Solstice

pastel painting of winter sunset

Solstice, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

The above painting is indeed from the Winter Solstice about a decade ago. As the sun began to set on a zero-degree day with a foot or more of snow the light was so beautiful that I took off in my car with my camera and art supplies. At the top of the hill the gentle pink and coral tones of the sunset melded with the blue of dusk on the field of unbroken snow at the old Christmas tree farm, one of my favorite spots.

It was too cold to draw outside since I can’t wear gloves and would soon be dropping my pastels in the snow, so I positioned my car on a convenient side road and sketched this in my front seat. As it does sometimes, the sun seemed to hang in the trees just before it disappeared: solstice, “sun-stand-still”. It’s just a little thing, 6″ x 6″, one of my favorites, especially now that the place is gone to development. It became the inspiration for an exhibit I hosted in 2004, “Winter White”.

Winter

I love winter, and I don’t care who thinks I’m crazy.

I love the light, so much more of it with the leaves down from the trees and with the sun’s angle so much lower, more of it in the house and in the woods.

I love the colors, from the subtle pastels of a snowy morning to the bold jewel tones and earth tones of brambles, branches, stems and tree trunks and leaves left behind in contrast to the snow on a bright afternoon.

And I love the minimal, stark beauty of branches etched against snow and sky during a snowfall. I got out and play in it, and paint and photograph.

Winter White

pastel painting of panhandle trail in winter

Panhandle Outbound, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Several years ago I collected all my winter sketches and hosted an exhibit entitled “Winter White”, and my guests and I enjoyed the art so much that I set it up on my website, each painting with the information about where it came from.

These are all small sketches, none larger than 12″ x 12″, in pastel, watercolor, pencil and pen and ink nearly all done en plein air, sometimes on the trails, sometimes in my backyard, often standing on my deck or sitting in the front seat of the car when the temperature was near zero.

In many cases they are my experiments with materials and styles, preparing my own drawing surfaces and using papers I’d never used before, breaking my own boundaries of studio work to refresh my palette and visualization.

I did my best to capture the essence of winter, and you’ll even see a few winter cats in here too.

I was greatly inspired by the book for an exhibit organized and shown in New York and San Francisco in 1999 entitled “Impressionists in Winter: Effets de Neige”. You can read about it on Artnet.com, or check your local library for the book from the exhibit.

In the meantime, enjoy my views of winter! Visit Winter White.

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2 responses to “Solstice

  • Susan Stoltz

    These are all breathtaking! Panhandle Outbound is one of my favorites and I just noticed the snowflakes falling! I love the way the light in winter is, especially in January, and you captured it so beautifully. Wow!

    • animalartist

      Susan, thank you! Once I painted Solstice the gate was opened and so many more little field sketches were born, many in that same winter. Some of the pieces in the exhibit I painted at other times, but with Solstice I knew I had to share. But the cool thing about Panhandle Outbound–also one of my faves–and the others from the trails is that I can paint all day and no one is going to interrupt me when it’s 10 degrees outside!

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