Image of the Month “Snow Orchard” by Ruth Baron Ezra SGFA


“Snow Orchard”, 187 x 132mm, Ruth Baron Ezra SGFA.

The graphic qualities of snow-covered landscapes have always fascinated me. Clarity and detail appear sharpened when tonal polarities of intense whiteness and darkness sit side by side.

When I was studying at Wall Hall College I would often take a walk in the college grounds, clear my head, ready to tackle another essay perhaps. During all of the seasons the scenery around the college was incredibly varied. I would sketch and take photographs throughout the year in the orchards, the woodlands, open fields or Italian Garden. Like a number of teacher training campuses at that time in the 1970s, Wall Hall College had been built and expanded around a former country house in Hertfordshire, along with the estate’s wonderful gardens and surroundings.

Many years later, looking through old photos I came across some rather dog-eared images of the orchards blanketed in snow, and one immaculately dark and light image with not a footprint to be seen anywhere – on the day that I took the photo, I had definitely got there first! Looking at that photo once again, even in its forlorn state, it seemed a classic image and one that would lend itself beautifully to a black and white drawing – I was surprised I hadn’t used it years ago.

In the pencil drawing you see above, the density of tiny branches in the upper part has been deliberately filled out to the top in order to give greater contrast between the whiteness of the snow in the foreground and the almost total darkness of the trees above. In between lies the random spread of spidery, snow laden branches. I tried to give a sense of depth, as if the orchard just carries on endlessly into the distance.

Many other snowy and frosty subjects have caught my eye over the years – a snow covered pile of logs in the garden, icicles hanging from the edge of a thatched roof, different types of tracks left in the snow, hoar frost clinging to a tree and so white and crisp it looks like snow.

Perhaps this winter will make for some great snowy or frosty scenes…… who knows?




Profile of the Artist: Ruth Baron Ezra SGFA

RuthBaronEzraRuth lives and works in Test Valley in Hampshire. She creates finely worked graphite drawings, many of them reminiscent of etchings and illustrations. She loves to get into the detail of myriad subjects from nature, and natural forms. She enjoys exploring the shapes, contours and textures but most of all the tonal ranges in those subjects, highlighting the striking qualities of dark pitched against light. Sometimes the material is rendered in her own stylised way, resulting in strong elements of pattern and design.

More recently, Ruth’s art has been inspired by tropical plants and visits to botanic gardens during a number of trips abroad to Australia, Singapore, Israel and Peru. Closer to home she has enjoyed the wonderful attractions at Kew Gardens, the Eden Project, Cornwall, and oddly enough a local lavender garden with tropical plants. What appeals to her are the boldness and solidity of tropical plant shapes and masses, and the strong contours. Again, she particularly enjoys the contrasts made by intense sunlight, and darker, more shadowy areas, not forgetting those areas that reveal more subtle, intermediate tones.

Ruth studied Art and Design for a B.Ed (Hons) at Wall Hall College, Hertfordshire in the 1970s specialising in drawing and painting. During the 1980s she had a number of teaching jobs in the London area, always using art widely in her teaching. In the early 1990s Ruth gained an MA in Art History of the Modern Period from Goldsmith’s College, University of London. She taught history of Art during the 1990s, running a variety of courses for Artscope and at Adult Learning Centres in Kent. She has also written on art, and helped in setting up the Turner Centre project, now Turner Contemporary in Margate,  where she provided the initial research on Turner’s connections with Margate.

For the last twelve years, Ruth has returned to her distinctive and intricate style of drawing that she first crafted back in the 1970s.

Ruth has exhibited in venues and galleries across the South of England, including the Oxmarket Chichester, Southampton City Art Gallery, Salisbury Playhouse, Project Workshops Quarley, the Allen Gallery Alton, Weyhill Gallery, Hackwood Arts Festival, and Sir Harold Hilliers Gardens, Hampshire. A number of Ruth’s works are held in the Hampshire County Museums Fine Art collection.

For the last ten years she has exhibited with 4Seasons Artists for all of the Spring season at the Five Arrows Gallery, sited within Exbury Gardens, Hampshire, and famous for the Rothschild collection of azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and rare trees.

Ruth was elected to the SGFA in May 2011 and has exhibited with them at Ilminster Arts Centre, R K Burt, Barbican, Menier and Bankside galleries, London.

avitarCharlie Kirkham SGFA is Editor of the Society of Graphic Fine Art Journal and a contributing writer. Charlie’s studio is based in London where she draws and paints. For more information please see

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37 Responses to Image of the Month “Snow Orchard” by Ruth Baron Ezra SGFA

  1. Christopher Woodley says:

    As I live on the Weald of Kent – the county’s “fruit-belt” – that image immediately strikes a rich and sonorous chord. I don’t know if such a scene is still to be had in Hertfordshire but from the vantage-point of a village on the edge of Tunbridge Wells it is evocative of a feature of a landscape that is as varied in its character as is the season it illustrates. Snow-covered orchards in this corner of England are, these days, to be seen less-frequently than they were thirty years ago – so such an image could serve as an historical document. It also bears witness to the changes in arable farming; the variety of trees it features has, in many places, given way to “dwarf” plants that are easier to harvest. These musings aside, what is captivating about Ruth’s work is the brooding beauty of its stillness – a quality realizable only by one who has been the first to witness the scene, and who has the sureness of technique to make it so. Bravo!

