The content and opinions expressed in this blog are mine. They do not represent the US Government or US Peace Corps - Jud Dolphin

Monday, January 16

Winter Art

I never thought I would say this, "I'm missing winter." After two years in Ukraine, you might think I had enough of snow and ice. But here I am in Washington DC with temperatures in the 50s and 60s and only a few below freezing. Last week it was warm enough to have a picnic in a park and I did.

Yikes, it's January!

Maybe to compensate for the unusual weather, I've been creating snow scenes in my art. It's been a lot of fun and I feel like I'm improving week by week.  I started with scanning my photos of Maine winters for inspiration.  These two take me back to my wonderful years in Portland.  Then I heard on the radio that Portland was surprised by below zero or maybe not so surprised.  I remember... Mainiacs seem to take it in stride even as they sigh, "Here we go again."
Original photos of Mainer winter
My first painting is a small one about 5" x 8". People often ask, "Where's it from?"  Of course the best thing about watercolors is that pictures come from the imagination.
Original Watercolor - Winter Walk

I remember the birch trees that are ubiquitous in Ukraine as well as Maine.  I looked through the web for inspiration and pulled together this painting.  I like the glow of color that also leaves a viewer wondering, "Is it the sun rising or setting or is it a fire or ...?"
Original Watercolor - Winter Glow

I took this photo in Ukraine.  It was a cold crisp day when the sun was so bright that the shadows turned blue.  I wanted to give a watercolor life to the photo and express my own feelings.  It looks easy to do, but believe me it is not.  It took me three attempts to get the blue wash smooth enough and the shadow acceptable - not too light or too dark, but just right.  Here's my rendition.
Original Watercolor - Winter Blue

I love winter storms.  Well...let me be more precise.  I love the first winter storm.  When I lived in Maine, I would snap on my snow shoes and go for long walks in the woods.  In Ukraine necessity meant you walked everywhere.  Maybe it's the kid in me but when the snow is whistling across a field I feel exurberant and so wonderfully alive.  Of course by March, I've had enough.  Yet in both Ukraine and Maine, winter has plenty more to dish out.
Original Watercolor - Winter Storm
Painting has become a kind of New Year resolution for me.  I sent several photos of my work to friends in Ukraine. As they replied with Happy New Year wishes, they also encouraged me to keep creating.   I think that's what I most like about watercolors.  I face a blank sheet of paper with only an idea in my head.  I mix some colors.  Sketch and outline.  And them swoosh on my first brush of paint.  Idea becomes form.  A new creation takes shape.
My  Hallway of Ukrainian Art