Painting Demonstration 1
A beautiful and rare snow day in northwest Georgia inspired me to sketch this tree. I love sketching the different seasons and light of trees in my backyard. I have to admit in the winter they're usually difficult to paint since the color and value contrast is much lower than during the high summer.
Hooray for snow! Winter trees become so much easier to paint, with dramatic shadows and lovely texture contrast. That gray bark turns almost golden next to blue violet snow shadows.
You need to try painting snowy trees if you can. They're so much fun to paint!
I begin lightly sketching the shadows in cobalt violet and cobalt blue. I want to keep it fairly wet so everything blurs together.
Painting Demonstration 2
I add a few strong darks in van dyke brown and cobalt violet, leaving lots of holes for white space. I'm still blurring everything a bit, letting it flow.
Painting Demonstration 3
I have some fun with splatter and dashing in a few distant tree trunks. I keep the distance pale in this wash.
I add a little more drybrush texture to the tree trunk. I want it very craggy, but in several layers.
I'm not waiting for paint to dry in between layers, just moving around the painting and letting it partially dry behind me.
Artist TipsA dash of splattering paint or water helps you to relax and have fun painting. It's not white pristine paper anymore!
Painting Demonstration 4
I add very soft nickel azo yellow and cobalt violet to the tree trunk. I think scuffle in a little texture with dry brush.
Painting Demonstration 5
I darken the background to show the long shadows behind the tree. I also darken a few more of the nearer tree trunks.
Painting Demonstration 6
And I decide the background needs to be even darker. I also add a few more distant trunks to help with the sense of distance.
Painting Demonstration 7
I add some more warm colors in the distance, like lights hitting the distance snow.
I start to redefine the near shadows, keeping the warm edge and cool edge.
As a finishing touch, I add a little white gouache drybrush for the frosting of snow on the trunk bottom. Gouache is perfect for this, since the snow sits on the surface of the tree, just sparkling.
I had a lot of fun this snow day and a lot of fun with the watercolor sketch! I hope this inspires you to paint a snowy day of your own. Or if you're near hot white beaches right now, use some of the same techniques for shadows!
Painting a little sketch doesn't have to take hours, it can just take a few minutes.
Welcome to Everyday Painting!
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