“Walking in Winter” Painting
Award-winning artist Benson Halwood is basically self-taught, but was mentored, early in his career, by some heavy-hitting, major artists: David John, Dan Namingha, and Robert Draper.
He is immensely versatile, but his favorite subjects are nostalgic and traditional, even if the expressions are not.
This opaque watercolor demands attention, with unusual elegance and a sense of mysticism.
Three, beautifully detailed figures march, single file, across a snowy landscape.
Except for the figures, more is suggested than explicit, but the surroundings are masterfully implied.
Huddled in blankets, their breath visible in the cold air, the man and two women trudge stoically over the land, where only wisps of bare grasses show through the frosty ground.
The man, and one woman, are older than the last in line, implying a couple, and their daughter.
Behind and around them, dainty snow flurries are visible, behind a large circle that suggests the sun, behind clouds.
Their blankets are blowing from the back, so they seem to be bracing against a bitter wind.
What makes this fascinating painting remarkable, is that the winter chill is displayed against a rich, burgundy background, rather than more realistic greys.
Gorgeous as the deep, claret red is, it conveys cold, and stolid effort, hinting at the heaviness of overcast, blustery winter weather.
The marbleized background adds subtle agitation, emphasizing the effect of wind, and shivery cold.
That large, circular form balances this with tranquillity, and also keeps the eye in the center of the painting.
Realistic and carefully detailed figures contrast with the abstraction of the larger surface, to mysterious and compelling effect.
Expanding the marbleized texture and wine-dark color to the matte, seems to make the lonely figures even more isolated, and surreal.
Professionally matted and framed, with archival materials, so it will not fade, this is beautiful painting with strong impact.