Snow light

Lake Sorell|Central Highlands|Tasmania|Australia

Snow light: Highland Lakes
Scott Bennett | 2021 | Acrylic on linen | 48″ x 36″ | Private collection

Click here to view a zoomable image of the painting.

When I hear that snow is coming, I often drive to the top of Tunbridge Tier road, into the Central Highlands. On a few occasions I’ve been lucky enough to see the landscape transform before my eyes.

‘The utility of a bowl is in its empty hollowness
And the use of a dwelling is in its empty spaces
Therefore that which has material existence serves for profitable adaption
And that which does not exist has actual usefulness’ – Lao Tzu*

The emphasis in the West of form over space as the mystic element of landscape, was inverted before my eyes by a snow storm that slowly veiled the scrub. In the mind’s eye, real space began to bounce back and forth between something and nothing. Downwind the scene approached white-out, while upwind, untouched bark forms punctuated the vista. Sun reflecting from the backs of snow covered trunks acted as a fill-light, softening shadows ahead while backlit ice rimmed their silhouettes.

*I’ve paraphrased Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching 11

“She looks like the moon
She says, it’s your eyes…

And she looks like the day
She says, it’s the light…”

– Future Islands, Like the Moon

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