The Magic of Snow

'I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps says, 'Go to sleep my darlings, till summer comes again.'

Lewis Carol, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking Glass.

It is not hard to personify snow giving it a benevolent disposition when we see it stretched across the wilds of upper Teasdale. The landscape takes on an altogether gentler appearance than belies the added danger. A sky laden with snow can empty quickly making visibility limited and journeying in car or by foot hazardous. It was in these conditions that I took the photograph used to inform the painting of The Journey Home.

This painting marks a fresh understanding in myself of my painting style. During a brief moment of self belief I ordered a bespoke canvas chosen on artistic grounds. Panoramic in its dimensions, and fine in its linen weave all so I could try to produce what was in my head. Its not completely there but it's somewhere near, more importantly people who know the place and love the church seem to like the work, that is praise enough for me. Indeed the Vicar of the church asked to use the image for their FB and website pages, which was such a compliment.

In places the painting is minimalistic using swathes of colour with little detail while in other places the detail is intense. I finally accept I need both. I yet again accept that I am never going to produce a painting every week even every other week. I will have to work very hard to produce a painting every month. What I like about this painting is the lace like branches of the trees against the pale, snow covered dale and pale sky. Yet I like the light touch of the line of conifers on the horizon, no detail here just the impression created by the use of a brush done in one coat and left. I like the sheep, and hope I have given them some personality, I have a little narrative in my head about them trudging through the snow looking back at each other as if saying 'hurry up lets get warm'.

Its the sheep that gave the painting its title, 'The Journey Home' But then like all painting the connections and significances started to role out. The iconic dale church St James The Less in Forest in Teesdale, and the grave yard seen from this angle speak of the human journey from birth to death and maybe more. Sheep are so symbolic, in the Christian faith, they need guidance they need care they can follow and they can go astray; here the sheep are walking with purpose in front of a church a symbolic building signalling hope love and faith. Stories have come to be about weddings and visits and even the peace of visiting lost loved ones. This painting has spoke to so many people in more ways than I, as the simple person used to create it, could ever have envisioned.

Whatever this painting says to you I hope it blesses you with a Christmas peace.

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