I FINALLY picked up a paint brush again last weekend. Not sure why the holiday season seems to kick me into a painting drought each year.  I guess I get caught up in all the hustle and bustle and find myself mentally exhausted.  Felt good to be back at the easel!

I long to paint winter scenes (my favorite season!), and this only my second one, was from a photo I took early one morning after a beautiful snowfall.  It was crisp and chilly, but incredibly quiet and serene as I strolled along the San Miguel river (all but a stream this time of year) in search of reference material.  There really is something about fresh snow that makes my senses come alive and my heart swell...

Ok, back to the painting...  It is a 9"x12" acrylic on canvas.  I don't have a lot of experience painting water, reflections, or winter landscapes, and I am not sure how I feel about this outcome for a couple reasons:

1.) Start to finish, I think it this took me no more than 4 hours (lightening speed for me), and I'm not sure why.  It's left me wondering if I was too hasty or if I could make this stronger with a little more time and effort.  I do feel like I wasn't quite the "replicator of ref photos" that I often turn out to be, but I still don't feel like I achieved the looser style that I am striving for either. 

2.) It feels a bit ho hum to me.  I tried to push the color in the light in part by painting the rest of the scene semi monochromatic - I used a lot of Raw Umber and Ultramarine Blue for much of it.  I kind of like the resulting color/light on the water and the flash of sunlight on the bank coming in from the left in the mid-ground, but I feel like the light in the background in the trees is not as pronounced as I was going for.  I think this happened, because in my effort to create distance by pushing the atmospheric effect, I didn't leave myself enough room to get the contrast in value from the light to shadow back there.  Does that make sense? 

I realize this has turned into a bit of a self critique - whoops!  I really am hoping to get additional input and/or confirmation that I am on the right track with my own thoughts on this one as well as any improvement suggestions you all may have.  Thanks much - I learn so much by going through this process!

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These are beautiful!

Thank you Russ! I posted the final version in the photos section. It was another great learning experience for me with so much generosity of input and advice from the kind hearted people on this site!

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