Winter's Breath

"Winter's Breath" is a 21x27 pastel on Uart sanded paper. I started planning Winter's Breath following a late November hike in Marsh View Meadow Park in Pittsfield Township, MI.


Below is the photo, with the original on the left and the saturated version on the right. I chose a rather limited palette, focusing on analogous colors in the purple and blue range. The snow was not as heavy as that depicted in the final painting. Artist's license! Truthfully, we artists move trees, shrubs, rocks, you name it, to help unify the composition. The photograph is for reference only!

My sketch works out the composition and various notes regarding lighting, color, highlights. The stream allowed me to convey an "s-curve" composition, and the placement of the trees eased the viewer's gaze up along the riverbed to the aura of daylight at the end of the stream. Planning a painting this way saves time and helps to avoid errors later on in the painting process. It's no fun gazing at a piece of art in progress and wondering "what is wrong with this painting?" Planning ahead can avoid this conundrum.

Winter's Breath includes an underpainting of watercolor, roughly representing the true colors of the painting. Often I will use an underpainting of the complementary colors to help the final colors become more vibrant. Check back soon for a newly-started snowscape that uses orange watercolor beneath the cool blues of the shady snow.

Here is the final version of Winter's Breath:

Notice that the placement of the trees, the highlights in the snow and the stream draw the eye toward the top center where the daylight is shining through the hazy distance. There is also a circular pattern visible from the long shadow of the tree on the upper left, continuing with its reflection in the water and the curved branch on the ground in the lower center of the painting, then up to the right in the darker shade of the snow bank. Techniques like this allow the artist to draw attention to patterns and the focal point in their artwork.


I hope yo have enjoyed this short overview of Winter's Breath! I recently setup a Google page with blogs and paintings and I would enjoy any comments and reviews if you would like to leave one. Click here for the Google review page.




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