January Dunes is the first winter scene that Pierre LeFebvre has ever painted.
And it came with a learning curve for the artist that calls Clinton home.
“The first thing I discovered about winter painting is it’s not all black and white. Much of the light is diffused because much of it is in softer and subtle tones. So instead of pure white, I used subtle variations,” says LeFebvre, describing the painting which shows little tufts of marram grass poking out through snow-covered hills sparkling with light from the sky above.
It’s one of 15 pieces of art in Winter Light, an exhibition by members of the Kensington Art Co-op that runs until March 30 at the MacNaught History Centre in Summerside.
Looking at the paintings, the organizer says mounting Winter Light was well worth it.
“I wanted to do a winter show. So I asked club members if they could create something new. So most people came up with an interesting winter scene, which is great,” says Lise Genova, president of the Kensington Art Co-op.
“There aren’t many paintings shown through the year that have a winter scene. That’s because in the summer, we don’t show anything about winter. So this is unique.”
Heat of Winter by Genova is certainly all about the coldest season of the year as it celebrates the snow-tipped red cliffs of P.E.I. as well as the ice floes and open blue water.
“When the snow starts to melt on a warmer day in winter, the colours change. The red earth emerges on top of the snow and ice. The blue sky becomes another exciting colour, especially on a sunny day. Also the contrast of sky and pink snow makes for a very exciting show,” says Genova, who works hard to create the perfect winter palette.
“It’s amazing the colours you see in winter. In the morning, I see blue, caused by the reflection of the sun on the snow. In the late afternoon, I see orange on the snow. I’ve also seen purple and pink,” says the Summerside artist.
Artist Nan Ferrier is also eager to share her winter palette.
“The light is a lot colder in the winter. And the lower the sun is, the more colour there is to the light,” says Ferrier, holding Tyne Valley Bridge, a sunset-drenched scene showing the Trout River, nearby houses, bare, red-tinged trees and stately evergreens.
“It was a warm day and on warm days the sap runs, giving the branches on the maple trees a nice colour,” says the seasoned Tyne Valley artist who is also happy to share the discoveries she has made while painting scenes in winter.
“If you’re outside sketching, it’s cold on the hands.
Snow can also obscure your view and in the car, the windshield can fog up. I mostly sketch from the car because it’s comfortable and a lot of my scenes are inspired by the road,” says Ferrier.
Getting close to her subject also inspires artist Donna Sutton.
Two years ago, after an ice storm, she went outside to take 200 photos, just as the sun was setting.
“Everything was ice covered and glittering — the trees, the house, the snow. It looked like a winter wonderland, so beautiful.
“The pictures I got were just gorgeous and I always wanted to paint them. So when there was a call for paintings for the winter theme show, I thought, ‘this is great.’ It forced me to get going,” says Sutton, holding her finished work, A Winter’s Eve.
“I almost broke my neck as I wandered through the yard, covered with ice, to get this image. But it was worth the effort, putting my life on the line,” says Sutton, with a laugh.
AT A GLANCE
If you are going
What: Winter Light, an exhibition by the Kensington Art Co-op.
When: Until March 30.
Where: MacNaught History Centre and Archives, Summer Street, Summerside.
Artists: Karen Slater, Merie Surkan, Shirley Mac-Leod, Debbie Bryanton, Doreen Huestis, Nan Ferrier, Carol MacKinnon, Lise Genova, June Ellis, Gloria Sonier, Pierre Lefebvre, Donna Sutton, Rolland Garnhum Meloche, Eileen Simmons.