WINTER–Silence & Beauty

Kindness is like snow: It beautifies everything it covers.

–Kahlil Gibran

As the New Year begins, my thoughts are filled with the memory of winter’s quiet beauty.

I just returned from a Holiday trip to visit my cousin’s family at their exquisite log cabin on the banks of the Snake River in Idaho. On Christmas Eve I took a walk alone out towards the river. The air was crisp, the freshly fallen powder was deep, and all I could hear were sounds of the rushing river flowing down stream. A crescent moon glowed in the clear night sky shining light on my path back to the cabin. I experienced a sense of wonder and although these moments were fleeting, being soothed by nature’s beauty, filled me with immense gratitude.

I’m also grateful for snow filled days in Vermont, Connecticut, Montana as well as Idaho. Although the air is frigid, winter snowfall is simply magical. Fortunately, artists like Richard Schmid, Daniel J. Keys, and the late Timothy R. Thies loved to capture rare moments in oils painted directly from life in below freezing temperatures!

This little gem titled, “Winter Sketch,” painted by Richard Schmid in Gaylordsville, CT in 1967, captures the glint of sunlight and cast shadows on a lovely snowy day.  One of our friends, artist Clayton Beck who has painted with Richard over the years, told me that Richard’s thick stokes of paint are actually frozen on the surface!

Winter Sketch

“Winter Sketch” Oil 10″ x 14″ ©Richard Schmid 1967


Next: Richard painted his remarkably detailed Vermont landscape on location in 2007. The painting is featured in Richard’s latest book, The Landscapes – Enhanced Edition, and his caption for his oil reads, “I guess I like old houses so much, I can’t help giving them special attention.” 

Saxton's River Barn ©Richard Schmid 2007

“Saxton’s River Barn” Oil  7.75″ x 10″ ©Richard Schmid 2007.  On loan from the K.T. Wiedemann Foundation to the new Mark Arts Center in Wichita, KS.


“Montana Barns,”  a small winter landscape, was painted en plein aire by Daniel J. Keys. He created it during a painting trip with his artist friend, Tyler Murphy, owner of Montana Gallery in Billings, MT.  It was selected for the cover of Plein Air Magazine, and I sold it to a collector at a one-man show I hosted for Dan in Boston in 2014.

"Montana Barns" Oil 6" x 10" ©Daniel J. Keys 2014

“Montana Barns” Oil 6″ x 10″ ©Daniel J. Keys 2014


The following two plein aire landscapes are by the late Timothy R. Thies. He always loved painting snow-scapes even on the coldest winter days. This Maple tree on our land in Manchester Center, Vermont was a favorite source of inspiration. Tim of course didn’t paint the swans from life, but added them later on in his studio.

"Winter Maple"

“Winter Maple” oil 20″ x 24″ ©Timothy R. Thies 2001

Then one freezing day in February of 1999, Timothy went out in a snow storm to capture the view from a hill nearby our home/gallery in Manchester Center, Vermont.


“Vermont- Winter ’99”  Oil on panel ©Timothy R. Thies 1999

Timothy inscribed the back of the study: “Feb. ’99 Vermont, 20 degrees, blowing snow.
The snow was freezing to my palette. The crusty areas of paint are frozen snow and paint. © Thies 1999″

While looking for the exact title of this sketch in Timothy’s antique library card case, I came across a notebook with quotes I’d written down many, many years ago.

Timothy’s first teacher was Nelson Shanks and during his early studies, Nelson asked him to write down his purpose for being an artist. According to Tim, Shanks’ question never even dawned on him. Now years later, Tim’s words seem quite relevant to painting oils directly from life even on the chilliest of days…

“For me, the purpose of art is to tap into the great reservoir of creativity, to merge with
and sink into the pure joy of being an artist.
In sports its known as being in the zone. Infinite creative spirit is alive when all my senses merge into a space where time ceases and beauty resides.
It’s a place where honesty, innocence, and truth are valued. And, when we as artists tap into that deep and quiet pool we rise up refreshed and fulfilled.”- Timothy R. Thies 1999.

Although I greatly admire and respect artists who love painting snowscapes outdoors, I’m not fond of spending time outside on cold wintery days!

So, dear reader, since I prefer staying warm inside my home/studio with a hot cup of tea, I’m posting two of Nancy Guzik’s artworks that express my sentiments…

Nancy painted these two special oils of her late friend Janice, as she posed in Nancy’s Vermont studio.

IMG_4844 (1)

“Janice”  aka “Tea”  Oil 14″ x 12″ © Nancy Guzik 2004

C. 1. Winter_Tea_30x20_Nancy_Guzik_72dpiC

“Winter Tea” Oil 30″ x 20″ ©Nancy Guzik 2004

Her quintessential oil, “Winter Tea”  graces the catalog cover of Nancy’s one person show  I hosted for her in 2004. The painting now resides in the home of our long time friend and collector. To view more of Nancy Guzik’s oils, and to order her catalogs and DVD, please visit,

Wishing you a very magical New Year, filled with joy, creativity, friendship, great health, and lots of prosperity!

With love and gratitude, Kristen

Kristen - Christmas 2017

Kristen Thies Winter 2018






PS-If you’d like to be inspired by more of Richard’s paintings, please check out his newest book: THE LANDSCAPES – ENHANCED EDITION – 280 pages and 300 color plates.

The Landscapes- Enhanced Edition covertif copy
The large format book of Richard Schmid’s fifty year path as a landscape painter has been color enhanced using the latest state of the art printing technology and further enriched with added captions and many new original drawings in the margins.

This is the visual tale of an artist and his life-long romance with the colors and light of our earth. With delightfully candid narrative and over 300 full color images, Richard reveals what it is like to go out and capture life as it is happening! The reader will discover how landscape painting is unlike any other form of art; and that artistic skill is only one of the many abilities demanded.

Please go over to shopping cart to order.






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