Cape Cod Art Preservation Society

Winter on Cape Cod Brings Exciting Painting Challenges

Feeding the Birds Midwinter by Jeffrey Dale Starr Don't be intimidated by the snow! Winter scenes can be challenging but also rewarding for patient artists. The key, as it is with so many aspects of painting, is to train your eye. Don't let your mind fool you...figure out exactly what you're looking at.

"Rule number one: snow isn't white" laughs Cape Cod oil painter Jeffrey Dale Starr.

"Like all artists, there was a time when I did think snow was white. But when I would paint a winter landscape, the snow looked so fake! I had to let go of preconceived ideas about colors. When I was able to look at my scenes objectively, suddenly a vast array of hues jumped out."

And recognizing color is just part of it.

Another hazard of painting snow that escapes many novice artists is the losing of shadows and shape. Due to the subtlety of difference, snowy scenes can take on a monochromatic look if the artist isn't careful. This can result in a lack of depth and sense of weight.

Starr says, "It can be intimidating at first, and a bit frustrating when trying to paint a snowy scene. But if you pull it off, it can be very powerful because the shadows are more stark, the focal points really stand out and the viewer can be whisked away to a cold moment in time."

So the next time the flakes begin to fall, don't be discouraged - put a canvas on the easel and get to work!