Chill Out!

“Spring Sunshine on Fresh Snow” (watercolor, 11 x 14 in.)

“I have a warm, well-lit studio,” says Poppy Balser. “Why on earth would I don three, or sometimes four, layers, including boots that weigh 3 1/2 pounds each, and struggle with numb fingers, just so I can go outside to paint in winter. 

“I do it because there’s a particular kind of beauty this time of year. Snow alters the view, softening edges, obscuring details, and bouncing light into spaces that can otherwise be gloomy. It’s not just that snow reflects the light, either; it reflects the color of the light and filters it with prismatic qualities through millions of snowflakes. I work outside so I can observe the effect directly. My eyes see nuances of color that just aren’t visible in photos taken at the same spot. 

“I made this painting on a day in March. We’d been hit with six inches of snow overnight, and the forecast called for temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. Bathed in brilliant sunshine and the bracing feel of the cold, crisp air, I happily captured the scene in watercolor.”

Paint along with Poppy and 23 other top plein air painters at Plein Air Live. The online event runs March 6-8, 2024, with an optional Essential Techniques Day on March 5.


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