For years I have painted the soft snow that lies deeply on every branch and bough in the Interior Alaska forest. Often in winter, there is not a breath of wind for weeks, and each tiny twig can support several inches of dry, soft snow on its surface. I love to paint the web of dark branches in the winter woods, punctuating the white wrapping that all but obliterates them.
In this latest series of paintings, I'm enjoying adding yet another element in counterpoint to that web--the screen of soft flakes through which we see the snowy forest when the snow is coming down. The character of the snow itself is as varied as the weather, the size and shape of the flakes, their trajectory, and their density dependent on the temperature, wind, amount of available moisture, and more. I'm just getting started exploring the character of falling snow in my work.
Breakup is an exciting time of year for all sorts of reasons. The light is returning, the days growing longer in April by nearly an hour each week, and the twilights are long and late. The rivers provide a dramatic spectacle, changing daily as the ice cover opens and comes apart, and ice in myriad forms starts to churn, grind, and dance its way downstream.
This is a scene I watched many times in April from our home on the Chena River, thinking each year that I'd seen every conceivable variation of the process, and each year learning I was wrong. The weather often seems as reluctant to let go of winter as the ice itself, and sometimes the drama is played briefly, as here, through a scrim of fine, swirling snow.