Our fresh snow cover here this morning sent me looking for some wintery inspiration, which I happily found in the wistful watercolors of Saskatchewan artist Bob Pitzel. Pitzel’s art captures the stark and vanishing rural landscapes of western Canada, typified by imposing grain elevators, graying farmhouses and sheds that dot wide expanses of prairie, and weathered fences erected more as barriers against the elements than to fence in or out people or creatures.
While Pitzel’s subject matter ranges beyond winter settings, it struck me while surveying his masterful work that many of his scenes are rendered with the coldest of seasons as a central element. In the biography on his site, I love the ethos of humility, practicality and community that he expresses when noting that given the remoteness of rural life “we had to help ourselves out of the corners our inexperience got us into.” More broadly, the following observation by Pitzel suggests some further inspiration for the muted emotional feel and sense of isolation conveyed in much of his winter-themed art: “As the human race, we fool ourselves that we’re in control. But look at global warming, and history. At the end of the day, we’re only spectators.”
More about Pitzel and his wonderful watercolors can be found on his artist site here.
These are great paintings. They really show the feeling of the cold and remoteness – the loneliness of the prairies.
Yes, makes me want to grab a hot cup of coffee or tea to ward away all that cold.
For sure! And maybe some mitts and a toque.
Thanks. I love when you post these Canadian artists. My dad grew up in Manitoba, so these cold images are what he described.
Thanks! My specialty — curating off the beaten path art! 🙂 Growing up in remote places like that leaves its imprint.
We travel with meeting artists in mind. Great fun to see rural studios.
That sounds like a great way to travel!
Wow, these are very interesting pictures my favorites are the 4th, 5th, 7th and 10th.
Those are all terrific.
These could be painted around my area of northeastern New Mexico also. I have photos that match some of the scenes you posted. To me this area is beautiful, although some people find it to be too stark.
Nice comparison. Stark landscapes have many attractions.
wonderful paintings with a lot of atmosphere
He sure made snow look good as an art.
These excellent paintings take me back to my childhood in Southern Alberta. I am shivering just looking at them from my house in Spain.
Images of a cozy little house on the prairie come to mind! I hope you’re enjoying Spain, Darlene. 🙂
Thanks for this…reminds me of home! mdm
Very nice realist paintings of the CDN Prairie. Thanks.
Yes, and doing this with watercolor is quite an accomplishment.
So beautiful and so cold!!
Yes, on both counts!
What an interesting artist. Thanks for showing his works. Love watercolours.
Thanks for the introduction
Wonderful paintings of the Canadian prairies – they convey a real sense of the open landscape during the winter. And I feel cold just looking at them!
When I was nine my Dad was transferred to Edmonton, Alberta – not really a prairie city, but very cold in January when we arrived. It was minus 32 Fahrenheit on my first day of school and I got frostbite – welcome to the west!
Thanks for posting these great images, Brett!
That was quite an introduction to Edmonton! Thanks for sharing this, Richard.
These photos are all great,my favorite one is the old truck … maybe we’ll start her up in the spring.. I’m debating whether that’s wishful thinking or hope. 😄 Still it brings a chuckle.
Some of them look like photos, but they’re watercolors. The title for the truck painting makes me chuckle as well! 🙂
Love those photos, especially the old truck! ❤
Hi, Diana, I really like that old truck as well. It’s a testament to the artist’s skill that some of these paintings appear to be photos. 🙂
Yes! I thought it was a photo! My first vehicle was a 1963 Chevy Pick Up with 3 on the tree. I also owned a ’57 GMC at one point (built like a tank) and the painting reminds me of it.
Ahh — those are classic trucks! I have an early Ford Ranger and can’t do without it.
I really liked the winter art scenes. That snow fence did not hold back all of the snow though, some blew all the way down here to South Dakota, where it was a -30°F yesterday morning. I’ve been here on the Prairie for 76 years and still enjoy it, trouble is I can’t get outside anymore to roll around in the snow or to make a tunnel into a big snowbank or even make a snowman for that matter. I always enjoy your art postings from Canada. Thanks
Hi, Leland, thanks! South Dakota has its share of cold. I hope you get to enjoy some of the snow this winter but are safe in doing so.
Hi Brett. I am most drawn to the paintings with snow fences in the foreground. The expanse of space beyond feels calm and isolated to me. Air crisp and biting against my cheek. Silence absolute. Perhaps it speaks to my introverted side.
Gwen, wonderful observations. The idea of a snow fence is itself something fascinating to contemplate, partly because it suggests an ability to tame something on a vast sale that is inherently untameable. Wintery expanses conjure such thoughts.
Beautiful paintings that capture the starkness and leaness of the prairies
So realistic and beautiful! Love the colors.
Great work man! It’s beautiful!
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