I created my first Snow Drawings during an Artist Residency in the Colorado Rocky Mountains in February/March/April 2009. They started out of play during snowshoe walks and gradually evolved into an arts project over the course of my 3-month artist residency.
Snow Drawings at Ooms Pondwere created on a small frozen lake near Chatham, NY (Ooms Conservation Area). Local residents contributed their active help to the work on the lake on a weekend in January 2011. Other pieces were created on the lands of Millay Colony Artist Residency nearby.
These Snow Drawings were created at Carpenter Ranch near Hayden/Steamboat Springs in Northern Colorado. Some of the drawings were on the frozen Yampa River, others on grazing lands close to the river. The large piece in the Yampa River bed took me several days – always coming back to continue where I had left ff the previous day. I was lucky to have clear weather and no snowfall during the days I was working on this piece.
Snow Drawings at Rabbit Ears Pass was created with a group of community volunteers from Steamboat Springs and Hayden, Colorado, on two weekends in January/February 2012 – to both sides of the highway that leads across the mountain pass.
Snow Drawings at Catamount Lake was created during the 3 days between Friday February 1st and Sunday February 3rd 2013 in a joint effort with over 60 volunteers from Steamboat Springs and vicinity, who helped me walk giant spiral patterns with snowshoes . Despite deep, heavy snow that made walking difficult and strenuous we managed to create a stunning art piece on the frozen snow-covered lake. I was greatly impressed of the piece that revealed itself when I flew over the lake the next morning to take photos.
This Snow Drawings piece was created with approximately 50 volunteer performers, who collaboratively recreated – in an abstracted sense – the original flow of the Yampa River and its 4 main tributaries within Routt County, CO. The river is now dammed and the valley is filled with water. In a 4-hour effort the groups of volunteers walked across the lake on snowshoes to create a pattern of a general stream as well as paying tribute to the moods of water, as its flow may be slow or fast, rough or smooth, straight or meandering, whirling in circles and racing down rapids. The piece was photographed from an airplane the day after the event.
This piece was created in February 2014 and is the first of two Snow Drawings projects in the Valley of Serre Chevalier – a skiing area in the French Alps. The piece was created over two days with the help of approximately 70 participants. The piece extends around a mountainside and was photographed from a helicopter during changing light conditions – between bright sunshine – which delivers good contrast and brings out the footsteps in the snow, and cloud cover – which lacks contrast and causes the patterns to vanish from sight.
This Snow Drawings project was created with approximately 12 volunteers over two days in the French Alps in February 2014. Planned as a 1-day project the ground perspective of the high-mountain valley proved deceiving, and the project had to be extended to a second day with additional volunteers. Situated in a “bowl” it was photographed from surrounding peaks and ridges, as well as from a ski lift.
These Snow Drawings were created during a participatory art and nature event in winter 2016. Participants included communities of Cazenovia, NY and the larger Syracuse area. In a 1-day effort (Saturday January 23rd) we filled up all of the Art Park’s open spaces with spiral shapes. The event attracted a large number of participants, who contributed their time end effort throughout the day. Images and video footage were shot with the help of professional drone photographers, who took advantage of light and shadow, as the sun moved across the piece from the morning to the late afternoon.
Similar to the earlier project We Are the Waterthis Yampa River Snow Drawings project attempts to draw the flow of the Yampa River on frozen Lake Catamount. While the first piece focused on the idea of a flowing stream in a stylized sense, this second project attempts to mimic the actual flow of the Yampa River, as it once wiggled itself through the valley in meanders – before the river was dammed to become Lake Catamount.
The piece was created with approximately 50 community participants, who zigzagged across the lake – guided by 4 lead-walkers, who defined the bending points to draw a meandering flow.
In March 2015 I conducted a Snow Drawings project at Denali National Park in collaboration with National Park staff and 60 high school students from surrounding schools. Our Snow Drawings day was exceptionally cold at minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit, and I admired the students’ dedication and endurance. Since we were not granted permission to take aerial photos I shot ground-shots during the event. The ground perspective helps emphasize the beauty of the Alaska landscape that we embedded the artwork into.
I had planned for a large-scale Snow Drawings project on the Archipelago Sea outside the city of Turku. However, due to an extraordinarily mild winter, the ice was not thick enough and we had barely any snow during my seven weeks stay at the Saari Foundation’s Artist Residency. Toward the end of my stay I was able to create a small piece on surrounding fields. With the help of 15 hardy participants we fought against gusty winds and snowdrifts. I was able to capture some of our patterns on photo before the wind blew them away.