For the Love of Snow
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"