Society of Wildlife Artists blog – The white stuff

Snow and ice create a whole new landscape and colour palette for a wildlife painter. 

Magpie on conifer

Sometimes you simply have to stop what you’re doing and gaze at the world around us. The white stuff is here and it’s a winter wonderland out there.

The dark forms of animals move around an alien landscape: brown hares struggle with their stride across white fields; sparrows and finches are joined by yellowhammers and reed buntings at busy seedfeeders; and roe deer lie resting, half buried in snow.
Light shapes the new white world with blues and greys: low light catching tracks in the snow; morning light sculpting the forms of distant mountains; the even light on snow-covered trees.
So, for an artist, there’s a host of new images to play with. No surprise that my mind sifts through the library of paintings by artists from cooler climes who are well used to snowy landscapes: Sweden’s Bruno Liljefors, American Andy Wyeth and Canada’s George McLean are my favourite masters of whites.
From my studio window, a conifer is draped in fresh snow and I choose my simple subject. Sooner or later the local magpie will come to the garden attracted by the birds at the feeding station...

Darren Rees has been painting for over 20 years and is one of the UK's most highly respected wildlife artists. His first solo book Bird Impressions was published in 1993 to much critical acclaim. He is a knowledgeable naturalist and also acts as a guide on wildlife tours around the world. To visit Darren's website click here.

To visit the SWLA's website, click here.


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