As the temperature drops our thoughts are turning to “winter warmers”. Here’s our guide to ways you can cosy up with Living Paintings.
Put on some soothing music such as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” by Nat King Cole, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” by Dean Martin or “Santa Baby” by Kylie. Sip a large mug of delicious, warming, hot chocolate. Try Jamie Oliver’s “the best hot chocolate recipe in the world” with added marshmallows. Perhaps have a plate of hot, buttered crumpets to hand, definitely a mince pie, or two, and some Christmas gingerbread. Here’s our favourite recipe from Waitrose.
Indulge in an afternoon of exploring wintry, tactile scenes from the warmth of your sitting room. Here are our Top Three:
This portrait by Sir Henry Raeburn is of an 18th century Scottish minister skating across an icy loch, silhouetted against a darkening wintry sky. It appears in our book on Edinburgh, Jewel of Scotland. He’s shown as a solitary figure against a wide expanse of ice. In the far distance are the shadowy shapes of hills, some of which are snow-capped. The sky is painted in broad sweeps of varying greys and pinks, suggesting the end of a wintry afternoon and clouds full of snow. It’s a wonderful tactile image to explore as you can imagine you’re gliding across the ice alongside the Rev, your hands and cheeks tingling from the cold and exhilaration.
The Magpie or La Pie in contrast is a beautiful, tranquil scene of newly fallen snow. Painted by Impressionist Claude Monet during the winter of 1868-69 near the commune of Etretat in Normandy it shows a solitary magpie perched on a gate. The sunlight bathes the crisp white snow and creates beautiful blue shadows. You can imagine you’re on a country walk, listening to birdsong and feeling the winter’s sun warm on your face. This image can be found in our book on the works of Monet which also features his famous paintings of summer scenes, The Water-lily Pond and Poplars.
Finally, we’ve chosen Winter’s White Silence by Lucy Kemp-Welch. By one of Britain’s most successful equestrian painters, this powerful portrait of working horses pulling a cart laden with hay across a snowy field is a great favourite. She used blues, purples, browns and greys to depict the snow, giving it a naturalistic depth and texture. You can almost hear the snorting of the horses and the sound of their hooves in the snow as they trudge, heads down, against the chill wind. This beautiful tactile image can be found in our Weather in Art book.
To borrow the books which contain these images click here to browse our online library.