Les toits sous la neige (d'apres Caillebotte)
S. Shawcross / 30" x 36" / Oil on canvas /
Today, December 9, 2009 is our first snowstorm of the season. I painted this one day not too long ago on the anniversary of our first snowstorm that particular year. It is a painting I love by the Canadian impressionist Caillebotte working in Paris in the late 1800s. The original by Caillebotte is quite small and I felt the painting needed to be large, even big enough to imagine as a window so it is about 3 feet square. It is not hard to imagine the snow on the rooftops of Paris as seen through a window where Caillebotte had perhaps a small fire on and a house jacket, perhaps a pot of tea as he painted. I can almost see the wallpaper and the rich ruby rugs and the smell of wood and turpentine. That much snow in Paris would have been a bit of a novelty I imagine. I imagine too the sooty taste of the air from all those chimneys. What a wonderful moment to have captured with such sensitivity. My version is different of course than Caillebottes as I have rather dramatic palette knife strokes in it and I've loosened up the feel somehow I think. Everyone seems to love this painting and I must confess I'm fond of it myself. I don't know why I'm selling it... It is sitting up there at the Pot-au-Feu on display and foreign eyes are studying it and I don't know whose they are. They intrude on Caillebotte's and I's private world. But I mustn't be like that. My paintings I suppose are my children I've raised to send out into the world. They never belonged to me in the first place. I just was their midwife, their conduit.