WINTER • COLORADO • SNOW • ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Up Around the Bend, 11 x 14, oils
This is the fourth painting in my series of Colorado snow scenes. While hiking around Bear Lake I came across the scene below and knew it had potential. I loved the sweeping, dappled light and shadow on the snow and how it leads the viewers to the mountain in the distance. I also liked the split rail fence in the foreground.
The scene was nice but it didn't yet work as a painting. It was time to do a small sketch and see how it could be improved. This drawing is 2.5 inches wide on grid paper. The fence was leading the eyes right out of the scene so I bent it back towards the center of interest. Next I exaggerated the pinnacle of the mountain in the background. I would make more changes on the finished piece when it came to making decisions about color and contrast but this was enough to get started.
You can see by comparing the reference to the finished painting that I've pushed the colors to more reflect my memory of the scene. After adding more atmospheric distance, I lightened the sky a bit since clear skies at 10,000 feet elevation can look unusually dark. Trying to get the snow to 'lie down' on that slope was probably the biggest challenge. I think I'll call this one done.