Snow Painting


Snowstorm. Tiny flakes piling up into a heavy blanket spread out over our driveway. The University had closed - everyone was going to stay indoors - except me and my friend, Michael May.

We were going plein air painting in the snow.

After shoveling our way out, we hopped in my Subaru and we drove up to South Mountain. Parking in the snow, we sludged our way in to the forest, seeking cover from the torrent of snow flurries that got stuck in our clothes and beards.

Finally we reached our destination - the waterfall, iced over and serene. We quickly set up and began to paint. Lots of gray and blue to start - I figured we could lay the general shapes on thick and then lay on the details even thicker. Michael May rambled on about Anselm and the existence of God as we worked, arms intertwining as we filled the canvas.

The snow continued to come down, and I began to notice the paint begin to change properties. It seemed to gum up and become gritty. Perhaps the cold weather dried up the oil? I'm not sure, but it was as though the paint was partially frozen. Eventually the brush became useless, so I picked up my palette knife and continued working. Never worked with frozen paint before, but the process of applying the palette knife created a fun texture.

Eventually the cold began to seep its way through my clothes, and I knew it was time to start wrapping up. I'm really bad at plein air painting, but I think that's one of the reasons why I like it so much. It gives me a unique and new challenge, but also reminds me to relax and to enjoy painting itself.

A few weeks later i finished off the painting with a little support from musicians Dan Minogue & John Ferry, as well as photographer Michael May and resident tortoise.



© 2017 Daniel Folta