PDA

View Full Version : Exploring Soft Pastels (ESP) Classroom - Snow


Pages : [1] 2

Deborah Secor
10-15-2008, 03:06 PM
I'm teaching a class on how to paint snow tomorrow and I thought I'd invite some of you to join in and paint some snow scenes... I'll take you through my steps and show what comes of my demonstration tomorrow, and we can talk about some of the snow 'rules', too, if you like.

I wanted to start by looking at some of the snow painters whose work I admire. I always find it helps me to get inspired and to think about how different paintings can look.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Oct-2008/23609-27McKinley-finished-snow-pastel.jpg
Richard McKinley

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Oct-2008/23609-Faegre_Dusk-on-Winter-Fields.jpg
Brad Faegre

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Oct-2008/23609-Champagne_littleharbor.jpg
Horace Champagne

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Oct-2008/23609-Dawson_wren_house.jpg
Doug Dawson

I'd love to know whether these appeal to you, maybe which is your favorite and why.

Which one looks snowiest? What tells you it's snow and not sand?

Are there other pastelists you admire for painting snow? Can you show us a painting or point us to a web site?

Tomorrow I'll show you one or two steps in the progress of my demonstration. Meanwhile, here's a little snow painting I did one Christmas for a card I sent out:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Oct-2008/23609-Christmas_View.jpgThat might be a thought for you. Maybe design a Christmas card! Or just paint snow for the fun of it and if one comes out well you can use it for that. (No pressure.)

Hope this is something y'all are into! :wave: It may be fall in the northern latitudes but snow is coming soon... and those down south might just enjoy a little chill. :D

Deborah

Tressa
10-15-2008, 03:39 PM
Hi Deborah! Before I even moved my page down to see the rest of your post, I recognized McKinley's scene.:) He is one of my top favorites. Of the picks you have shown he is my number one, followed by Doug, and then the starkness of Brad Fraegre. Not sure what it is but the one by Champagne doesn't appeal to me as much. I am a bit distracted by the harsh reddish-orange and the ultra marine blue in b/g.
your painting says to me the same as my favs. It reads cold snowy and winter.

For me, what says snow and winter months is in the cool shadows,the deep areas in shade, and the way light just flashes against them. I think it is this contrast that appeals to me.

Deborah Secor
10-15-2008, 03:58 PM
Tressa, here's one of Horace Champagne's I like even more! You have to take a peek at his web page. (obviously, www.horacechampagne.com)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Oct-2008/23609-berg.jpg
He paints Newfoundland and these are aging icebergs. I think his work is wonderful. Maybe it's that his work isn't technically snow but ICE!

Yeah, I think you're onto a key element of snow: contrast of light and shadows. Snow can be any color, though, can't it? I mean, in these paintings alone I see turquoise, lavender, purple, red-violet, cobalt blue, teal, and peach!

:wink2: Deborah

Winny Kerr
10-15-2008, 04:35 PM
I would LOVE to do a Christmas Card. I also like Richard McKinley's snow scenes and they are often the snowiest yet they still have a lot of life and color to them and not gloomy or dreary. But I also like yours very much Deborah for the same reasons. Here in Prescott we have snow falls and everything looks magical under a foot of snow and then the sun comes out and it looks brilliantly beautiful. Look forward to your demo and maybe doing a Christmas card of my own this year. Thanks for your help as always. Winny

Merethe T
10-15-2008, 04:38 PM
Count me in! I'd like to know the secrets to landscape... :D
McKinley is my fave of the paintings you posted, I find the blue's really appealing...Faegre appeals to me to - the energy - great!

This should be fun, I know it'll be a great lesson....

Merethe

robertsloan2
10-15-2008, 04:39 PM
I liked all four of them in different ways, but if I had to rate them in order -- it would be Richard McKinley, Deborah Secor's Christmas card, Horace Champagne (accurate icebergs!!!), Doug Dawson, Brad Faigre.

The textures in the middle of Brad Faigre's seemed a bit jarring, where the snow covered branches of the center tree are the same as its background but only a textural difference like a heat shimmer. It's a disturbing but powerful effect and may have been deliberate, but it gives that scene more edginess and less of that sense of serenity at getting way out into the wilderness than the others. It doesn't seem as much of a happy picture.

Deborah, your card only came in second because the waterway in Richard's is one of the wonderful things I have always dreamed of being able to paint. I have a mental list of Cool Things To Paint that I've seen many times and always wanted to do. Yours is more colorful by a hair and has a jolliness to it that's magnificent in a Christmas card.

Richard's reminds me of being way out in wilderness alone feeling spiritual and really being out there, wet feet and all, that rich deep note of awareness of the world and its beauty. It looks as though a lynx or elk might come out of the trees and come down to drink. It is wild, it is wonderful for that.

Deborah, yours is the jolly looking out the window in a snowy climate with adequate heat on a happy morning very close to Christmas and anticipating everything from presents to sledding. It looks like a weekend when school's out and play is demanded, and the anticipation is bigger than the presents themselves ever could be in reality. Yours has that feeling. It's so emotional and brings such a huge smile. I'd love to do a holiday scene, or several, with anywhere near that Yuletide warmth.

