I was once told that I paint too much winter. Brr. Why would I want to do that?
The answer is, to me, quite simple. I like winter. I like all seasons and what they bring, but winter is the one that stands out as being completely unique.
Everything is simplified in winter. The mess of weeds, litter, bric a brac is covered with simple snow. To paint the ground is to take broad, horizontal sweeps with a big juicy brush loaded with pure cobalt and water. Shadows and snow. A painting done with a very limited palette is complete: cobalt and burnt sienna, with perhaps some raw sienna and ultra for extra contrast. Trees are trunks and branches, not complex, three dimensional canopies continually altering light patterns. Light is uncomplicated in winter. Contrast is simple. Winter is soft, but stark.There is a temptation to depict loneliness or solitude in a winter painting. Perhaps that comes from the peaceful silence brought by falling or fallen snow, or by the decluttering effect of covering everything with a white blanket. Perhaps it is because strapping on skis or snowshoes to take in the winter beauty is often a very solitary past time.
However, there is also an ease to creating power in a winter scene. Or majesty. It is the ease of boldness. Straightforwardness. Simplicity again.
Winter is the perfect reminder that bare basics are beautiful. Beginner artists often find it a particularly rewarding season to start with, and more experienced watercolourists can relax with a winter scene and forget the intense planning stages of more difficult subjects. I know I enjoy a winter break once in a while.