I love the way the garden gets defined by the snow. Snow in its stark whiteness, highlights the bones of the garden. Even as it blankets everything, it reveals the design and lay of the land. There are highlights and low-lights that emerge to give a new understanding of the effect of the various elements in the space and their relation to each other. One hardly designs a garden for the snow but it is always gratifying to see an entirely new dimension revealed by it.
Winter is always a good time to asses the bones of the garden. Devoid of foliage, the garden is laid bare for scrutiny. Too much or too little structure, a need for some additional plantings or focal point, even what alterations or repairs are necessary. Add a coat of snow and it gets even more telling. Subtle gradients can be seen more clearly, Sunlight on the snow exposes how light hits the garden. Shadows from trees and buildings tell of the extent to which they impact the plantings. As the snow melts, the different micro-climates can be observed – where it melts first and where it remains cold longer helps the gardener plant appropriately. There is so much learned.
As an artist, when painting snow scenes, I have to observe even more closely.. Exactly how the light hits the ground, the angle of the shadows, dips and inclines, areas that are either particularly interesting or too bland and discerning colors in what seems like a very white canvas.
This observation has proven even more educational than simply taking photographs. In fact, I believe it has improved how I compose my photos as well as the garden.
Best of all,, both, painting and taking photos keep me in the moment. A valuable lesson in mindfulness.
(c) 2022 Shobha Vanchiswar