Doug Dawson's is neat, it's another Christmas looking one with the bird feeder, heavy snow and evening blues. I love the way he captured the time of day with it. The birds have gone in and gone to sleep. The little contrasting orange red bar at the peak of the birdhouse roof is a great accent.

Both of Horace Champagne's paintings give me the fantasy of wild adventure and hauling out with sled dogs and much with the equipment going where no one would ever want to if they were in their right minds. The bergs are true to color and so massive. That is a dramatic landscape that can kill you! It hits me square in the boyish heart.

Brad's has a different kind of realism, it's more like the textures I didn't like as much were also part of something else -- of riding through snowy places on a trip and seeing things that are not perfect or choreographed. Road-trip feeling, with mixed memories of great joys and hard times together.

When I rated them in order it's not to say that any of these aren't spectacular -- think of them as half-point or quarter-point preferences, because each one has a story and which story hits my mood is very much a thing of the moment. A second look at Brad's reminded me of the trip to Kansas in the winter and made me smile at the memory of my daughter. It has a lot of motion in it, the jarring effect almost gives that impression of seeing it only for a moment as the car is moving.

These all have something glorious to teach. I am looking forward to this lesson and going to enjoy it so much! I need to do snow better -- and looking at these is also showing me everything that went wrong in previous snow drawings and paintings. Thank you for doing this, Deborah!

How did you manage to convey the glorious feeling of Goofing Off on Christmas Break?

RooGal
10-15-2008, 04:41 PM
gee I'm glad you started this thread Deborah! I have wanted to try a snow scene using some old photos I took many years ago.

Like Tressa, I recognized Richard McKinley's style before getting to the bottom of the painting. He is one of my favorite artists. I love that second one you posted from Horace Champagne, very powerful, to me.

so I'll be pulling up a chair for this thread.

Donna T
10-15-2008, 05:00 PM
Wonderful snow painting examples, Deborah, yours included! That painting by McKinley is such a jaw dropper. It is a much better description of snow and all of its magical properites than any photo ever could be. I thought the painting by Brad Faegre looked familiar, but it's just a coincidence. Here's a photo I took from my porch last winter and I never could figure out how to paint that light. Looks like Mr. Faegre did it for me!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Oct-2008/97763-P1000858snow_pic_WC.jpg
I love how he showed the snow on the branches in his painting (a good clue that it is snow and not sand!) To me, Doug Dawson's looks the snowiest. I can see the dense, wet snowflakes coming down and there isn't much distance to be seen beyond those branches. I look forward to whatever you can share with us - thanks!
Donna

Deborah Secor
10-15-2008, 05:03 PM
Glad you all are in, but help me out here...! Tell me what you have to do to paint snow effectively? Tress said contrast of light and shadows. I mentioned colors.

How do you know it's a snowy field in McKinley's painting and not sand????? Take a minute and analyze the qualities. (BIG hint: think of the basics, gang. Color. Value. Shape. Line. Contrast. Edge.) What makes you even think the birdhouse is in snow??? It could be cotton season! :D

Deborah

Deborah Secor
10-15-2008, 05:15 PM
Donna, we crossed. Yep, you're onto something there. Sand doesn't build up on branches very often, does it!? Dawson's flakes are a clue, too... Distance is obscured sometimes, yes...

I agree that Faegre did a good job on the time of day. The title is Dusk on Winter Fields. Love your photo. I think you should paint it!

Deborah

Muffin_4377
10-15-2008, 06:00 PM
For me, I'm thinking it's the temp of the colours used.....I see snow, I think cool colours, sand, well...warm colours...That's my thought process.

Even with the Dawson piece.... the overall feel of the piece is cool, just seems like a icy winter morning with those blues.

maybe it's because I'm in the North...."If it looks like snow....it must be snow!" LOL

Deborah Secor
10-15-2008, 06:37 PM
Yeah, true, Dania. (By the way, hi! :wave: Good to see you...) Temperature is important in this, and of course that's relative to the painting. But warm against cool colors speaks of snow a lot.

What happens to your car when 3 feet of snow falls? How do you still know it's a car? :wink2:

Deborah

Dougwas
10-15-2008, 07:03 PM
I think I like snow paintings because of the contrasts of cool/warm, light/dark. It also give me a peaceful feeling when I look at an untouched snowy field or snow covered trees.

As soon as I saw this thread, I had to grab my old issues of PJ and look up an artist who was featured in the December 2007 issue, Susan Lampinen. Some of her paintings look so simple, but when you really look at them you see all the different whites. Check her web site at http://susanlampinen.scarf.ca

I live up north too, and if you don't embrace the snow, you will go crazy. I made myself a promise that this winter I will seriously attempt to paint snowscapes. This thread is great timing because I just heard we are expecting flurries tonight.:eek:

Doug

bchlvr
10-15-2008, 07:10 PM
You can count me on...I have been thinking of trying snow scenes. I have in other mediums but never pastel. We haven't had any snow here since December 2004 but when it first falls it is pretty and exciting. Ours never lasts long at all here of course but snow scenes in paintings are so pretty to look at.

robertsloan2
10-15-2008, 07:44 PM
Snow scenes...

