Meredith Moss Art

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Reflections on a Snowy Day

written by Meredith

April 10, 2024

Trash Can Assignment

Why paint trash cans? Well, my painting teacher told me to do it. And I try to be a good student, so I do what the teacher wants.

This assignment was designed to teach students that painting a lovely subject does not necessarily result in a beautiful painting. However, a painting with a strong composition and good lighting – regardless of the subject – can be a potential “wow!” painting.

Taking the Reference Photos

Knowing that the “Trash Can Assignment” would be my next painting, I’d been taking lots of photos for months attempting to find something that would both meet the needs of the assignment and excite me. Over nearly three months, I took more than a hundred photographs but found nothing inspirational.

And then there was this snowy morning on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. While walking Macy (our 2-year-old Tibetan Terrier), I noticed that the snow was reflecting the blue of the recycling bins amazingly. However, if you’ve ever tried taking photos when holding a dog leash, you know that the two activities don’t pair well. So, after Miss Macy finished her business, I went back outside to take more photos.

I was out there for about 45 minutes – walking uphill – in the snow. Okay, not quite that dramatic. Anyway, one of the last photos was taken at 9:44 a.m. just a few houses down from mine. I loved the repetition of the cans, the snow on top of them, the blue of the recycling bins, and, of course, the reflections in the wet asphalt.

After a few email discussions with my teacher, this is the image we agreed I should use for my trash can assignment. And, I was especially pleased that all that walking in the cold and snow was for a good reason.

Painting Materials

While my first oil painting (Locally Produced) was painted on stretched cotton canvas, this time I wanted to experiment with working on a panel. I wanted to try working on a linen, oil-primed panel, but I also needed to keep in mind that this was only my second oil painting, and it wasn’t going to be a masterpiece. This image is cropped to a 3:4 ratio, so I needed a painting surface with the same proportions. On Amazon, I found a 3-pack of 12” x 16” Centurion oil-primed linen panels for a very reasonable price and used one for this painting.

Painting Process

The traditional oil painting method is done with multiple layers. It’s a process of continual refinement of the image. This is more like the way that Rembrandt painted. And, it is different than the way Monet and the other Impressionists created their paintings.

When starting the painting, the first thing to do is to create an accurate drawing on the canvas.

The best way to explain this process is to show you. After every painting session, I photographed my progress. I’ve compiled the photos into a video so you can watch the painting evolve in under one minute.

Play video to see the one-minute painting progression.


Stay tuned! I haven’t yet picked a frame for this one.

Next Steps

Inspired by trash can paintings from dozens of students, Creative Brush Studio is planning a gallery show in September for the trash can paintings done through the years. I’ll keep you updated with the dates for that show.


2 comments on “Reflections on a Snowy Day

  • Deborah Fosso says:

    So Cool!! You are so focused!! And Talanted!
    I love the trash cans!! So creative,who would of thought of… a very talented artist!!!
    I someday want to paint. I have done acrylic paints on plaster figures. I ‘ve even did some free hand on ostrich eggs! Yup..didn’t keep any for myself, sold them all.
    I’ve always loved crafts. My grandma taught me alot of crafty things 🤎

    • Deb, thanks so much for kind comments. I’d love to see photos of your previous projects.

      I cannot take credit for idea of the trash cans as it was an assignment. However, I am working on a couple of basic drawing classes taught online. I’ll share them as they’re available. Hope you’ll be able to join us!

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