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Color in Winter

When winter takes over the sky here, it’s hard to remember that for most people, Provincetown is a summer place. The winter sky is altogether different of course, silvery mostly, and thick with shadowy mist. The sun setting over the roofs on Bradford Street are less vivid than they are in the summer, until they aren’t. Purples and pinks flame even more brightly than they do in the summer, burning out into the gray, gray sky. There are other flashes of color in the winter town as well – a bright red fire hydrant, aqua lawn chairs, bright buoys hanging on a shack – that seem somehow to make noise in the silence. I love all the seasons in Provincetown, but I think I can say I like the contrast of color in winter the best. Bright, unexpected colors against the muted brown of bare trees and minky skies make for wonderful palettes of color. Think of John Singer Sargent’s elegant taupe’s with gold or magenta. Or Pontormo’s mannerist palette of extremes – pistachio green, lapis blue, sepia brown. Many of the best winter paintings of Provincetown record similarly colored views of the town. Even Miro’s primary palette of red, yellow and blue – hardly winter colors – look their best on a blustery Provincetown afternoon.

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