Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Perfect Passage: Winter Paintings

Greg Manchess

There are a great many paintings of snow that I admire and study. These are but a few of the wide range of styles, moments, light and shapes that I aspire to create.

In the opening piece above, Sunset On a Winter Landscape, by Abram Efimovitch Arkhipov, it isn't necessarily just the snow that makes his painting of Winter interesting. The passage that gets me most, and has influenced my own work, is the squared, non-cloudlike shape of the clouds.

In The Last Snow, Purva Wilhelm uses the snow to drive the composition by contrasting the snow shapes with the exposed soil, but the way the artist has controlled the value of the top plane of the chunks is remarkable. The thin passages of white where the light catches the edges give them form.

Peder Monsted created many elaborate scenes of heavily fallen snow; the details just right. In this piece, my attention is held by the shapes of the ice and snow on the left, with the subtle lumps that describe the facets of the bluff.

One of my favorite snow painters is Clyde Aspevig, and here the snow is everything. The way the shadows slide over the middle of the stream and up the side of the snowy perfection.


  1. What inspiring examples, thanks, Greg. That Monsted is incredible. On the left cliff of snow I love the way he has captured the recent, fluffy snow settling on the ridges of the older snow. That older snow is even more translucent, darker, and icier. That whole area is lit by all the bouncing secondary sources of light in the shadow, and dappled light spills over the ski tracks and footsteps. He wouldn't have had color photography to work from, so there's a ton of direct observation and memory going on there.

  2. Yes! Isn't that amazing, Jim? I was going to point to the little bits of ice reflection just left of center....but I wanted to pick just one spot for the post! : D So many others. Crazy-good work....

    I'm going to have to find one of these originals somewhere....

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Thanks for sharing these great paintings, Greg.If you ever make it to Denmark there is an art museum in northern Jutland with many of Peder Monsteds originals, I would be happy to show you around.

    1. I went to Kopenhagen just to see the Skagenpainters and Monsted but they had nothing of Monsted in any of the museeums around Kopenhagen, so missed out.

  6. Wonderful paintings. Thank you!

  7. These are so beautiful!! Thank you for sharing these with us! :D

  8. Love Denmark, Rasmus! I just may take you up on that invitation at some point! Thanks!

  9. In regards to Ashesela's comment:
    ....if you guys would like to see more examples in these Perfect Passage posts, please let me know. I try to keep them simple and direct, but if you want to see more...

  10. Greg, more post like this would be more than welcomed! Thank you for this inspiring post!

  11. They have a couple of Monsteds in Scandinavia house on park ave in NYC. No snow pics though

  12. They have a couple of Monsteds in Scandinavia house on park ave in NYC. No snow pics though

  13. Beautiful and inspiring choice of paintings. Given the theme, is it possible that one of the contributors good share some advice on painting in the studio during the winter months, specifically artificial lighting in the studio. Here in the UK, it's as dark as hell, even during the day. I have a daylight bulb, but the light is too blue, standard lighting is too yellow... I feel like a kind of Goldilocks! ;) Cheers!


Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Whatsapp Button works on Mobile Device only

Start typing and press Enter to search