Strong values dark to middle tones that may include white but don't need to. The whole scene can be blue like Doug Dawson's and it reads as blue light on white.

Clumps of snow. The shapes of snow are very distinct and rounded, with dark objects showing where patches of it are missing. In McKinley's painting, the shapes of snow coming down to that iced over little creek are a cue. So is the blackness of the water, ice can look very dark in the wintertime and open water can too. Clumps on branches making lots of little patterns of strong contrast. Shape combined with value contrasts has a lot to do with it.

That and blue does. Snow always seems to have bright blue shadows on its shapes, even if the sky isn't blue there'll be some blueness to the shadows on it. Usually a purplish blue but not always, the Arctic ice is the blue-green that icebergs get. It was looking at snow scenes that finally convinced me a mid-value bright blue was accurate to describe the shape of a white object. Up till then I'd been very cautious with shadowing on white.

The highlights can be pinkish or golden at dawn or sunset but the shadows are usually brilliant blue with maybe a little violet if it's pinkish light.

McKinley managed to convey thin ice with his creek. I looked close and the reflections are there, the ice is super dark and shadowed, but it's still also moving under a thin layer. Combination of shapes, colors and values, I think.

Twigs and weeds coming up through snow will have it clumped around their base and occasionally on them like on thin branches, and look more golden-red against snow than they do in a winter-browned field before it snows.

Snow has a thick three dimensional rounded wet presence and that rounding makes the shadows distinct and strong.

If the snow is still coming down, visibility will be very short, and there won't be any distant ground. The middle ground will fade out as much as distant ground would in other seasons. Sharp contrasts are closer and atmospheric perspective gets extreme in snow scenes.

It always seems more colorful in reality and in paintings than it is in photos. Photos seem to gray out the snow shadows from blue, but in reality they get that bright. So: strong contrasts except in the distance, very blued shadows, curving clumpy shapes on top of things that simplify them, anything pushing through may look more warm colored by contrast.

Colorix
10-15-2008, 08:05 PM
Oh, Deb, making us *think*, now, are you? :-)

Being all too familiar with the phenomenon of snow, I think that McKinley paints gorgeous excellent snow from an area way more south, and that is probably due to the strong bright colours he uses. Up here, this far north, the light is much cooler and more pale. (I think much the same about your own painting, Deborah. Great snow, more southern latitudes.)

Dawson's bird-house really tells about the *coldness*! It could almost be an underwater scene, but the blues are all wrong for that. They speak of lots of ultra-violet rays, as in dawn or dusk.

Faegre's is alien to me. Those colours aren't seen on the 60th latitude. Also, is it a sky (probably) or is it a bg mountain (nah) -- but it took me a while to decide.

Champagne pushes his colours. (Nothing wrong with that.) Only, sky's too gray for this much colour, and frankly, I don't like his water, it is too stiff, like frozen waves. But I do love his colours!

I'd love to know whether these appeal to you, maybe which is your favorite and why.

McKinley. Love the *light* and colours. He invites us to step into his pic and explore what's behind the line of trees. His snow is *fluffy*. It is very believeable.

Dawson is a good second. While it really say more 'winter' than 'snow' (and that might be splitting hairs, on my side) he portrays the cold!

Which one looks snowiest? What tells you it's snow and not sand?

McKinley. (Champagne says ice, and Faegre's look like dirty old snow.)

Sand is often not pure white, and it's mineral grains reflect colour/light differently, and is often way more grayed than snow, and shadows are deeper in value, and dullish in colour. Contrast between light and shadow is/can be high. Sand is heavy and flows off objects, and is windswept sideways, creating little dunes (get a look more like waves), and footsteps are indentions that have very unclear edges (on dry sand).

Snow has shadows full of light and colour, and they are not very dark in value (see McKinleys sides of the banks, way lighter than the water), but has jewel-like (i.e. prismatic) colours reflected and they are 'cool' colours in shadow, mostly reflecting blue sky. (Or dreary gray, on overcast days, and then there is awfully little contrast, and you can't really see if the unevenness in front of you is a 'bottomless pit' or just an inch deep dip.) White snow reflect light in pure colours. Lights are the colour of sunlight, with a touch of the weaker sky-light, but mostly warm in colour.

Further, shadow parts take on a clearly visible complementary colour, compared to the colour of the sunlight. (Still provided it is a sunny clear sky.)

Snow is light and fluffy, and it *stays* on top of objects, and piles up in an even layer. (Unless it is windy, but then it will form drifts that can be way steeper on the lea side (not sand, it has softer and less steep 'waves'), as snow *sticks together* (if it is humid enough). Snow are highly reflective tiny mirrorlike chrystals, but they can take many forms. The typical single flake, or flocked together flakes, or icy lumps (like hail), and these forms will affect the look of the fallen snow. Did I say that snow blankets (or 'duvets') the landscape? It falls evenly (depending on wind), and follows the form of the shape beneath it.

Snow sticks to tiny branches, as well as big boulders. (Not sand. I've never seen sand piled up on a branch.) Boulders and like objects get a 'cap' of snow that is as wide as the object, generally. And snow in storms can stick to sides of trees/buildings/etc, and I'd like to see the sand that can do that trick!

