A winter landscape

A winter landscape

Hello again, so we have got through another week. I hope you survived this week's storms , not really what we needed on top of everything else around at the moment.

Still trying to enjoy things day to day , been walking and watching the birds in the feeder , the other day the long tailed tits were having a right old feast...

Then after a dreary day the world can still surprise you with a lovely sky just before sunset. I just think we need to take whatever we can just now that makes us happy.

I must admit I sometimes can't think what to show you in my blog, I don't want to bore you too with many  repetitions , but then I thought it has been a long time since I did a landscape. And when I started painting I realised IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE I DID A LANDSCAPE....so here it is, warts and all, the trials and tribulations of my latest piece. 

It might be surprising for some of you to discover that I never ever set out to paint wildlife, like most things we do in life I just fell into it. Just as I was starting , venturing tentatively to show my work at a local craft fayre , a woman asked me if I had ever painted a hare....the rest as they say is history. But my first  love was landscapes, and they are a good place to start. 

No one can tell you that a tree is not perfect, or a hill , or a stone, they are more forgiving than hares or elephants! So I shall endeavour in this blog to take you step by step into a winter landscape from Dartmoor, part imagination part photo. 

Before you do anything , think! What do I want the viewer to look at, where is the focal point.

In this case it is the knarly old hawthorn tree in the fore ground

Then think about your horizon line, they tend to sit better either a third of the way up or two thirds of the way up, not in the middle. But it is your painting so you can do what you want. The focal point is also best placed to one side or the other, rather than the middle.

Now think about the sky.

I want a warm wintry sky.

I turn the board upside down and paint it with clear water, to produce a wet in wet sky.

Then I use yellow ochre nearest the horizon 

Then I mix a purply hue, with cad red and cobalt blue. 

My paper is still very wet and the board is still upside down. Let the paint run and produce it's own patterns. But remember the shapes of clouds and that they get smaller towards the horizon.

Here it is the right  way up I have added cerulean blue to the top and left it to dry. I am always planning my next step and I want the trunk of the tree to be the main focus so I have decided to mask it out. You could leave it and paint around it but I have made my decision.

So before...



and after....

I use a tool called a colour shaper to apply the masking fluid

As you can see it has a flexible silicone end, and I use winsor and newton masking fluid.




You want to push these distant hills far into the background.

Now we are moving forward.

So the next part of the landscape is on the right. Starting again with yellow ochre I dropped greens and blues into it.


Then move to the left and the colours can get deeper the closer forward you come.

Using yellows and greens with a touch of red in them.

Now we are in the field behind the tree. so the colours can brighten up again, I am feeling my way through the landscape, and making decisions all the time. You will find that sometimes they are better than others . Keep trying new things and seeing what happens. If you like the effect keep it if you don't try something different next time.

Once all the paint is completely dry you can rub off your masking fluid, 

I use a very soft eraser.

Now to paint the tree, very carefully, looking for the shadows. I used yellow ochre then a darker brown, like burn umber and finally sepia. 

Now to admit my struggles, I struggled with whether to put leaves on the tree, and ended up spraying them off with a water bottle, and I struggled a bit with the foreground. Nothing is ever as simple as you hope it will be, and it was a good reminder that I am out of practice with landscapes. I almost didn't show you this one. But as an artist I know  what it is to be frustrated, to struggle when things don't go well. Keep stepping back and have a look where it jars .

I used some cling wrap to add texture to the rocks.

Then I needed to add some foreground, be as random as you can and add hits at grasses and foliage, 

 I also added a flurry of a first snowfall. It seemed to work well and add a bit of lightness to the scene.


 And so there it is a winter landscape, up on Dartmoor somewhere , and the struggles of a watercolour artist thrown in. Have a go, keep it simple and see what happens....good luck x


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1 comment

I’ve been in a slump. Haven’t painted in a long while. I’ve taken lots of photos that I want to paint but just haven’t got started. You do inspire me!

Susie Krause

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