Today, I painted another winter scene from Silverstar Ski Resort.
Normally I’m not so repetitive, and after a few “safe” easy paintings, I’ll usually pick something difficult to challenge myself.
But life’s been difficult enough lately. I don’t need any more challenges. Instead, I just want to paint what I’m passionate about, and right now, that happens to be skiing in British Columbia.
So bear with me while I post another ski painting.
Here’s the scene I picked. It’s from the part of the ski hill known as Attridge.
I choose this scene because I like the blue and white contrast, and the horizon tilting towards the middle. The ski tracks are off-center and seem to go right into the painting, giving a sense of depth. The trees are scraggly and irregular and also off-center. Overall I found the composition of this photo pleasing.
And here’s the actual painting:
The color palette was almost the same as last weeks’. Mostly cerulean blue for the sky and the snow shadows. The trees were Van Dyke brown, mixed with sap green, cobalt blue and Paynes grey.
I deliberately didn’t paint all the trees in the middle, because it would have looked like mud.
I also left out ski tracks on the bottom, because I wanted to emphasize the ski tracks going into the painting, and not the “busy” foreground.
To break up the dark green true hues, I followed my art teachers’ advice, and added a touch of alizarin crimson to the mix, to give a hint of reddish-brown.
One thing about painting snow, is to not be afraid to mix in a few colors. Here, you can see I added violet to the blue, as well as cadmium yellow to warm things up.
Another hint, to make things really jump out of the painting, is to make sharp edges on abrupt color changes.
For example, with the snow clumps:
As well as the edge of the tree-line:
Just when I thought I was finished, my teacher noticed the ski tracks stood out too much. They were overpowering the whole painting.
Soften one of the edges, he suggested.
So I used a wet brush to blur out the right-hand side, so that the blue and white were more blended together. I left the left hand side of each ski track as it was, with a sharp contrast between the blue and white.
The whole thing took me about 60 seconds to do, and it made all the difference in the world.
It’s amazing what these small changes can do.
And that’s one more trick I’ll be remembering for next time.