Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Walk Through The Universe: White, week 2

As I contemplated "white" this week, my mind turned, not surprisingly, to the idea of snow...it's part of life here in South Dakota this time of year.  This year, it seems, it's also a part of life for many folks that don't usually get to see it, including my brother in Athens, Georgia, who reported six inches of snow there the other day, just as we were getting our six inches here.

I thought about those beautifully delicate snow crystals that collect themselves together to form each single snowflake that falls, gently blanketing the landscape in unearthly quiet and the stunning white of reflected light.  I thought of Wilson A. Bentley, a self-educated Vermont farmer who  began to photograph snowflakes late in the 19th century by adapting a microscope to a bellows camera in order to capture an image of something so fleeting. Throughout his life he photographed thousands of them and in the process began an amazing collection of snowflake images of infinite variety.  I didn't know it until this week, but there is a museum dedicated to him in his hometown of Jericho, Vermont, along with a website which you can find here.  You can see a collection of images online and there are many books available as well, but here are a few chosen beauties:

My further wanderings into the world of snowy whiteness led me to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, a vast storehouse of information and little-known facts.  It was through their website, found here, that I learned that in 1953, 187 inches of snow fell within seven days at Thompson Pass, Alaska and that in the western United States, snowpack contributes up to 75 percent of all year-round surface water supplies!  And get this...the answer to your burning question....why is snow white?  Here is the answer they give:

"Visible sunlight is white. Most natural materials absorb some sunlight which gives them their color. Snow, however, reflects most of the sunlight. The complex structure of snow crystals results in countless tiny surfaces from which visible light is efficiently reflected. What little sunlight is absorbed by snow is absorbed uniformly over the wavelengths of visible light thus giving snow its white appearance."

Fun facts to know and tell abound there....including some pretty fascinating photographs like this:

The Blizzard of 1888
The Great Blizzard of March 12, 1888, New York City

And then I found some great artistic images of snow from a few wonderful photographers on etsy.  There were so many to choose from, so here is a small selection:

Winter Morning, 8 x 10 fine art photography print

For those of you that live in a place with a winter that looks like this, stay warm and enjoy the season!


  1. Patti...I really enjoyed this.....Those snowflakes are incredible....

  2. Hi Lucy....glad you enjoyed it! I'm so slow to catch on...snoweflake farm is you! Love your work!!!

  3. Fun post! Thanks for including my photo!

  4. Thank you, Kelsey, for the use of your photo!!! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Hi Patti - for some reason, by the time I got here images seem to have mysteriously vanished into the whiteness! I was able to follow your trail of snowflakes to the sources, though, and enjoyed all the links! As I write this I am watching the blizzard that arrived overnight in Boston and will have us in its grip most of today for a predicted 12-18 inches. We were actually without power for a few hours this morning and I had to sit by the window and make use of all that lovely reflected snow-whiteness to get some work done! Lovely, timely post - many thanks. Be well.

  6. G., I looked at the post again this morning too and saw the images gone! This is one of the days when I curse Blogger....I had to reconstruct the whole thing and then lost it halfway through with some mysterious wrong click that Blogger didn't like! I hope you are enjoying the snowy day...no power is no fun though...it'll get cold really fast! Glad you enjoyed this post!!! Cheers!


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