Here is a scene I shot twenty years ago up in Vermont. I am starting a blue night picture of the same location .
Below is a detail of a Hibbard that shows his snow painting technique.
This is just one method he used for painting snow, but I want to talk about this a little. The snow in this picture is divided into the two worlds, light and shadow. The light is pretty straightforward. It is warm and bright, and has a little cadmium yellow in it. All of the strokes that represent the light are angled the same way. toward the light source. Only the planes which face the raking light are illuminated.They are all in the same PLANE.
The shadow is more complex though. It is made of two different values. A deep value and a light one. The light value though occurs in both a warm and a cool version. The warm version seems to include alizirin and the cool version looks greener, perhaps it contains viridian. He uses those different temperatures the way you might expect separate values to be used. He portrays the different planes occurring in the snow with them. By portraying those plane changes through temperature changes, Hibbard is able to CONSERVE VALUES, that means a simplified way of representing the values by using less of them.
He is also making his color "vibrate". This is a form of broken or divisionist color. It is a kind of impressionist method. It is also very "Rockport". The painters from the Rockport school often used the square touch, broken color method of painting.The eye jumps back and forth between the warms and the cools and that gives a feeling of complexity that fools the eye into believing it is seeing nature.
Hibbard is also portraying the forms of the snow by characterizing where the edges of the forms and planes come together. He has accented these meeting places with either darker shadow lines or with a part in the snow revealing the ground between the masses. In the manner of a sculptor, Hibbard is thinking of the snow as a planar or faceted structure. Simplifying it into surface facets defines its place in space and what angle its surface faces in any particular area. Figure sculptors often do the same thing. An overly softened and rounded form is less descriptive of its surface volumes and forms.
The "square touch" for that is the name for this kind of handling, defines the form well. Also Hibbards marks march back into space as the snow recedes from us towards the top of the detail photo. If you squint at it you will see how the snow probably looked at a glance, the structure was explained by Hibbard as he painted the forms before him in the snow. This had to be installed as much as observed. It represents what was before him but is not pure visual draftsmanship. He is painting both what he sees there and he is explaining to us very deliberately the shapes and structure of the snow as it undulates over the ground beneath it.
This exuberantly painted little passage is a tour de force in snow painting. It is also not white!
I plan on doing another reader critique. If you want to be a part of that e-mail me a reasonably sized image of a painting at firstname.lastname@example.org put the word critique in the subject line please. I will gather those for a week or so. I am going to limit submissions to landscapes as I feel most comfortable critiquing those online. Portraits, etc, it is best to critique with the model present. I remove signatures from the art I crit and I will not disclose whose art it is that I select.
Also I am going to write an "Ask Stape post for the Fine Arts Views site and I could use some questions. If you have art questions for me please e-mail those in and I will direct you to that post when it happens. Thanks.