Snow-in-light is brightest nearest to you, and warms and dulls with distance. I'd make it a whitened yellow up close (not pure white, as white is perceived as less bright and less sunny than a very whitened yellow), and then indicate distance with whitened orange, whitened warm rose. I'd also add more of blue sky as it recedes.

Sand and snow are totally different! Agree with "if it looks like snow it is snow".

And, you can't make 'sandballs' out of sand and throw at each other! Nor ski on it.

Charlie

Tressa
10-15-2008, 08:13 PM
I stand by my statement that contrast of light in winter is different than any other time! The constrast of color is different in winter versus summer. "You can walk outside on a sunny summer day, and still be able to distinguish visiblity, but , go out on a snow covered day, with the sun shining and you can be blinded. That is why skiers wear shades! i think the reasoning behind this is the complete contrast of light and shadow. It is this reflecton of light that makes the difference in my opinion. The optical reflection of sand is a bit more subdued than snow because of it's properties, and the direction/optimum of light.

oops! I fogot to add, I do prefer the second reference to his work Deborah, and yes, ice is a bit different to portray than snow, although the temp is still in the element of design. I must say after visiting his site, one must not judge an artist by one painting! Superb!

Tatijana
10-15-2008, 08:43 PM
I think Marc Hanson's are worth looking at. He's from Minnesota - should know his snow pretty well.
There are several of his scenes from his website. I'm not sure if my uploader is working properly. I tried, but nothing is showing in my preview...
T

ElsieH
10-15-2008, 09:23 PM
:wave: Oh, Count me in! This is a wonderful topic!
We have jokes here in Wisconsin about the four seasons of the year:
"Winter, Winter, Winter, and Road Repair!" :lol:

Nature provides us with such amount of the stuff that our "en plein aire"
takes on a definite frozen quality much of the year.
I love how light plays off the soft crystaline surface of new-fallen snow!
Richard McKinley renders that so perfectly in his snow. Nothing trodden down or hard frozen there: Just light and crystals. Lovely!

I was amazed as I looked at each of the artist's ways of saying "snow" with pastel. Some used temperature of color, in some you could feel the frozen ice quality.

The quality of the air and feeling one was right there in the falling snow
in Doug Dawson's is lovely.

Too, that angular quality of the iceburg and the water along side. Then to add the boat gave it such a being right there feeling in that one!

Great thread, Deborah!
With lovely fall colors it is just nature's way of setting us up for the next
White Light Show to come.

jemgold
10-15-2008, 10:50 PM
Deborah, What a great topic. I love snow paintings and have to say that Richard McKinley is my favorite.
To me the cool colors are tied to snow but the middle values and shape of the snow adds to the depth.

I'd love to be part of your paint session. Will be busy with a workshop this weekend but will make time to do a snow painting.

IMaybe
10-15-2008, 11:47 PM
:wave: Snow is a great idea to work on and think about!!! Yes, I agree, its all colors. Charlei sure wrote a lot about that! But beware of yellow snow!
I think sunlit snow should show the sunlite, but I might use pinks and peaches, or lit-value oranges for that. Another thought would be to paint on a dark ground, so it could help you to get the lightness without using to much white itself. Heres one I did early in 08---and I sure do want to try more. Elizebeth Mowery has some good snow scenes! And I love Richard Mckinnley's, and Doug Dawsons, and Deborah's, too!!!! Thanks for the lesson!http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Oct-2008/128302-our_field_in_snow.jpg This is on a green-grey colorfix paper. Its where I live, our cow pasture and creek and willow bush.

CM Neidhofer
10-15-2008, 11:51 PM
:wave:
We have jokes here in Wisconsin about the four seasons of the year:
"Winter, Winter, Winter, and Road Repair!" :lol:



They say we only have two seasons here in Colorado.....Winter and the 4th of July!! lol :eek:

Christine

Deborah Secor
10-16-2008, 12:11 AM
You guys are GREAT! See, this way I don't have to teach anything. Y'all just fill in the blanks for me. <teehee> No, seriously, I'll share some of my thoughts and respond to some of yours tomorrow, but everyone is on track with this now. There's more, however, so keep thinking (yes, Charlie, thinking! :rolleyes: Like you don't think all the time!)

Hint: values... Think of the four basic values of the landscape. Some are close but I don't think this one is quite defined yet.

Back tomorrow!
:wave:

Deborah

Dougwas
10-16-2008, 01:00 AM
Okay, the rule of thumb is the darkest value are the trees, the second darkest are mountains, then comes the ground and the lightest is the sky. But I guess in a snow scene, your sky won't be the lightest value, the ground will be. And if you have snow covered trees, they won't be the darkest value. Hmmm... so on a stormy afternoon, with snow covered ground and snow covered trees, with snow covered mountains in the b/g, the sky is the darkest value?

Usually, the trees in a snow scene are not totally covered, so the trees will contrast with all the lighter values of the ground, sky and hills in the b/g, so the darker the value of the trees, the lighter the other values will seem.

