The figure is set against a muted background of soft pinks and whites that blend seamlessly together, providing a sense of calm and serenity. The color scheme and the title of the piece may allude to the unexpected nature of a snowfall in April, where the starkness of snow is tempered by the warm promise of spring.
The shroud over the figure is detailed with subtle variations in hue and value, from deep, shadowy creases to highlights that seem to suggest a source of light illuminating the form from above. This light creates a delicate interplay of light and shadow across the surface of the fabric, enhancing the three-dimensional effect.
There is an element of mystery in the composition, as the figure's features are obscured, inviting viewers to ponder the identity of the subject or the symbolism behind the shroud. The title 'My Friend, April Snow' suggests a personal narrative or relationship between the artist and the subject, perhaps referencing themes of transformation, concealment, or revelation.
Overall, the painting strikes a balance between representational art and abstract emotional expression, using the figure's posture, the tactile quality of the drapery, and the atmospheric background to convey a mood that is contemplative and introspective.
MICHAEL PRETTYMAN is a contemporary artist and scholar of comparative religion. He has been a maker his entire life. He is permanently at home in his work, creating a sprawling body of paintings, essays and lectures that bring together his interests in contemporary representational painting within the corpus of world wisdom texts and ideas found in cross-cultural eschatological traditions. Michael’s art practice is concerned with postmodern iterations of classic representational painting as informed by esoteric spiritual practice and study. He pursues his material practice as a meditation, whether it is in drawing, painting or sculpture. He has trained in classical drawing, painting and sculpture at The School of Visual Art, the New York Academy of Art and received advanced instruction in thangka painting at the Tsering School of Art in Kathmandu, Nepal. He has studied Tibetan Buddhist meditation and thangka painting in India, Nepal and in monasteries in Massachusetts and New York. He has a master’s degree in theology from the Harvard Divinity School. He has exhibited drawings and paintings in New York, Hong Kong, Barcelona and Almaty, Kazakhstan.
He has permanent mural installations in the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Botanical Gardens, The Bronx Zoo, and St. John’s Church. Michael teaches Religion and the Visual Arts at Hunter College in New York City, and lectures widely on creativity, spiritual practice, mysticism and ideas of the divine. He is currently working on a book about creativity and spiritual practice, as well as body of paintings addressing the Anthropocene Sublime. He lives and works in New York City.