters skating on the canals on the Saturday afternoon and evening, to pouring rain stealing all the snow away on the Monday morning, and everything in between!
I did however manage this little painting, there were blizzard conditions, as well as quite a bit of rain so I am glad to have one picture.
I just loved this little view, I love the curve of the path, the bikes, the colours, the shapes, everything! As it was so overcast with no shadows I took longer than I would normally paint in one session. My rule is not to paint longer than a maximum of 2 hours in total, usually less (especially if its this cold) this one was 2 and a half.
There is a great little cafe near by which sells wonderful hot chocolate, I haven't had as much hot chocolate in years!

It was a great trip and I hope to go back, meet up with friends and paint an autumn scene later this year.

Thursday 24 January 2013

Paintings in the snow

The snow this January has been wonderful, I cut a trip to London short last week to get back home before the snow fell, and have been here for a week. As you may know, I am not what you would call a landscape painter, but loving strong contrasts as I do, this snow has inspired me to get out and paint.
I've taken just small boards, 10 x 12 inches, in fact the first one I did, was just 8 x 10 inches. This one was my second painting, it was overcast when I began, in fact I have hardly seen any sun all week, but the light is wonderful as the snow just seems to glow all over and reflects all the subtle colours. Once you start, and your eyes adjust to the bright glare (even on a dull day) colours see to just appear. It became very cold though and by the time I was almost finished tiny flakes of snow began to fall, and this was the result.

I noticed this little view walking back home, it made me stop and think, why had I not noticed it before? Probably because I don't often get the urge to paint landscapes, but in the snow, it seemed so different, the snow was beginning to come down quite hard and I noticed a lovely warm light over the village, and so hatched my plan to paint the following day.
I am a bit of a fair weather painter, I like to be outdoors but not when its actually snowing so I have to admit to adding the snow once I had finished it. I did however go in the afternoon and it didn't look as dramatic as it had the previous day, but I think it worked.