My head hurts.:confused:


Doug

SharonC
10-16-2008, 01:39 AM
I tried to paint snow this past spring form a photo and I was not very successful as far as I thought. Every March a group of my old friends from elementary thru high school take a "March Madness" weekend up to the mountains and go snow shoeing and have a great weekend together. I have a photo with the bluest sky and two groups of two hiking ahead of me and the steps in the virgin snow, essing up the mountain side approximately 15 feet of snow beneath our feet. The Snow has great blue reflection of the sky and really deep shadows accross the foreground. I have wanted to paint this picture but have been intimidated, so I am very glad to see this Thread. I agree that color and the texture are very important. I am looking forward to learning more.
Sharonc

z-jay
10-16-2008, 02:33 AM
Thank you Deborah for being willing to teach a class on painting snow. We get our share here in Spokane and love to get out and play in it. Thanks also to everyone for their insightful comments, I think I am learning about pastel painting by reading the different threads and looking at the paintings submitted. What a great group!

z

robertsloan2
10-16-2008, 02:57 AM
Thanks for explaining the four values in a landscape Deborah was referring to, Doug. I hadn't heard of that.

What I thought she meant by four values was:

Deep darks (trees and branches where they show through snow, ice), highlights on shadow areas, then shadows in highlight areas, then highlights in highlight areas.

In the snow scenes the ground and the sky are running about even in value, whites and blues or whites and greys, intimately connected because of the snow reflecting the sky so well. The deeper darks are very very dark. I'd say the third value, the highlights in dark areas, would be more like the greens of pine needles or the highlights of dark objects than the shadows of the snow itself.

I remember my teacher in New Orleans explaining to me that if I want drama, the highlights within shadow areas should be darker than the shadows in highlight areas, clearly defining areas of light and dark into two groups.

I've done values in landscapes pretty much on what's there, but I think that rule about trees, mountains, ground, sky sounds about right. Provided shrubs are trees it does.

I was born in Minnesota, have lived in Colorado and in Chicago, where snow is constant, heavy and varied. There are different kinds of snow. I skied in high school, not well but with much enthusiasm.

I used to laugh my head off at that expression "Pure as the Driven Snow." You don't want pure like driven snow. You want pure like snow that hasn't been driven on yet. Driven snow looks like the worst mess in the world all ran down the gutters and came back up splashing on your boots.

Though it would make for an interesting snow painting.

I might do it but only if I get to do pretty snow with blue shadows and no footprints except cool wild things in it too. I'm as into the pretty pictures as anyone else.

It's just I can also imagine this Lake Shore Drive bus stop with three or four miserable people bundled in coats and hats and scarves and the wrong bus fountaining the gray-brown muck as it drives off. With the lumpy dirty drifts that piled up around all the signs and more snow coming down of course, clean on top of the soot.

One year while I was in Chicago, a blizzard choked the city right around the holidays, and I got a couple of snow days from work. The whole city was lovely, frosted and softened. The light from the snow brightened the streets even at night, reflected streetlights and signs bouncing back up to make it almost as bright as day. You could see color and not just where colored signs reflected, though those did too.

I had a fourth floor apartment in one of the older brick neighborhoods in the city, so I had a perfect view down Clark street. Every shop was shining. There were some holiday lights going but it was mostly the streetlights creating that eerie brightness.

Snow scenes are going to have a lot more reflected light coming into shadow areas because the big curved white planes are bright. But the stark contrasts with trees and branches always seems to make them look black even if they're brown or gray.

z-jay, I know that feeling. I've been inspired and trying everything that I ever thought was difficult ever since I got to this forum. It's great!

Colorix
10-16-2008, 07:59 AM
the four values in a landscape

I've seen it in Carlson's book (Highly! recommended, especially for colour-painters and impessionists).


"Pure as the Driven Snow."

We joke: "In the winter, the roads are all brown with snow".


Agree, snowy ground (facing up) would be lighter than the sky, especially the sunlit parts. As white clouds are lighter than blue sky. Shadow parts on ground would be darker blue than the blue sky. (White in shadow is always darker than blue sky -- a 'rule' I picked up somewhere.)

Less of middle values -- trees, as someone said, would look black even if they aren't.

Umm, what about overcast sky and snowy ground? I think ground would be lighter.

Charlie

Deborah Secor
10-16-2008, 08:22 AM
Bingo! John Carlson, in his book Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting (1929), theorized that the large light and dark value relationships in a landscape are caused by the angles of the land planes presented to the sky. So the light of the sky is cast on the flat plane of the ground causing it to be medium-light, on the angled plane of the mountains causing them to be medium-dark, and on the upright plane of the trees causing them to be dark. But in snow the lightest value is no longer the sky (in a large vista painting of the landscape) but the whiteness of the snow on the ground plane! All the values can be affected, but this shift in relative values makes snow particularly tricky. You must consider the overall value masses in your snow painting carefully.

Now, let's talk about shadows on snow...there's another law that Carlson proposed, the Law of Aerial Perspective: all colors become cooler in color and lighter in value as they recede from the eye, except white. Think about the recession of color in the land plane (with no snow.) In the foreground you will see all of the mixtures and permutations of the three primary colors at your feet. In the mid-distance, which color is filtered out first? Which disappears second? And which color is last? (In the large sense of the three primaries only.) Think!

