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Pastel Technique - Watercolor Underpainting

Here's the latest version of "Ski Tracks."

The composition is established to invite the viewer to follow the tracks toward the horizon. It needed an object in the foreground on the left side to help balance out the design: to do that, I created the leftmost track that heads off to the lower left corner of the painting.

The yellow glow of the underpainting can be seen in the snow; much of that will remain, maintaining the "glow" theme of the painting.

Original Post:

While cross-country skiing in Rolling Meadows Park east of Saline, MI., on the one day we had decent snow, in December, I came across a "tunnel" of trees reaching over a set of ski tracks. I grabbed my Canon SLR and photographed the scene (before traversing the same tracks).

I decided to do a watercolor underpainting, which helped me visualize the various shades and colors of this unique vista.

As for the digital photo, I decided to make several versions from the original I took on my venture. Here is the original:

I then adjusted the color to a fully-saturated version, and hidden colors began to show, including warm yellow-greens (leaves from the prior summer that simply hung on despite the winter, and the blues of the snow::

Another version of the photo was adjusted to show the blues more prominently:

Notice how the clumps of snow in the trees are more pronounced. Finally, I thought I would create a mystical version of the ski tracks scene:

This ethereal view emphasizes the warm glow of the sunshine and helps to define the variety of hues in the snow.

The purpose of this variety of digital impressions is to convey the key features of the landscape and to encourage me to apply my artist's license, my sole interpretation, of the scene.

Come back and see how the pastel painting "Ski Tracks" evolves.

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