Snow scenes are my favorite things to paint. I have been painting them for over three decades, and for me, the ultimate snow scene is created during the snow storm—the snow mixing with my oil paints as I work. In this way the painting is an artifact of the weather—imprinted with the fingerprints of snow.
As I painted this piece, the snow encrusted painting as I worked. Then in the studio, as the snow melted out, it revealed the painting underneath. As the snow accumulated on my palette, and I mixed it into the oil paints, the paint took on the texture of gritty spackle which remained when the painting dried. On really cold days, the ice crystals will leave imprints of snow flakes in the paint surface. In this piece the snow was softer and when it mixed with the paint on the canvas (as opposed to that which I mixed into the paint on the palette) it created a soft atmospheric effect. When the painting thawed in the studio the snow left small craters as it melted out of the paint film. On very snowy days I take a gallon jug of water to pour over my palette to melt the snow off it. Oil paints do not freeze in cold weather, I just have to add more painting medium to get them to flow properly.