Now, please apply that recession of color to the shadows on snow. Think of a clean white field of snow from your feet to 20 miles out. There are three shadows: one at your feet, one 10 miles out, and one 20 miles out. Knowing what you do about color recession, what primary color flavors the blue of 1) the near, 2) medium-distance, and 3) far shadows? (Yes, shadows on snow are blue because of the color of the sky--we already observed that!)

It's true that you can just go through life recording what you see, but if so I suggest you be sure to paint on location all the time, because photographs break the observable rules all the time. A photo of shadows on snow very rarely shows this progression of colors, but your eyes can begin to perceive it if you go out looking for it. (This is Doug Dawson's theory, by the way.)

Have fun thinking! :wink2:

Deborah

robertsloan2
10-16-2008, 09:57 AM
Hazarding a guess on my visual memory... the yellows would dim out first, then the reds, leaving blues. I'm pretty sure the nearer blue shadows on snow are more greenish-blue and the farther ones purply blue. If I'm wrong, please do correct me!

I'm thinking of how purplish mountains look in the distance, not just blued but often purple.

All these rules help me so much because I love doing landscapes from imagination.

ArtSavesLives
10-16-2008, 10:39 AM
I just got home from a 5 day workshop on The Outer Banks (NC) with Jack Pardue. We started out right away with a painting of a white beach house with bright yellow hurricane shutters . . . and for the first time I learned about making bright, sunlit white by layering pale aqua and pale yellow. This was his demo piece:

http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q138/labrys59/100_2614.jpg
Beach House with Yellow Shutters, Jack Pardue

On the final day, after a week of relentless sun, heat and humidity, we were forced indoors by rain. I took this opportunity to try out the use of aqua and yellow to make white while painting from a photo I took at the end of winter during a trip home to Iowa . . . a little scene from Wapsipinicon State Park in Anamosa, Iowa:

http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q138/labrys59/100_3443.jpg
At first this was a sunlit scene, late day, but because I lacked sufficient values in my blues to make the sky a little lighter but still intense, I left it to be a moon-lit scene! This was one of those break-though moments for me, as I love to paint mountains and snow, but had always struggled with the use of colors to render snow! Needless to say I was thrilled to learn this on color theory technique!

Deborah Secor
10-16-2008, 10:50 AM
:D Yep--you got it!

Near shadows turquoise (juuuuust slightly), 10 mile shadow lavender (again slightly--a whisper), 20 mile shadow pale, pale blue.

And the values of these shadows become slightly lighter and paler as they recede, right?

What about the color of the snow per Carlson's rule? All colors become cooler in color and lighter in value as they recede from the eye, except white. White dulls and becomes ever so slightly, slightly pinkish or yellowish. (Despite the warning about yellow snow! I'll agree, but only IF the yellow snow is in the immediate foreground! :wink:)

So to sum this up: in the foreground you have the whitest snow turquoise shadows, in the mid-ground you have slightly pinked or yellowed, duller snow and lavender shadows, and in the distance you have dull yellow or pinkish snow and blue shadows. This means that when you paint that very distant snow-capped peak, the snow is NOT WHITE. Hint: do not go by your photograph--the camera is a tool that averages light and it may make the snow white! Your eye won't be fooled when you're out there looking at it, however.

Here's one by Bob Rohm:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2008/23609-rohm1.jpg
I wager there is NO white in that snow, although he's chosen to make it whiter than the yellowed clouds (which, by the way, are subject to the same prinicples of recession of color.)

:thumbsup: You guys are getting this!

Deborah

Deborah Secor
10-16-2008, 11:14 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2008/23609-Lordier_winter_patterns.jpg
Kim Lordier


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2008/23609-Hanson_winter_wonderland.jpg
Marc Hanson


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2008/23609-carlson_sulitbanks.jpg
John Carlson (oil--yes, the guy who wrote the BOOK!)

Deborah

Dougwas
10-16-2008, 11:14 AM
Since the exeption to the aerial perspective rule is white, I guess the nearest shadow would be the strongest, so it would have a blue flavor. The middles shadow would be redish and the furthest shadow would be the weakest so it would be yellow tinged.

I guess you could still have blue and red flavored shadows in the distance, but these shadows would be of lesser value than the closer shadows.

Doug

Oops. I waited to long to respond and Deborah answered the question. Oh well. I'll leave it.:D

Colorix
10-16-2008, 11:29 AM
In pastels, a fine optical white can be acheived with whitened (pale tint) yellow, with whitened pink on top, and a whitened blue on top of that. Other layered colours (like yellow and aqua) would give other optical whites, a great way to use these differences to indicate form and distance.

Actually, I prefer to regard "rules" as *guidelines*. What is a rule in one place on the earth, mayn't work exactly like that on another spot.

Up here, for example, where the sun just clears the horizon near Christmas, there is a clear colour-bias to the light. Ergo, it is often very yellowish during mid-day hours, and can be very orange an hour or so before sunset, and a delightful red half an hour before sunset. Still, most people here say snow is white, pure white, when I clearly see it has a bias. (I still say it is white, though. :-)

It is actually a very complicated thing, the colours we see in coloured light. The eye adapts, and so does the brain, and we see what we *know* is there (left brain). It is easier to register colours more correctly when the light is pure white. Even then, there is a slight shift towards yellow. Mid-day sun (further south, mid-day summer) is really a greenish colour (as have been measured during scientific experiments), but some effect of the retina shifts it ever so slightly towards yellow.

