Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Jed's Barn - Painting a Winter Landscape

Jed's Barn
9" x 12" watercolor painting
Karen A. Cooke

Painting winter landscapes can and usually do involve painting snow.  Snow can be achieved with watercolor painting by simply painting shadows and leaving the other areas of the landscape  unpainted.  Sounds easy - but this can often be tricky.  In order to contour the ground, shadows and shapes need to be considered as well as intensity of color.  Shadows can be shades of blue or grays and even browns, depending on the object creating the shadow.  The painting above of the old barn is an example of a winter landscape.  The focal point of this painting is the red barn; however, the snowy landscape is a large factor in emphasizing the barn.

Let's paint!

The watercolor above was painted on  140 lb. cold press paper.   I did not use my usual preferred paper (Arches).  This paper is Strathmore.  This paper is a heavyweight paper suited for beginning watercolorists or for experimenting with new techniques.  It is less expensive than Arches paper  and does not allow for excessive working or lifting of color.  I always recommend a 140 lb. weight paper for beginners as it is easier to work the paint on the page.  A good student grade paper is less expensive and keeps the beginner from being as worried about the possibility of ruining an expensive piece of paper.   Use the brand and type of paper you prefer, can afford, and feel comfortable using.

Don't worry about ruining a piece of paper.  Feel free to explore and learn new techniques......after all - "it is only paper!"
Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (type and size of your choice)  - I used a 9" x 12" piece
Masking Tape
Watercolor board
Brushes: flat, liner and round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Sepia
  • Payne's Gray
  • Van Dyke Brown
  • Alizarin Crimson

Painting Instructions:
I sketched this drawing on my watercolor paper. However, if you feel you may need to erase multiple times, you may want to drawn on a piece of sketch paper and transfer your completed sketch to the watercolor paper. I discuss how this can be accomplished in my blog of May 11, 2016.

As a reminder: Multiple erasures can damage watercolor paper and cause pooling of water as well as differences in the way the paint is absorbed into or on the paper. Deep sketch marks will show up in a finished painting, even if they are erased. Correct perspective is an important part of this painting. Confirm that you like the perspective that you have executed in your sketch before you start painting. A poorly executed sketch done in a hurry cannot be overcome no matter how great a job one does with the paint.

Wet the sky from the top down to the horizon using clean water. Using a wash of Cerulean Blue, apply the paint working from the top of the painting down to the horizon.  Using a tissue or paper towel, lift some of the paint to create lighter areas in the sky for clouds.  As the wash begins to dry.  paint in the impression of trees in the distance using a mix of your blue paint and Payne's Gray.  Allow to dry.  

Larger trees:   You will paint over the top of the trees you sketched with the sky color so that the sky will be smooth.  Since the trees are painted using a darker color than the sky, they will be painted after the sky is completely dry. 

I painted the siding of the barn first and left the roof for last.  The wood siding is painted with Crimson and Payne's Gray. 

Prepare a wash of crimson, varying the intensity from a deep red to a pale red.  Using the photo above as an example, paint the siding of the barn varying the color intensity of the red in various locations.  While the red is still wet, drop in the Payne's Gray.  Allow these colors to blend. 

Note:  Deepen the shadows under the roof line on the side of the barn with a deep shade of Payne's Gray.  This is done while the paint is still wet so that there will be no transition line from the shadow to the side of the barn. 

Barn Roof:
The roof of the barn is covered in snow.  Therefore, only the shadows are painted to indicate areas where the snow is blanketing the roof.  Areas of the roof are old and missing.  Painting wet on wet and using a mix of Payne's Gray and Cerulean Blue, paint in shadows referencing the photo above for shadow placement.  Using a deep shade of Payne's Gray, paint the areas where the roof is broken and missing on the right hand side of the roof.  The areas of broken roof where the siding shows through on the side of the barn were painted when the siding shadows were painted.  Allow to dry. 

Snow - Land contour and shadows
Using a pale wash of Payne's Gray, paint the snow on the left hillside, deepening the shadows cast by the trees.  Referencing the photo above, paint the contours on the ground and around the barn using a pale wash of Payne's Gray and Cerulean Blue. 

Note:  The shadows closer to the bottom of the page are painted with a light wash of Cerulean Blue with the intensity deepening as one moves further away. 

Using  a wash of Vandyke Brown paint the trees.  Deepen the color on the trunks of the trees in various locations with Sepia. 

Add some grasses showing through the snow in various locations near the barn and under the trees.

Allow to dry.

Finishing touches:
A few details can be added in the siding on the barn now that the paint is completely dry.

Use a liner brush and Payne's Gray,  paint in a few lines for the boards adding a few deeper areas where the boards are cracked.  Do not make this very detailed.  When the paint is completely dry, use a utility knife to scratch off the paint on the siding in a few areas for highlights. 

Look over your painting and paint any finishing details you would like to add. Then, sign your painting!


Happy Painting!

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