Winter Sunrise

My favorite time of day during winter months… very early morning. Maybe because my dog wakes me up before the sun rises, although sometimes I am up before him! The quiet before most people are up and moving, the crisp winter air, combined with the warmth of the sky colors… this is the only time during the course of a day when I just sit and watch, and take it all in.

Snow Road
soft pastel on La Carte
16” x 12”

I am sharing process photos. Documenting the development of a painting helps me think through each step, see corrections to make, also giving me a helpful teaching tool.

Working from a table top easel, my reference photos were taken in December when I was in Michigan. There was fresh snow, and each morning I would watch the sun rise over the fields to the east. The snow mirrored the warmth and glow of the sun as it crept into the sky. The serenity of it all was a daily morning meditation.

I used a set of Rembrandt pastels, (1 color 5 values) for the initial color block in. I also keep a color wheel handy for times when I need a discord or complimentary color reminder.

Rembrandt pastels, rich orange set

After my initial color block I blend color using insulation piping. Next I can add the darker shades of blue, the dominate color in both the sky and snow. Adding layers of color is easy on the LaCarte sanded paper, although it takes plenty of pastel layering in order to develop the intensity then subtlety. There is a balance in color and the snow absorbs it all.

I have been recovering from knee replacement surgery that was on January 10 and it has taken a solid month to get to a point where I am able to sit at a table and paint without interrupting leg pain. I had no idea how long the recovery would be. The physical therapist I see tells me each person recovers at their own rate although for me three months is probably realistic as to how long it will take before I am feeling closer to normal. Some people take over a year to recover!

I had to cancel teaching the winter session classes at North Shore Art League but will resume for the spring session that begins in April. Class information can be found here –

Last week was the first time I painted post surgery. I had to tell myself just have fun, don’t think too much, and be quick about it. The warm glow of sunrise reflecting on the snowy hill was a feeling I tried to capture. The dried hydrangeas had a brownish orange glow as the sun hit the bushes in the foreground.

December Morning
soft pastel on UArt
8” x 10”

A few more paintings done from my time in Michigan –

I’ve been going to my brother and sister-in-laws home in Michigan for a while now, and have always been inspired each visit. The wide open space, the natural beauty, and the seasonal changes allow me to see things differently every time I am there.

Painting in Michigan