Friday, March 1, 2013


One of the joys of living in  Alaska is the proximity of snow.  While many local “snowbirds “migrate” southward during winter, I find the colors of snow, especially on a sunny day, more appealing than “seas” of green.  It’s the icing on the triple-layer, double-chocolate fudge cake, the seasoning on the fresh-caught, charcoal-grilled King Salmon.

I have been snowed on every month of the year in this state -- even July.  We can view thick deposits of ice and snow on local mountains year round.  OK, nearly year-round.  We can’t see the “icing on our cake” when the seemingly endless parade of winter storms marching across the Gulf of Alaska pile onto our shores making this look like flat-topped mesa country.  However, my best guess is the snow remains between viewings, even if it has been a week since we could see it.

Not all snow is created equal.  This makes Petersburg’s annual 97 inch average somewhat misleading.  I have seen it snow all day long with the snow melting as it hit the ground.  At the end of the day, maybe an inch remained.  So, how much fell?   In these situations, weather observers measure the amount of liquid precipitation that has fallen and calculate ten inches of snow for every inch of water.  That day we recorded 1.8 inches of precipitation which equated to 18 inches of snow -- and I never even raised a shovel.  Under dry conditions you can get one inch of liquid water in 30 inches of snow.  We don’t see those conditions.

Several Christmas’ ago our daughter, Amanda (Mandy), came to visit.  She wanted snow and she got it, day after day.  While large urban centers in the lower 48 states would declare states of emergency, around here we call it just another winter day.  At such times we save our backs by clearing our walkways and driveway every few hours.  On one such day, as big, juicy, thirst-quenching flakes descended for hour after hour, Mandy took one of the “shifts.”  She’s always a good painting subject so I photographed her as she paused for a break while the flakes continued to pile up on top of her.  That photo served as my reference for “Losing Battle.”

                                        Losing Battle    18 X 24 inches    Alkyd on Canvas

Not long after completing the painting I saw an announcement for a contest.  The National Weather Center Biennale in Norman, Oklahoma was looking for art works depicting the “impact of weather on the human experience.”  Looking around my studio I figured since Mandy is human and the weather was impacting her experience, this painting qualified.  Sure enough “Losing Battle” was accepted and will be on display at the National Weather Center from April 22nd to June 2nd.


Barry and Kathy B said...

I like snow, sometimes. It' beautiful to look at. But...
So glad your painting of Amanda was chosen--it's a beautiful piece of art!

Cindi said...

Lovely! I'm actually a little jealous about all that snow. The rain needs to take a few breaks now and then, and let some other weather in!

Congratulations on the show entry.

Amy Blake said...

Beautiful painting - Not surprised it made it in the contest!