Art That's Bold and Cold

When my fingers turned numb, I began to wonder if we’d tackled too large a project.

Granted, when you take your kids outside to build in the snow, you expect to get a bit cold. But we had been out for hours rolling, lifting and packing the frosty stuff and were still not close to finished. Especially now that we were working with Popsicles for fingers.

We could have just settled for a snowman, I thought, blowing on my bare hands, stiff gloves tucked under each arm. But no. We had to build a dragon.

It seemed an obvious choice. My boys and I had decided to do something bold, something more creative than the typical bottom-heavy snowguy. Our high school’s mascot is a Green Dragon. A no-brainer: a snow dragon it was.

And a big dragon it turned out to be. About a twelve-footer, from snout to tail. Under dusky skies, we put the finishing touches on and took pride in our accomplishment. The dragon crouched right in front of the house, a striking sight for the people in our town. We looked forward to getting their reactions.

It’s fun to experiment with snow sculptures. Not only do you and your kids get to express your own creativity, you pull neighbors into the experience. They get to enjoy your ideas. That’s a part of the essence of creating: sharing your vision with an audience. Even if your creativity is just putting a straw hat and sunglasses on a snowman. And even if the audience is just Mrs. Miller across the hedges.

(Now, half of those reading this, I know, don’t live where there is significant snowfall. For you – well, for everyone – I’ve found the ultimate artistic expression of winter sculpture. It’s a dazzler. For something of this scale, we’re all just spectators.)

So what did our neighbors say? A day or two later, one walked up to me and waggled a thumb at our sculpture. “I like your dinosaur,” he said.

Not bad. Wrong reptile, but the right result.

Bruce Van Patter

all material ©2005 Bruce Van Patter