Thursday, December 9, 2010

The transience of light is sometimes captured.


“Transience of light” - this is a great phrase and really was the goal of the impressionists: to capture the effect of true light in paint. Painting the quality of light in winter is my challenge for the next few months and I am jumping into my experiments with excitement. I use this term because all my work is experimental. Each picture is an infinite number of decisions and combinations never to be reformulated in the exact same way.

Composition may be copied – but tone, contrast and colour cannot be exactly duplicated. So each painting is a unique interpretation of an original idea. If somewhat successful, an impressionist style painting is a wonderful reflection of the transience of light that you can put on your wall. You and no one else possesses it. This, I think, is one of the great the allures of art. It is the allure for me as a painter, to make pictures, hopefully good ones, that have never been seen before, and can never be duplicated.

Painting light and shadow on snow – there is no guidebook to follow. Snow can be purple, pink, green, blue, yellow, orange - it does not matter and I have seen it painted successfully in all of these colours. It can be subtle, or it can be stark - it can be painted warm or cool.

The interpretations are limitless and so are the historical examples. I also have the benefit of photography - which also provides other clues and reference for the way light travels across the white surface. And I have the benefit of snow out my back door – I am looking at the sun weakly shinning through a silvery haze of fine snow. The ground is covered with a blanket of mauve and the trees in the distance the palest purple blue.

The snow is falling - it’s a great day to paint! 


  1. Just waiting for a reframe on my first Armstrong original. Looking forward to this addition to my home!! Please keep your collectors posted on any upcoming pieces for your Spring Show! Many thanks...

  2. Greetings Garth. Love the work. I came upon your stuff completely by accident at the gallery in Sherway and was blown away. Knockout stuff. I'm working on some snow paintings right now as well. Snow is just fascinating stuff to observe.