Having just come back from vacation, I’m still in ski mode, and decided to paint one of my favorite photos from my trip:
Here’s what I ended up with tonight:
The first thing I did was the sky. A wet wash of cadmium yellow, violet (phtalo purple) and cerulean blue.
Then I did the mountains, starting with the dark shadows of snow. Again, with violet, cerulean blue, and maybe a touch of ultramarine and/or Paynes grey.
Then I started the rocks, starting with the larger ones as frames of reference, and painting the smaller ones around them. They’re almost all the same dark shade. I get my “black” from a mix of Van Dyke brown and Payne’s Grey. I deliberately mixed up the rocks so they have random dark brown/black shades.
Whenever I got bored with the rocks, I worked on the foreground, adding layers of purple/blue and gradually making it darker.
Then I would add the final dark snow shadows on the mountain, and then lift some of the foreground out to lighten the color and add some texture to it.
I did a lot of lifting and re-painting the foreground. If you want to do this, it’s important to have a rugged strong sheet of watercolor paper that can take kind of treatment.
I recommend the 300-lb Arches. It’s “bullet-proof”, you can use it and abuse it, and it doesn’t buckle or degrade. Not like the cheap watercolor paper I see a lot of beginners use.
Of course, it’s 12 bucks a sheet and when I tell this to people they say “Oooh, that’s expensive!“.
(Oh, for crying out loud.) You can cut a sheet into four, and make four paintings like the one I did here.
That’s 3 bucks for an evenings’ worth of entertainment. I think most people can afford that.
Boggles my mind, why people will invest so much time into a hobby like watercolors, but they’ll scrimp and save a few bucks on sub-par art supplies that will only frustrate them. But I digress here.
As a final touch to my painting, I added a hint of cadmium yellow/yellow ochre to the white highlights to warm up the paining. Using artist licence, I added a skier (a small blob) to the foreground in the middle/right, to give a sense of depth.
The one thing I’m not crazy about is the bottom right hand corner. In the photo, this section is featureless. I tried to make it interesting by lifting some of the paint and adding some shadows. But I’m not sure if I like what I’ve done here.
If you notice, the painting is a lot more “warmer” (i.e. purple/yellow) than the original. Part of the reason for this, is that I did the painting based on a print-out from a laser printer on plain Xerox paper. The true winter white/bluish colors weren’t accurately reproduced, and this is all I had to go by.
Next time, I’ll print this out on photo paper instead.
Overall, I give myself a B-Plus on this one.
I’m not displeased, but I know I can do better.
Call this one a “study”.
I want to re-do it in the near future.