16 x 20 inches watercolour
This blog post has a winter theme, now that it's like about 85 degrees out. I couldn't seem to get to this painting until I'd thawed out from the winter chill, which was when the reference photo had been taken.
I'd recently been looking at some old painting books and decided to try out some of the techniques they suggested. A couple of watercolour books by Roland Roycraft especially caught my eye, “Fill Your Watercolors with Nature's Light” and “Fill Your Watercolors with Light and Color”. They featured a lot of snow scenes, and low and behold, I just happened to have a LOT of snow photos. I pulled up a shot of late afternoon snow and trees and began the set up. I lightly sketched in the trees with a watercolor pencil on a Crescent watercolor board, a very thick board covered with a medium smooth watercolor paper. Following Roland Roycraft's general technique I outlined the trees and the main foreground shadows with a liner misket covering the snow areas. Then I started to have fun.
His technique called for three successive watercolor washes to establish a sunlit glow. And I'm talking real washes! I mixed up three deep wells in a discarded plastic ice cube tray, one of lemon yellow, another of rose madder genuine, and a third one of cobalt blue. I sprayed water over the whole board to give the watercolor places to run and make the “glow” I was after.
I first poured the yellow on the tree shapes and foreground water, and let it dry a bit then poured on the rose madder genuine and let them both dry completely.
After those two washes were dry and room temp to the touch, I poured on the cobalt blue wash, and encouraged it to run on the trees and the foreground shadows. I also poured over the entire water area on the left, and a bit in the background trees. I then direct brushed some deeper blues, prussian, indigo,phthalo blue on the tree trunks and shadowed water areas. When most of the water had dried I direct brushed some burnt umber on the tree trunks only. THEN I let everything dry overnight.
The next day, I pulled off most of the misket and reapplied a bit more on the background trees and the foreground branches, and reapplied some more blues. After this dried I “lifted” (wet stiff brush over the darkest colors) some lighter tree trunk areas on the right hand tree/bush area, leaving the background darks for other branches.
All that remained was adjusting the different shadows, rubbing some out, and adding more shadows where needed.
I'd also used this technique for Jeeves the Glamour shot......
where I'd misketed over the bird outline then poured on the background tree trunks and branches.
This is a really fun technique and I anticipate exploring it further!