In the film Girl with a Pearl Earring, the artist Vermeer ( Colin Firth) leads the girl to the window of his studio. And looking out at the sky, he asks what colour she sees. Imagine the colours of the skyscape reflected in the snow on Scout Scar escarpment and the ridge above. Cloud and light are constantly changing, and how will skyfall strike the snow? That wonderful silence is lost as snow-crystals compact under their own weight, changing the acoustic property of light and airy snow. Surface snow-crystals melt and refreeze, in a crust that rasps to the touch. Snow is not white. And from the moment hands pack gathered snow hard into the body of the gleaming snowman he is no longer snow. Sturdy and solid, he is iceman perhaps.
The central image is my Homage to David Hockney. At the time of this snow scene there was a major exhibition of his paintings in London. I watched a TV documentary and listened to him speaking of his art. He studies the same woodland location over and over, fascinated by the changing light and season. Yes, I'll go with that. My work looks nothing like his but I share his philosophy. Looking and seeing, watching the way the light falls, studying change. This group of ash trees on Scout Scar draws me. They feature in the images in my gallery on a day when banners of stratus cloud hung over them. I return again and again. Right of the trees is an almost branchless trunk that seems to be telling them something and it looks like a meercat. These trees might look young but they're old. Up on Scout Scar they are rooted in limestone clitter, with no nutrients and the rock does not hold water. Look closely and they are gnarled, embattled. In winter, they take on a striking character. The south west wind and sunlight races over the ridge, catching them for a moment in conversation. Then the light changes and the moment is lost.