I spent hours walking through the countryside looking for inspiration. I took photos and rummaged through all the pictures I had taken throughout the years. Finally, in desperation, I picked out a photo of an interesting tree in the snow and, putting myself in front of a canvas, picked up a pencil to draw a scene. Sometimes that is the best way to do things. I believe that if I just put myself in front of a project, things will happen. I just have to show up.
And so this is the story of "Winter Day". After I began the painting, we had a major snowstorm - 22 inches of the stuff. That, along with the birds at the feeder outside my window, helped with the inspiration!
However, I did not realize that until later.
To do this painting, I made a black and white print-out of the image to use as reference. This helps with seeing contrast and gives me the freedom to use any colors I want without being distracted by colors in the photo.
After drawing the composition on a 16"x12" canvas. using the tree, some evergreens and an old house in the background as the main elements, I paint the sky.
This is a cloudless day and the sky above is a deep blue. Towards the horizon, it lightens. You'll be able to see this more clearly in the finished work.
As they grow closer, they acquire a warmer hue that appears more violet.
The shadows on a vertical surface such as the white house are also a bit less blue since they are not reflecting the color of the sky directly.
The painting evolves after this to be quite different than I'd originally intended. In the original photo, there was no snow left on the trees. But the painting took me days to do and when we got that big snowstorm in the middle of this piece, of course I wanted to pile snow on my trees too as you will see...
The stones also are painted bluer the farther away they are. An artist painting a realistic landscape must make the flat surface of the canvas appear to have depth. This is done with color and object size.
So I sketch in some ideas: a few birds and a plate of seeds.
Now it's time to paint the tree. I use a combination of Cadmium Orange, French Ultramarine Blue and white to get the color.
The side closest to the light is warmer and lighter, using more orange and white. The shadow side is cooler and darker using more blue.
So I paint the undersides a lighter color to show this. It does help give a wintry feel to the tree.
It was here that I decided to make a single trunk for the tree rather than a double one. All I had to do was paint over the left trunk and widen the right one as you will see.
My, this painting is evolving, influenced by the weather outside!
Take a look below for the finished piece.
This original oil has been sold. Please contact me if you would like to have a print made of this painting.
Thanks for stopping by - I hope you enjoyed the demo!