I went to Pixabay looking for snow and shadows and cold weather. The painting is of the photo below, done in gouache, 7×10.
The challenge here is depth of field – details – not too many details – simplification – and most fun of all, the shadows on the snow. I really enjoyed looking at the photo, imagining myself in it, and wondering where it is I am. In the photo, the white snow on the bare tree branches is really easy to see, but with gouache I always find my whites are never bright enough. Always interesting to compare a photo to a painting!
If you have been following me for a bit, you know that I have enrolled in a lot of painting classes. This is a study from my watercolor class, online with Andy Evansen. His work covers a lot of subjects, but I like his ones of the natural world the best. So, lazy me, I stick with his photos of the wilds, but will, at some point, take the dive and do something with buildings and people, and maybe even cars.
I used frisket to create the hard edges of the birch trees and the snowy areas of the logs in the foreground. The other white areas, the snow, is plain paper, no frisket. After the frisket dried, I did the sky, sunlit mountain, and dark background. Then, a bit of the foreground. Finally, the frisket was removed.
When the frisket was gone, I worked left to right, creating the shadows of the birch trees. Upon those shapes I added heavier paint to create the blacks characteristic of birch trunks. Various other details got worked in. White gouache came in handy to clean up some of the birch tree trunks as well as to create the fine branches of the trees toward the top of the painting.
The only thing I have some issues with is the very large birch tree on the right, the one which stretches top to bottom. It is not quite right, but that is something for correcting later on. Despite that, I am pleased with what I am learning, and creating, with all these classes. Painting and drawing and artwork is in the forefront of my mind these days, and it is beginning to show in more “successful” paintings from my viewpoint.
9×12 CP 140# Arches paper; primarily watercolor with a touch or two of gouache. (Maybe 3 or 4 or more….)
I am beginning to lose track of the days since I began this project since some days I do nothing, and other days I do a few.
Above is Day 14. Continuing to simplify shapes and masses into values, the above should represent a mountain in the distance. From there, mid-ground is a dark ridge before the mountain, and another to the right of the mountain, behind the mountain itself. The white blobs in the foreground area with sticks is supposed to represent structures. To me, they look like felled timber. Ideally, I think the mountain itself should be lighter to represent atmospheric perspective.
This is an attempt at a nocturne – a night time value study to see if I could catch the light of the full moon. The bush-like thing in the middle needs some lightening at the top. Overall, I like this as a start to something even though it is so vague – but that is how night is!
This is a view upward to the hill at the center of the local botanical garden. The white swath in the right foreground is the sand trail which winds around downward (behind the viewer) into the riparian woodland below.
I am not quite sure if I like the values as I have them set up here – nor am I really sure about the focal point of the drawing. It seems the dark tree at the top is too dark, but it could be a leading line down the hill to the tree with the cast shadow. The trail leads the eye. In a painting, this could work out with warm and cool tones in addition to values. Maybe I’ll give it a shot!
With Day 13 I tried to make my masses more simple and graphic. I am continuing this, and will for the rest of the 30 day challenge.
Some studies lend themselves to it more readily than others. Despite that, I tried to simplify in all three. Doing this makes Roberts’ admonition to “draw shapes, not things” easier to do. Distilling the more important – most important – into value masses seems to be happening (at long last!).
Again, it will be interesting to see where it works with painting.
Yesterday was a watercolor day! I warmed up with a copy of Wesson’s painting, and then moved on to more water. I am not intimidated by water in the form of lakes or streams, but do need to learn how to do oceans and waves and white caps. I am trying to get a grip on reflections and how water and reflections interact. I think reflections appear longer when the sun is behind you rather than in front of you, like shadows.
Here, a mountain and a lake, with some very deep shadows. The distant mountain is quite bland to my eyes and would like to liven it up with deeper greens and richer browns. I didn’t. I tried to keep it more simple than the actual photo. I did to a point.
I think most painters will always find faults as they know, as they paint, what challenged them while they painted and what their vision was, versus what they put down. My life.
It’s chilly here with rains to begin at midnight. Snow is on the mountains outside the valleys around me. I miss the smell of a winter of snow and pine, in the eastern woods, Rockies, high desert. This is a simple morning sketch, iron gall ink, a water brush, some watercolor to recall the wonder of a mountain winter.
I have to admit, I am on a winter kick. Cold, chill. And loneliness. I don’t tend to paint or photograph people or civilization, but as far as painting goes, I need to get into painting them. I’m doing okay with moving inland water. But buildings, people, and oceans leave me baffled for now.
So, the open spaces of the flatlands between mountain ranges. Harsh weather, blasted heaths, winter and wild weather. The hint of spring.
Inktober continues apace, but I have been going 100 mph for the past week. No time to focus on a theme. This morning, though, I thought about cold mountains and winter – where I live, it’s in the mid-80s to low-90s, and I could use a bit of blustery weather.
Here is a mountain – inky for Inktober
And here is the same scene, in cold and wintry colors.
I used to do a lot of Chinese painting, and I tried to incorporate the clouds in a rather Chinese-painting fashion, in ink and watercolor. Hints, not direct; subtlety rather than blatant. I’m not sure if it worked for the clouds between the mountains, but I definitely like the chilliness and fogginess of the scene overall.
One nice thing about working in only two colors, you don’t get mud. You get dark colors. You get light colors. You get medium colors. I find that this is actually harder to do, in some ways, and easier, too. Harder because I have to decide on value (light, dark) and which direction to push the color (blue, brown). It’s easier as the decisions of color are already made for you (me, the painter!). Here I have limited my palette to Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber, as in the earlier studies from Ted Kautzky I did last week.
After looking at the scan, I realize that some of my darker trees in the foreground sort of float in space! The lighting at present makes it hard to see, but I will probably go back and correct it later on.