A Winter Landscape

all images ©Bivenne Staiger

This was done as a demo yesterday – a cold day in late spring here – for my painting class, and this time it’s posted in start-to-finish sequence. First I added clean water in a large swath to the bottom half of the sky/distant trees space, right up to the hard edges of house and snow banks. I left the top dry. (Wet paper at the bottom and dry on top of this space ensures that the sky value will be darker at top and paler below.) Sky was painted quickly from top to bottom. While still wet, distant trees were added dry-on-wet, varying brown with yellow (Raw Umber, Naples Yellow), red (Brown Madder) and blue (Cerulean, Cobalt). I let brown paint bleed and the paper dry. As it dried, any hard edges covering tree trunks were pulled down .

all images ©Bivenne Staiger

To paint the road, I mixed a pale gray with the three primary colors described above. Very little water was used so that the brush was dry. Next, I randomly wet parts of the road shape with a smaller brush and applied the gray roughly and quickly, barely skimming the paper’s surface. You can see that the road appears smooth where the paper was wet.

all images ©Bivenne Staiger

Various shapes were added next. With fan and script brushes, deciduous trees are suggested. Cobalt in a tea- to coffee-consistency creates cast shadows from the trees across the snow banks and road, clearly defining their forms and indicating lighting direction. The house and its shrubs were also painted.

Winter Shadows, watercolor 12×16″ ©Bivenne Staiger 2020

Finally, dark shapes and details pull the painting together. The paint for the white pine’s foliage was pushed upward with a dry round brush practically parallel with the paper. A similar technique was used to paint the dark conifers left center and right, and then the interior filled in. You’ll note that some branches were scratched out of the wet paint at right. I did this as well in the distant tree line by wetting the dry, painted paper with clear water, and after about 20-30 seconds, scratched the paint away with a chiseled edge. A script brush was used to paint the thin twiggy branches especially at left.

2 thoughts on “A Winter Landscape

  1. Thanks, Bivenne, so glad you are doing this! I just resumed some watercolor painting last summer and then took a break this early spring to make masks. Your wordpress blog is getting my painting brain back in gear. Thanks so much AND stay well! -B

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