Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Red Barn on a Winter Morn

Red Barn on a Winter Morn
9" x 12" Watercolor
Karen A. Cooke

Red Barn on a Winter Morn

I love painting barns and there was just something special about this one that stood out and begged to be painted.    I think the contrast with the white snow and the light blue sky makes this winter scene a cheerful one. 

 The most difficult part of this painting is the perspective.  With the many roof angles, getting the perspective correct is one of the most important components of your painting. 

How comfortable are you with your drawing skills?    If you feel as though you may require using an eraser multiple times to get the perspective correct, then I would suggest drawing the barn on a piece of sketch paper cut to the same size as the watercolor paper.    Multiple erasures and lines can damage watercolor paper and when paint is applied, it will pool in any indentations on the paper.   Multiple erasures may also “rough up” the paper which will show in the finished painting. 
Materials required:
Watercolor paper, size of your choice.  I used 9” x 12” paper. 
Sketch paper, same size of your watercolor paper, if needed
Paint brushes:   flat brush, round brush and liner brush for details
  • Payne’s Gray
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Burnt Umber
  • VanDyke Brown
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Sap Green
  • Crimson
Small piece of plastic credit card
Masking fluid and old brush

Painting Instructions:
Drawn the barn on the watercolor paper or your sketch paper.  Do not prepare a detailed drawing; simply get the perspective correct and placement on your paper.   If you prepared a sketch first, transfer your sketch to the watercolor paper. 

How to transfer a sketch:

2 methods:

1.     Graphite transfer paper:  Place a piece of transfer paper between the drawing and the blank watercolor paper.  Lightly trace along the lines of your drawing.  Do not press hard enough to leave indentations in the watercolor paper. 

2.     The sketch:  Turn the sketch over and rub the back of the drawing with a pencil leaving dark pencil spaces along the lines of the drawing.  When all of the lines have been covered with heavy pencil marks, place the sketch on top of the watercolor paper with the pencil marks facing the watercolor paper. (You have made your own graphite paper.)   Lightly trace along the lines of your drawing on the front side of your sketch.  Do not press hard enough to leave indentations in the watercolor paper. 

Lightly sketch in the windows and doors.  Drawn the fence and lightly sketch the shape of the tree.  Do not draw individual limbs; these will be painted in.  Sketch in the horizon. 

In order to retain the white trim around the windows, doors and the fence, use the masking fluid and an old brush, apply the masking fluid and allow to dry. 

Painting the Sky and Background Trees:
Prepare a light wash of Cerulean Blue for the sky.   Working around the barn, wet the area down to the horizon.  The light sky color can be painted in the area where the tree will be painted in another step.  Apply the sky color using a flat brush.    Using a tissue remove some of the paint for cloud shapes.    Before the sky dries, drop in the trees at the horizon using   VanDyke Brown and Sap Green.   Let the colors diffuse.    Allow to dry.

Painting the Barn:
I painted the sides of the barn first; however, the roof can be painted first if you prefer.  Prepare a wash of Crimson with a small amount of VanDyke Brown and/or Brunt Umber to deepen the red.  Addition brown will be added for shadows as shown in the photo above.  When the primary color of the barn has dried, use a dry, flat brush with the bristles spread, and paint the wood grain and board lines of the barn with a deep shade of Crimson and VanDyke Brown.   Paint any broken areas of the wood with this same color (see bottom edge of right side of the barn). 

Using VanDyke Brown and Paynes’s Gray,  paint the open door showing the shadows inside the barn. 

Prepare a wash of Payne’s Gray for the inside of the windows.  This is where using the masking fluid definitely makes life easier!    Allow to dry and remove the masking fluid.    Add a light wash of Payne's Gray in various locations on the white window time for detail and shadows. 

Referring to the photo of the painting, paint the roof using a mix of Cerulean Blue along with a light wash of Payne’s Gray.  Either a flat brush or a round brush can be used.    Deepen the paint around the edge of the room and at the roof angles.  Using a wash of Payne’s Gray, paint the underside of the roof on the left side of the barn.    Allow to dry.

Painting the Fence:
Remove the masking fluid.  Although the fence is white, adding shadows to the fence will give it a more realistic look.  Refer to the photo above to see where to apply the gray paint.  Allow to dry.

Painting the tree:
Using a wash of VanDyke Brown and Burnt Umber, paint the trunk of the tree.  Wet the tree trunk before painting and deepen the color in places.   This is not detailed.  Using the same color paint and a round brush,  paint in the branches tapering from large to small.  Use a liner brush to pull in the smallest branches.    

Painting the Snow:
Wet the snow and using a pale wash of Payne’s Gray,  drop in the shadows.    Deepen the snow under the fence and around the posts.  Be certain to paint the shadows in the background at the tree line.  Allow this to dry.

Painting in the Grasses at the Fence:
Wet the area with clean water.  While still wet, drop in Brunt Umber and Yellow Ochre at the base of the plants and using the small piece of credit card, pull the paint up into the shape of the grasses.  Allow to dry.    Add a few springs of grass at the bottom of fence post with a liner brush. 

Painting the background fence:
Using the same paint as the tree, paint in the fence rails using a liner brush. 

Paint the road:
Using a pale wash of yellow ochre and Payne’s Gray, paint in the road.  Paint darker areas to indicate tire tracks. 

Review your painting for any details you would like to add.  Allow to dry and sign your painting!
Happy Painting!

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