Turning Summer Into Snow

From Horn's Hill (pastel) by John Roush

My pastel, From Horn’s Hill, shows how this scene on Maine’s Monhegan Island might look in December. I say “might” because I’ve actually never been there in winter. When I needed a last-minute painting for the family’s holiday card, I decided to depict one of my favorite locations. Heading to Maine was not an option, so instead, I found a plein air oil of the scene I’d done in summer (see Bogdanov’s), and used it as a reference.

Bogdanov's (oil) by John Roush

Since the position of the trees, road and house wouldn’t change, it was just a matter of covering everything with a coat of snow and lowering the angle of the sun. As with any landscape in any season, I had to remain aware of the direction and temperature of the light sources. On a cloudy day, it’s the sky. On a clear day, it’s the sky and sun. Reflected light is also more apparent on the snow.

See more of John Roush’s snow scenes and other winter-inspired pastels in the February 2010 issue of The Pastel Journal.


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