Winter river

posted in: My own projects | 5

16*20 oil on stretched canvas January 2016

I noticed that most of my works are full of color. It is usually perceived that winter lacks colorful motives. I have always wanted to create a winter landscape showing the true beauty of the radiant winter skies, water and snow.

To study the subject I learned how the light reflects from the snow (luckily it is winter in MN with lots of snow) and also had several photographs analysed. Please take a look at the following pictures of the winter rivers:











They all have a lot in common: the way the water reflects surroundings, the patterns of ice on the surface of the rivers, the wintry atmosphere of the riverside with the extra depth of the shadows and lights.

To suggest the direction the work would go i began with setting the overall tone of the painting by rough palette knife strokes. The color chosen was a mix of white, blue and ultramarine with some addition of yellow and purple.


Loving the true symbol of Russia the birch trees i decided to depict specifically those trees standing by the river. It is a true inspiration to try recreating the beautiful black and white patterns, which i did with palette knife exclusively. By the way, the whole painting is created with palette knife and a piece of cloth – no brush at all.


Words can’t describe how satisfying it is to create water reflections. In this case I had to add something new I never used before- the ice and snow on the water surface. Again, palette knife and some chunky pieces of different shades of blue, yellow, purple and black created the desired effect. The most inspirational part of the painting was over and it was time to work on the surrounding trees and shrubs.


At this point i was challenged with the ways to create the snow effect on the trees’ brunches and the shrubs. Because I used pretty thick paint to create the trunks of the birch trees, i had to give the painting couple hours to dry a little to proceed to the snow effect not to let the paints mix together and make messy effect. Please have a look at the final image:

Winter river 12*18

My main concern was to get light into the painting, to show the vivid colors of winter landscape, which is not only about black and white shades. In the case of this painting the partially frozen water reflecting the sky and the surrounding birch trees was the soul of the work. The combinations of colors and textures seem to be just  inexhaustible. This is what I call the true love for painting in attempt to make a convincing combination of reality and surrealism.

Thank you for following my blog! Thank you for all the kind words!


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