Action and Energy in Ephemeral Art

I strapped snowshoes to my boots and looked out to the untouched expanse of snow blanketing the clearing before me. Fueled by fresh air and the excitement of a new endeavor, I started out toward the tree line to find a place to start my drawing. As I made my way, I thought about the massive snow works by the artist Simon Beck that inspired me to try this out.

When I first discovered Beck I was awestruck by the size and geometrical precision of his pieces. Eventually it was the ephemerality, physical exertion, and meditative aspects of the work that really kept me enthralled. I also felt a personal connection to this work that was utilizing a high alpine environment. I have always lived among snowy mountains and often find myself searching for a way to unite my art practice with my love of outdoor exploration and recreation.


My first attempt to use snow as a medium was invigorating and satisfying. I used a simple spiral design and kept the size very manageable. As I trudged along, a strong sense of purpose and commitment flooded my mind. There is something special about combining physical activity with creative and spiritual motivations.


My second snow drawing was a bit more planned out and utilized a lake bed at the end of a well trafficked trail. The spiral design allowed me to make the initial shape and then fall into a meditative rhythm into the center. It was exhausting, fulfilling, and satisfying.

This drawing practice created space for my mind and body to settle into the open place between action and passivity. After making the initial shape, there are no decisions or choices to make except the one to take the next step. This kind of clarity is hard to come by in our time of accessibility. Copious amounts of information, modes of transportation, lines of communication, and possessions are usually just a finger tap away. With so much opportunity, it's a struggle to orient myself around the few things that truly fulfill me. I am grateful to have discovered this method of combining my love of wilderness, contemplative meditation, and aesthetic endeavor.


I hope to create many more snow drawings and continue exploring an action based art practice.


Follow my process and discoveries on Instagram @evoke_yugen



©2020 by Sarah Rosenthal