Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sketching the Snowstorm

The big news this past week has been the monster winter storm that swept across the Midwest and into the East bringing deep blowing snow and dreadful conditions. Luckily we had no place to go and nothing to miss, and the storm left only 5 inches or so at Druid Hill Creek.

I spent an hour or so after the big snow sketching the wood in watercolor and gouache. I used a 5x9 sketchbook that I had toned with acrylic gouache. That makes the page a bit more slick so that gouache and watercolor sometimes bead up, giving unusual textures. The first page was toned with a rose color. I painted the snow pillows with titanium white gouache then painted watercolor over that. The pink tone became distant woods just catching the sun. I used a mixture of cool blue and sepia for some of the darks and added touches of ink here and there at the finish.

The next day I did this sketch in the same size. Unlike the day before, there was no sunshine. The grey day meant paying close attention to every detail since there were few shadows to establish forms. In particular the challenge was to portray the dark but ice-covered water. The page had been toned with a grey-geen acrylic wash, over which I painted the snowy patches and the tree trunks and saplings. I then went back with drybrush and suggested the distant woods and snow beyond and left the sky white. Using a very small round brush I tipped in branches and twigs then added dollops of titanium white to show the remaining snow here and there.

Sketching winter scenes takes special care with darks and with suggestion. More winter scenes are in the offing--Spring is still weeks and weeks away.

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