And, of course, we all perceive colour slightly differently. :-D (One's just gotta love the jokes of Nature.)

So, we can only record what we perceive. And the "rules"/guidelines are very handy to know about, but if I actually *see* that a closer shadow is a cool blue, and the next shadow away is a warm magenta, I'd record it, as that 'break' of the "rule" would make the painting really interesting, and I'd be true to reality as I perceive it.

I guess I'm trying to underline that painting is all about relative stuff: relative values/colour/distances/shapes/etc. And how we see and interpret it. And how we design it. And the relative degree we allow ourselves that Artistic License.

Charlie

Deborah Secor
10-16-2008, 11:30 AM
Well, partly, Doug. Yes, the nearer shadows have more contrast: all colors become paler as they recede, thus nearer ones are stronger. But distance progressively filters out:
*yellow
*red
*leaving blue

So that means the near shadows have more green (yellow being a component). Mid shadows have more lavender (red being a component.) And the distant shadows are blue (both yellow and red filtered out.)

See?

By the way, these are just little memory recipes! My attitude has always been that you should flavor recipes like this with your own spices, so I'm not strictly suggesting that near shadows always be all turquoise, middle ones all lavender, or distant ones all blue! We can go back and look at the paintings in the first post for all kinds of ways to flavor things--and NO rule or recipe is hard and fast. Just a way to make you think. Decide what you think is right and use that as a benchmark against which you can compare things.

Deborah

PS Deb, I don't know a thing about acrylics. Maybe you should ask this question over in the Acrylics forum.

Deborah Secor
10-16-2008, 11:34 AM
Yep, Charlie! We cross-posted there, but I agree, as I said above, that we're all searching for those benchmarks, not rules for every occasion or place. :thumbsup:

Deborah

ElsieH
10-16-2008, 11:42 AM
:wave:

Deborah,
After your comments on the Artistsnetwork.tv workshop about Carlson's Chapter 3, I dug out my copy! Yes, the guy wrote THE BOOK! I reread the chapter 3, then backed up to the beginning and have been going slowly through it! :heart: :heart: :heart:

I really like how Marc Hanson has painted the atmosphere ground up above the snow. You feel the sense of light playing off the fresh snow and right up into the trees.

OooH! I have to try the aqua and yellow idea. Now that one knows about it, you can see that at work in lots of artist's paintings.

I'm recovering from a nasty bronchitis and a bit of lung infection. The doctor said for me to stay away from the pastel for a few days. Looks like I do some watercolors and some sketching. Wah! I Wanna' paint snow in pastel! :eek:

Kim Lordier's greying out of the background trees really makes the foreground trees jump out. Also, it gives a subtle sense of frosty air.

Carlson's use of color makes you feel the icy crispness of the cold snow.

Colorix
10-16-2008, 12:21 PM
Deborah, yes, cross-posts!

Deb, acrylics, try broken colour and/or rather dry scumbling.

Guys, that relativity I was talking about. Well, if you take colour-samples digitally from Carlsons snow, sky, water, you get:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2008/117343-Carlson_patches.jpg

And McKinley gives us:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2008/117343-McKinley_patches.jpg

Still, we interpret both as white snow! (Carlson's image is probably yellowed with age.)

Charlie

scall0way
10-16-2008, 06:40 PM
Wow, this thread is so busy already! And yet what perfect timing. We are thinking of ways to be economical this Christmas. My sister says one thing she would love would be a painting of a red barn in snow - so getting tips on snow would be wonderful! (of course I need to find a ref photo somehow, LOL).

I love the McKinley painting, and also your Christmas card painting Deborah. I adore those turquoises in your shadows.

Even though not "snowy" I'm so curious about the Jack Pardue workshop also. After he does the one in the Outer Banks he comes down and does one in Morehead City, NC, and my dad and sister live in Morehead City, so I've always wanted to go! This year was going to be the year for sure, except it starts tomorrow I think, and I have a commitment for work that was set in stone over a year ago, that is taking place today and tomorrow (in fact right now. I'll be working all night here, but at the moment I'm just in an "on hold" mode) so this year was *not* the year. :(

Deborah Secor
10-16-2008, 09:14 PM
Okay, we had a good class today! I thought I'd share my painting. Let's start with my underpainting, done on an 12x12" piece of Wallis paper toned a light ocher color. I toned it with a layer of pastel rubbed briskly and thoroughly into the paper with a foam brush.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2008/23609-snow_sketch.jpg
I used my usual extra soft thin vine charcoal to do a fairly detailed underdrawing, but left a few things to sort out when I got to class to do the demonstration.

Here's the photo I began with, though you can see I cropped it a lot:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2008/23609-DSCN6803.jpg

And here's the painting as it stands after my demo:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2008/23609-DSCN8347.JPG
It's certainly not finished, and this is a night shot, so I may try to correct color a bit in daylight, but for now I thought I'd show it to you.

