Monday Night Art Class: The North Bowl of Revelstoke

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.


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4 Comments on “Monday Night Art Class: The North Bowl of Revelstoke”

  1. michaelpgoad Says:

    Better than I can do. I haven’t even tried to paint anything other than a wall in almost 40 years. Never was any good to begin with.

    One of my retiree friends, Bill Garrison, and his wife were the first artists in residence at Buffalo National River. He also did it at Glacier National Park. He sometimes does workshops, but I’ve never been interested enough.

    Before he retired, he was a procedure writer working out of a cubicle.

    There is life after the cubicle…

  2. peefer Says:

    I really like this! The sharpness between the mountain ridge and the sky is exceptional. And I LIKE the warmer-than-life colour palette you used. I’m reminded of your black-and-white study of a black-and-white astronaut. (Fryar didn’t abide by the teacher’s game!) This is like opposite—adding colour where none was.

    If you hadn’t mentioned the bottom-right, I wouldn’t have noticed. Now it pisses me off.

    And tracks! Skier tracks in the top bowl. Nice touch!

    Can you tell I’m pleased? Maddox like this too, and give you an F+.

  3. Dale Says:

    You are such a talent, Friar. I love your artwork. You paint what you love, and it is always beautiful.

    I hope you had a wonderful time in Revelstoke.



  4. Friar Says:

    That gives me hope…to see a former cubicle worker and what he’s accomplishing now.

    Yeah..dammit. I HAD to tell you about the bottom right corner. (I am my own worst critic). Maybe I should have shut my mouth.

    You should read my post before this one. I had at least as good of a time as I had with you and Friar’s Mom last year.

    Now that I know where to go, I’d dying to show you some of my favorite spots. (With moguls and the kind of untracked snow you love so much). Hopefully next time I’m down, all of us can swing another day-trip there.

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