Painting a WINTER LANDSCAPE outdoors
I painted this two years ago after we have had some wintery weather in southern New Zealand with snow and ice in the Wakatipu Basin near Queenstown.
I had been working outside all day surveying trees but as soon as I finished I had about an hour and a half to paint before the light disappeared so I had to be quick.
This is what I painted and I will show you the process of how I created this art work.
'Arrow Junction, New Zealand, 8" x 10", oil on canvas panel, painted outdoors en plein air.
This is the view I painted, the location is Arrow Junction near Queenstown. It was really unfavourable conditions for painting but I wanted to capture the bleak wintery atmosphere from the spell of cold weather we are having.
There was no direct sunlight in this landscape view as the weather was bad, so in order to bring atmosphere and interest to my painting I had to make sure my colours and tones were spot on.
I set up my Strada painting easel and got to work, I had to work quickly as it was starting to rain.
The colours I used to create this painting included:
- Titanium white
- Burnt sienna
- Yellow oxide
- Cadmium yellow
- Cadmium orange
- Perylene crimson
- Ultramarine blue
- Phthalo green
I sketch out the composition with burnt sienna.
There was no messing about here, I really had to be quick as it was starting to rain and I didn't have much daylight left. I had my umbrella over my easel to keep my painting dry.
I started by painting the mountains, you couldn't see the summits because it was shrouded in cloud and was obviously snowing in the distance.
I mixed the colours with a combination of ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, perylene crimson and titanium white.
At this stage of the painting I needed to figure out what my darkest tones are in the landscape, in this case it was the willows and conifers trees. There wasn't that much vibrant colour but that didn't matter, so long as it looked organic and natural.
I mixed the grass in the distance with ultramarine blue, yellow oxide, cadmium yellow, burnt sienna and titanium white.
The hues for the willow trees I mixed with ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, perylene crimson and a tiny amount of titanium white, basically the same colours I used in the mountains. I conscious to use common colours throughout the painting for cohesiveness and harmony.
Next I mix the colours for the grasses and patchy snow in the foreground. I paint the grass using a varying mixture of ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, yellow oxide, burnt sienna and titanium white. In places I increase the saturation of the colour by adding a little phthalo green.
I paint the snow which given that the overcast weather conditions means it's in shadow so I can't use pure titanium white. I add a little ultramarine blue, burnt sienna and perylene crimson to reduce the tone of the snow.
Here I add more detail and texture to the grass and add some darker tone with my green mix but this time using much less titanium white.
Next I start painting the stems and branches of the willow trees in the mid ground, I mix a dark hue using ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.
By this point in the painting the weather was turning to crap with icy rain and my fingers were getting cold. You can see the rain drops that have landed on my painting.
I decided to get rid of the hard lines in the mountains and soften the shapes by making them disappear into the distant snow storm. I also add more colour and texture to the grass in the foreground.
I complete the painting by reworking the snow in the foreground and the distant mountains, add a bit more vibrancy to the snow but being careful not to make it tonally light.
And with that, the painting was complete...
My finished painting on my Strada easel.
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