Inspired by the recent snowstorms back east and especially in New York, I decided to paint a snow scene. The immediate attraction for this scene was the atmospheric quality in this cityscape.
This painting is done with a very limited palette but a wide tonal range! Colors I used were mostly cool greys, i.e. cobalt and ultrablue, greyed off by mixing in a bit of raw sienna (like in the sky) or burnt umber. For some reason I had a hard time making this scene work and it wasn’t until I put this fairly big shadow in the foreground that would pull the painting together. It was one of those times were I felt like I am struggling until I did something purely on instinct that ‘saved’ me. I thought I had it nailed with the two people trudging through the snow and the yellow cab pointed toward them, but without the foreground shadow there would not be a painting! The buildings would be too dominant and overpower the real story, which is the couple making their way across the street in freezing temperatures. Almost like a mountaineering moment except within an urban landscape!
Most of the back and middle ground is done wet-in-wet whereas the people and the snow in the foreground was mostly dry-brushed.
I kept the buildings left and right very vague, there is no need to ‘spell everything out’. In my opinion, it is much better if your eyes sort of fill in the rest. The challenging part in this piece was to get the different tonal values between background and foreground right without going too dark or too light.