I spent a LOT of time with friends and Blackwell Forest Preserve when I was younger. For me and my friends, it was a place to get away from it all and I am happy to see that my Dad recognized this too. Here is what he wrote about this piece.
I awoke one winter Saturday morning in 2005 to discover a think wet blanket of snow had fallen during the night. My wife and I grabbed breakfast and our cameras and went for a drive to capture the magic before it melted away. One stop was Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville, Illinois, near where we live. At one point this scene “begged” us to stop . The light was somewhat diffused but the sun still cast shadows on the snow. This pine was on the crest of a hill overlooking a nearly frozen lake. Only the edges remained open water. On the island of ice in the lake, the area geese had settled down for a nap in the safety of their isolation and the warmth of the sun.
What especially grabbed my attention were the almost abstract patterns of snow clumps on the branches contrasted with the deep dark green areas hidden underneath. I also loved the softness of these snow clumps against the wonderful linear patterns of the dead branches around the base of the trunk. There we could see the shapes of the snow made by the driving wind. It struck me as a very peaceful and quiet, yet ephemeral moment. The work of the sun would transform this scene quickly by melting away the wonderful snow patterns. Then, almost missed, we spotted the owl, hidding deep within the darkness of the inner tree, watching us watching him. Magic!
The painting is done in transparent watercolors so the snow white areas are simply unpainted paper, as is traditional in watercolors. The paper is 15″ by 20″ Arches 140# cold pressed 100% cotton rag, the best available.