Monday, January 17, 2011

Painting Snow

January Snow 24x30 Oil on board ©2011 DotCourson
We recently had a rare snow in north Mississippi. We got 8 inches of snow on January 2nd and it is still outside on my back yard in the shaded areas today! I just got back from teaching/demo a snow scene. (in studio) I'm no expert on snow, but DO know when to bring in the experts. So I brought in a few books: The Landscapes - Richard Schmid's new book, Soviet Impressionist Painting, and a Paul Strisik landscape book. Variety. I painted from an image of the woodsy road/trail near my house.
We'd decided to paint snow pictures in class. We missed one class the day after it snowed, and I did not call everyone to cancel class. They are all adults... and of course I new no one would risk it to come to class in Tupelo. So I just decided to send all my students a "spoof" email about painting en plein air. Here is what it said:  

Hello everyone!

Due to the snow  and ice I want us to do a little something different when we meet back on Monday to begin our new year!

Please wear layers of extra clothes, hats, scarves and boots and bring your outside easels. I've never had the opportunity to do plein air in the snow and I'll bet you haven't either! ....It'll be fun for us all and a rare opportunity! I'm going to cut the fingers out of some old gloves to wear to keep my fingertips free. That new Under Armor long underwear I got for Christmas last year will come in handy and I advise you wearing some if you have it! Just a note: you may want to nail a nail into the bottom of the tips of the legs of your easels to keep them form skidding on the ice as you paint. Also, you may want to throw some old boards in the car to set the legs on if the snow is deep to keep the easel legs form sinking into the snow if we get a lot of snow.

Please make sure your gas tank is full and cell phones charged, with water and some snack bars (in case you're stranded in the snow!) and that you take extra caution driving to Juanita's as snow plows won't be everywhere and there is probably thick ice on the bridges. Don't wear tight boots as when you're standing on ice it only makes your feet colder. Also, keep paints inside your car by the heater on your way so they will not be thick and gummy at first. Prepare to paint thick as paint gets very hard and not as viscous in the cold as wind chills are going to be in the low teens! Burrrrrrr!!!!

Love you - and I'll see you ALL tomorrow!


Some got it - and I got some strong responses from others! Oh well!  


  1. The whole idea sounded rather adventuresome, but it would probably "freeze" one's inspiration i would think.

  2. Yes- but thankfully- had no "takers"! Truth is I am not equipped for snow as far as footwear. So I optimistically ordered some snow boots from Cabelas last week. So I'll be ready for the next snow ...even if I have to go it alone! - Dot

  3. I liked the blog post...and I also know about folks not getting the tongue in cheek humor. Further recommendations may have been shoe spikes, just in case they slipped on the way to the paint site and broke something...and then of course, emergency phone numbers and insurance info...you know...just in case.

  4. John-
    Yep, I should have thought of that! I think a lot of them already thought i went overboard with it, but Jackie and I had a blast giggling over it as I wrote it. Guess it was cabin fever... What can I say?

  5. Your letter to your students was quite amusing to read.
    I like the piece posted, with all the snow and trees. Being an Arizona native I hardly ever get to see snow (only if I drive out to see it) and this makes it look so beautiful and relaxing.

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  6. Thanks, Art! We rarely get snow here and I enjoyed the experience...
    Love Arizona! My husband and I have been there several times: Phoenix/Scottsdale up to Sedona and the mountains above Jerome and another time we saw the Grand Canyon and stayed the night in Williams at a quaint B&B. We even went off the interstate following Route 66! (Felt like being in the movie "Cars"!) Arizona's really diverse...and beautiful! Never got to Flagstaff- but hear they measure their snowfall in FEET! Gotta go sometime!... Thanks for your comment. - Dot