Most of us don't think much of snow: it's something to snowboard on, perhaps; fun for the kids, certainly, and usually a pain to shovel. But for British "snow artist" Simon Beck, it's a pure, clean canvas for stunning, large-scale works of art, made with his own two feet (shod with snowshoes, of course).
Massive Art in Fields of Snow
Mapping out Snow Patterns
Beck, who is an Oxford-educated engineer, and whose day job is orienteering and map-making (that would explain how he gets his stuff so precise over such a large area, sometimes up to six football fields), describes his creative process on his FAQ, which also involves some indoor computer work, making drawings and studying how to best get things done. He then hikes out to a chosen site, usually a fresh, flat piece of land that skiers usually forego due to the lack of slopes:
Stage 1 is measuring. Usually I work outwards from the center. Straight lines are made by using the compass and walking in a straight line towards a point in the distance, curves are made by judgement. Both require a lot of practice to get it good.
When the primary straight lines and curves have been made, points are measured along them using pace counting for distance measurement. Next, the secondary lines are added by joining the points determined by the above process. Usually I walk the lines three times to get them really good, if there is enough time. Lastly, the shaded areas are filled in.
Each of the works takes many hours of physical stamina and concentration to complete; they are truly "artistic and atheletic" works. Beck has been doing these works for more than a decade, and has just put out a book featuring over 200 photos of these magical works of wintery art. For more information, visit Snow Art Gallery.