Photographing the Winter Landscape

The snow has stayed with us for the best part of a week in our corner of south west Scotland so I have taken the opportunity to get out and about with my camera. I have already taken views of our village from up on the hillside so today I ventured out to the side of the Loch.

The most striking thing about today was the lack of colour. A grey sky above snow covered ground provided an almost monochrome landscape. This tends to put the emphasis on shape and form and the old gnarled trees caught my attention.

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I have photographed this particular wind-blown tree on previous walks but this is the first time I have seen it in such a bleak winter landscape. The tree put me in mind of Van Gogh’s “Winter Garden” (1884). Although I enjoy photography, I use the camera very much as you would a sketchbook and hope that this tree will be a source of inspiration for a future artwork. I remember being impressed with Van Gogh’s drawings even more than his paintings during my college days. If you haven’t studied his charcoal and pencil sketches they are well worth a look.

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Of course, everyone knows Van Gogh for his bright and energetic style of paintings but I think his drawings are truly spectacular. If you are in any doubt as to the value of pencil or charcoal drawing, a quick browse through his work will convince you of their merit. Obviously artists such as Van Gogh, Monet or Degas did not have the advantage of a digital camera so the majority of their work was done “on site”. Photography is not intended to be a substitute for sketching, it is merely an additional aid. But we have these things available so why not use them?

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Upon moving down to the lochside, my eyes were drawn to some trees that had been partly frozen beneath the surface of the water. I have seen the loch frozen in places before but the entire surface appears to be frozen at the moment. There was enough light to provide some interesting reflections and the contrast added by the remaining snow on the wall made for quite a dramatic shot. Again, I will keep this image and hope to use it as a reference in my paintings or drawings at some point.

One of the attractive features on Bigvyor.com is the opportunity to set up your own “room”. You do not have to be an artist to join the site. Perhaps you have an assortment of everyday images that you would like to store, a bit like a personal scrapbook. The site welcomes anything creative, whether it be photography, painting, craftwork or just your own observation. Bigvyor is as much a site for the art lover as the artist and hopes to bring them together in a celebration of art worldwide. Everything is explained on the site and you are welcome to email me at harvey.mayson@bigvyor.com if you wish to comment on anything on my blog.

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