Snowy Wonderland

Diamond Head, 30x30, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

This painting was inspired by a wonderful sunny day in a snowy wonderland. The view of the Diamond Head peak can be seen from the Elfin Lakes Trail in the Garibaldi Provincial Park.

Over the years I've painted numerous scenes inspired by snowshoeing trips around Vancouver. My favorite destinations are Dog Mountain and Seymour Mountain trails, the Hollyburn trail on the Cypress Mountain, and Dam Mountain Trail on the Grouse Mountain.

I prefer snowshoeing to skiing, firstly because I am not a very good skier, and secondly because I love the sense of a long journey full of delightful discoveries, surrounded by trees and snow. Getting up the mountain on foot requires quite a bit of effort and gives me time to think and observe, and I never have enough of that. I love to wonder around and take in the scenery from different vantage points and shoot inspiring reference photos.

Sunset on the Holyburn Trail

Snowshoeing on a sunny winter day, preferably in the afternoon when the sunlight gets rosy and trees turn into gold, is an amazing experience. There is so much beauty to be seen - the play of light and shadows, colors and textures -  white and gold,  purple and turquoise, icy and crystalline. Not to mention gorgeous sunsets on the mountain - sparkling ocean to the south, endless white peaks to the north.

Sunset on the Dam Mountain trail

The way back down the mountain is fun too, by way of sliding downhill on my behind. It doesn't matter how old you are, you'll instantly feel like you are five.

Back in the studio, I start a painting with intention to recreate mountain joy on the canvas. These paintings are born with ease, sliding off the brush swiftly, just like my back-side slides down a snowy slope.

That got me thinking. How to capture this flow and make it a norm?

It took me a while to figure it out, but when it came, it was so obvious.

I'll paint what I like!

By this, I mean that I will stop denying myself the pleasure of painting things that come on the whim, in addition to my regular, planned studio works. Over years, there were numerous occasions when I came across something that made me think - oh! I'd love to paint this! And then I didn't. Either there was no time, or it didn't fit with my "body of work", or it seemed too challenging. I have hundreds of photo references, notes, and memories of such inspiring moments.

So now, it dawned on me that it only takes an hour to paint a quick sketch and get one of these images out of my system. I already stock-piled some small panels that are to be used exclusively for this purpose.The idea is to go through my backlog and paint one long desired image whenever I can block out an hour. Some will be silly and some will be little jewels. But they will be gifts from me to myself, and they don't need to be flawless or masterful, as long as they are joyful. I am okay with that!

examples of my quick joyful sketches - I call this series "I shall paint whatever I like!"

I hope that you get to experience a sunset on a snowy mountain this winter!