  2. These are very inspiring drawings.

  3. Melissa says:

    Pencil? That’s amazing. I thought it was an etching. Just beautiful

  4. As a nature photographer I often find a distinct peacefulness and uncomplicated joy in capturing scenes in winter. The snow provides a warmth that is indescribable, and it’s ability to protect everything underneath until it’s ready to be seen again is quite lovely. To be the first upon a scene that no one else has stumbled across brings a great joy to the senses and food for the soul.

  5. miuverthon says:

    This is absolutely gorgeous. I’m from Kentucky, and one of my favorite things about it was that it turned into a wonderland during the winter. This art makes me feel like I’m home again.

  6. iballrtw says:

    I grew up in the country. It was most beautiful on the days it snowed, before humans left their tracks, while animal and bird tracks added charm. These photographs and drawings remind me of that happy, gentler time.

  7. MaluvzlaBlog says:

    Beautiful image, it brings me peace.

  8. evieflorist says:

    Absolutely beautiful

  9. valorvitae says:

    I found your writing to be helpful, and I think your drawings are gorgeous. I should practice more with winter scenes. Thank you!

  10. mukhamani says:

    The pencil drawing is so beautiful, before reaching the end, I thought it was a photograph. Regards.

  11. silverlining says:

    this is such a beautiful peace! 🙂

  12. Kah Choon says:

    Master piece of art! Thanks sharing.

  13. Beautiful drawings. I recently moved to upstate NY from central Arizona, my birthplace. I’ve been waiting impatiently for nature to deliver the scenes your art portrays. All the pieces are stunning and calm my anxious heart right down.

  14. So…this is a drawing? That’s amazing. For me, coming from a tropical country, the sense of peace snow provides is unique, it’s alien. And it also gives a sense of nostalgia. For us, the mere thought of ever having the chance of walking in snow is peculiar, to the point in which we have “snow machines” in the christmas season. I loved your description.

  15. futhishi says:

    I loved “Ice Daggers”, the pictures with trees remind me the human veins. nature always remind me the essence of human, actually I want to return to the wild and it makes me sad a little

  16. Lisa Kraft says:

    I’m absolutely delighted to discover this journal. I’d never heard of the SGFA before (obviously not an artist), but now I’m a fan. The art is amazing!

  17. I know as much about fine art as the next person, but this is something amazing and surreal. The beauty lies in the still starkness of the snow but also in the inviting yet forlorn branches of the trees.

  18. This drawing is absolutely beautiful!

  19. This is a fascinating post. I might have read the entire post without taking a breath. I thought that the pencil drawing was a photograph. The detail in contrast and the clarity the images are amazing. I had no idea that so much beauty could be captured with only a pencil. I too have fond memories of my days in college. While attending a small liberal arts college in upstate New York, I often arrived first at beautiful snowy scenes. Impressive is the best word that describes your post.

  20. johnrubens says:

    Thanks for the photo, certainly “strikes a rich and sonorous chord.”

  21. Nadir Hashmi says:

    This is so simple, and yet so beautiful at the same time. Just black and white, and a peaceful winter moment is what it seems to signify.

    But I have to say, I find it hard to envision how to go about sketching the spidery branches. That appears to be the most complex part of the whole sketch. I feel curious about that part of the process.

    Altogether, a really serene sketch.

  22. Whoa…the snow images that she draws are hypnotic. I just get lost in them. I have great admiration for the skill with graphite shown by Ruth Baron Ezra SGFA. Much praise for this amazing artist. I can only dream of becoming as skilled as she is one day.

  23. lifeinasinglepicture says:

    Beautiful. No other words to describe it .

  24. Suvarna... says:

    Very Pretty drawings…. And very well written too…

  25. thompsonmade says:

    As a Mainer, I get to appreciate a lot of snowflakes and snowy landscapes each year. At first, I didn’t realize that this was a drawing. It’s so beautiful!

  26. bettyjj22 says:

    Beautiful drawings

  27. sandraleehr says:

    Simply wow.. now words to define the beauty …thanks for sharing the beauty .

  28. My God these are incredible!

  29. Tieme Pool says:

    The drawings are amazing! But the first one is my favourite.

    Snowy winter scenes are intriguing indeed. Particularly if you use the contrast, lines, and covered landscape to good use. Something which is perfectly done in the first drawing.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Warm regards,

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