For the Love of Snow

Arabella - - NEWS - Brett An­ning­son

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Most peo­ple in Canada have a love/hate re­la­tion­ship with snow. If you talk to some­one who has moved here from the trop­ics, they re­mind you of the stun­ning beauty – the ab­so­lute mag­i­cal qual­ity of sun­light sparkling on early morn­ing crys­tals. A world of fan­tasy il­lu­mi­nated. If you check in with them around Fe­bru­ary, they have had enough. The work of Richard Mravik serves as a re­minder to those glo­ri­ous days of first snow. His stun­ning real­ism mag­ni­fies the raw beauty of a land­scape draped in won­der. His paint­ings help us to love snow al­most as much as Richard does. "It was not al­ways snow," he ex­plains. "I started with por­traits, and then 15 years of wildlife paint­ing. Now I feel most in­spired when walk­ing in three feet of fresh snow with snow shoes. The sun­lit trees, blue sky, sparkling snow crys­tals and un­be­liev­able si­lence that sur­rounds me, as the thick snow on the trees acts as a sound bar­rier… amaz­ing. There is so much I can do with just snow. It can be al­most any colour, in­clud­ing warm. The trees can have candy-like shapes – a fan­tasy land – with some in­put from an artist." Grow­ing up in Slo­vakia, Richard was sub­ject to a cli­mate sim­i­lar to that in Canada. Per­haps his love of snow started way back then. He cer­tainly came by his artis­tic abil­ity hon­estly. "My grand­fa­ther Fran­tisek Hulko was a pro­fes­sional artist in the for­mer Cze­choslo­vakia, now Slo­vakia," Richard re­calls. "He was paint­ing large por­traits of politi­cians at the time. Af­ter work, he painted a va­ri­ety of sub­jects in­clud­ing land­scapes and still life. When I was five, he passed away. I never got any lessons but I re­mem­ber go­ing through dozens of his half-fin­ished paint­ings, rough first

left, Morn­ing Light, oil on can­vas, 36" x 24" above, Win­ter Glory, oil on can­vas, 40" x 40"

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