7.5 x 11 inches on 300lb rough watercolour paper
Various watercolor brands, acrylic paint, colored pencils
with a touch of red gouche for mitten stripes
I started this illustration right after finishing WinterGlow. I wanted another shot at pouring on tree trunks and snow shadows. I didn't really have a composition in mind, but figured I'd see where this went. I quickly “sketched” off a tree trunk and the snow portion of the shadows in misket (laytex rubber liquid mask quickly applied with a wooden stirrer), let it dry then poured a blue mix (phthalo,dk. cobalt and a bit of purple)over the tree trunk, and continued pouring on down to the snow shadows with cobalt only.
After this had dried I pulled off the misket lines and found I'd let a bit of the wash drift over into the sky.......but I kinda like the “wood cut” look this “watercolour oopsie” left. I marked out a horizon line in more dots and daubs of misket and laid in some warm pastels, yellows, rose madder genuine with just a touch of cobalt in a very wet wash for a background line of trees.
I went back in to the snow shadows and decided to “soften” the hard edges left with the misket, so I took a stencil brush (a very short stiff bristle brush) and with clear water rubbed the paper to remove some of the hard edged watercolors. During this I noticed that a little patch of misket had taken a bit of my watercolour paper up when I'd removed it. Oooopsie! So I drew in a few lines for branches and made it into a snow covered bush.
I decided that I wanted a little boy standing on the left to balance out the composition, and that he needed to be dressed in a warm colour (pun intended). Warm clothes, yes! since he's out in the snow, but also a warm colour, red in this case. I wanted a warm colour to balance the cool blues elsewhere in the picture. I then turned my attention to the snow around the yet to be drawn in little boy's feet. I wanted to show the roughed up snow that the little boy's boots had kicked up, but all that was there was poured blues. Oopsie! So I drug out my handy white acrylic paints and smudged in a bunch of snow over the watercolour. The acrylic paint often won't quite cover a dark colour underneath.....which in this case was a definite plus. It made the snow just that more believable. Since I had the white acrylic out, I went ahead and put a bit of “snow” on the oooopsie bush.
Now I decided what I was going to use for the little boy. I'd found a really old family snapshot of a little one looking down at his feet. He was all bundled up in snow gear. This little one would compositionally “connect” the snow shadows and the background trees. I sketched him in in watercolours and added some textures in with coloured pencils. I just indicated his face and hair without too many details. But I still needed some reason for him to be looking down. I settled on a lost mitten that he'd found. The mitten really needed to stand out, so I grabbed a tube of red gouche that I knew had a lot of “kick” in the color department. I finished the mitten and called it done!