I don’t mean that these are paintings of sisters, though! They are from photos taken during the same late afternoon winter walk, and you can clearly see the “family resemblance.”
I was drawn to the softness of this scene. The gold of the dried grasses poking up through the snow echoes the gold in the sunset. The path is only subtly visible, mostly because there are no grasses there, and I like the small evergreen that stands like a little sentinel to one edge. The glow of the sky limns the edge of the mountains with light.
I must have taken this photo slightly before the prior one, because the colors of the sky are just starting to show in pale pastels. The mountains have even more light on them, a wash of pink and gold. I like the intimacy of this scene: it feels to me that I am standing right behind that tree, looking at the mountain beyond. I let both trees here go off the page, to better draw the viewer into the scene. And again here are those gold grasses.
In both scenes, I used my artistic license to increase the colors. Winter, even at sunset, can be so monochrome. I exaggerated the colors in the sky and added them to the snow, even the snow on the tree branches. Here is the reference photo for “Gentle Evening,” so you can see the changes.
And the reference photo for “Dusk Comes Early”:
Here I had a somewhat different challenge. The colors in the sky are lovely, but because it is later in the day, the foreground is quite dull and the mountains and trees almost in silhouette. The grasses are too prominent, adding a distracting messiness. All of these things can be changed, and I did!
If you compare the photos to the paintings, you will see that I made both scenes much warmer than they were in actuality. They have pinks and yellows that were perhaps barely suggested in the photos, but are clearly present in the paintings. My goal, as always, is not to show reality. You can see reality for yourself. My goal is to show something of the spirit of the place, something more of truth than reality. I hope that both of these paintings do just that.