These shots are so big that I'm going to post smaller ones, too, so you can see the whole thing without going across the room (well, that's what I have to do!)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2008/23609-snowsketch.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2008/23609-Sunlit_Snow.jpg

I wanted the little yellowish tree to be the 'star of the show', so I had some fun with the colors there. I wanted that tree to sparkle!

When I'm fresh I'll go over some of the 'rules' I applied, which ones I broke and why, and take you through a little more about snow, okay?

:wave:
Deborah

IMaybe
10-16-2008, 11:37 PM
:clap: What a wonderful thread! So much enthusiaium from everyone! Thank you Deborah for posting that picture by John Carlson, I have his book and have for years, but never have seen any of his work in Color before! Its beautiful, as I knew. Your Demo piece is, too! Such light coming thru and that little sunny tree just glows. Its a very nice piece. Thanks for the fun, and the heavy thinking!

robertsloan2
10-17-2008, 12:44 AM
Thank you, Deborah, for hosting this class and for mentioning The Book. I just wish listed it on Amazon, and may be getting it soon. It sounds great. Whether they're rules or guidelines, they sound like if I apply them to a painting without a reference, it'll read as if I went somewhere and did it plein air. I get so many ideas that don't involve references so much as memories.

Carlson's painting is gorgeous, I really like his style.

Deborah, your posts made so many things clear to me. I love your demo painting. I may try that entire process sometime, doing a light toning layer and detailed value sketch in vine charcoal before I begin painting. It looks so powerful. The results were so great and so dramatic.

I like the way your world seems more colorful and happier than the photo reference. You simplified a lot. The background trees became flat shapes and blurred in a pleasant way, the foreground shadows are so brilliant and the darks in the focal point tree in its neighbor so strong. The snow has volume and depth. I can't wait to see what you write about this in detail.

I'm already looking forward to doing my own snow scene. Just with what's posted already, I know it'll be ten times better.

Colorix
10-17-2008, 05:43 AM
Deborah, such a wonderful demo! And thread. I'm feeling my aversion to winter weaken a bit around the edges... I guess it is kinda OK if there is sunshine...

Your demo: I love how you brought back the greens that were too darkened in the photo, and how you simplified the snow-in-trees to the largest clumps.

Charlie

Deborah Secor
10-17-2008, 11:46 AM
Okay, we've discussed a little about all this, but let me recap.

First snow shifts the values in the landscape, forcing you to paint the ground as the lightest plane. The sky stays just as light as ever, but it looks darker than the ground in contrast! so the first challenge is not to let your sky become a gloomy dark color.

Part of the reason I do the underdrawing (and no, I don't spray any workable fix on the charcoal, I just work right on top of it, matching value to value,) is to establish this value shift. In the underdrawing I used a white plastic eraser to establish the snowy ground plane as the lightest value. This helps me to see where there might be any overlap of dark on top of light, which can so easily get muddied up. Planning ahead helps me take the colors in logical steps because I know where I'm going.

Snow colors are fun to do, but you have to be careful not to allow it to become overly 'black and white' looking. You want to establish some surprising, subtle or fun color in the early stages. It's tempting to over-simplify the value range and make a blue and white painting. I've seen too many snow paintings that just ignored the medium value range and went too contrasty. I think photographs can lead you astray on this so easily, making shadows too dark and snow overly bright white. Look for some of the details and nuances found in the sunlit snow and the shadows, even if you have to manipulate the photo in your program. Just make two prints, one light and one dark, if you need to. The best cure is OBSERVATION, so spend time looking at the colors outside in sunlit snow the next time you have a chance.

Generally the colors in sunlight on snow are warm since our sun is classed as a yellow star, and the colors in shadow are cool because of the influence of the sky filtering into shadows, but there are so many variables! True, the laws of aerial perspective haven't been repealed, so you can look for the atmospheric influence of progressive distance making everything cooler and bluer--except white. White gets slightly duller and becomes ever-so-slightly warmer in tone, a kind of rosy color but very pale.

Snow is so reflective that you can actually perceive the different influences of the arc of the sky. For instance, think of a hillside sliding down into a bowl-like depression and back up. As the hillside faces one side of the sky it may reflect a deeper color, while the other side is of the hill is facing the quadrant of the sky where the sun is located (though still in shade), causing the reflected blue to be slightly warmer and paler. At the bottom of the bowl the blue may be the deepest color, reflecting the zenith of the sky. Trust me, the shadow colors can be influenced by the direction they face, so look for that. It's really a treat to see and paint. Think how much fun it can be to paint the warm/cool, light/dark relationships in both sun and shadows on snow!

Look for the weight of snow, maybe holding down branches or grasses. Paint the soft roundness of a cornice of snow, muting the shapes of things but still mimicking them. You can tell your car is under the snow because it still has a marshmallowy yet characteristic shape of a car--like a cartoon. Sometimes you see rich, dark soil that's wet from the snow, and often there's a pool of dark soil showing around plants. Find that sharp edge of the snow along the ground, but soft and round above. Look for the crisp line along the top edge of snow and places where it's slipped down and formed a miniature mountain, or a cornice formed by the wind. Analyze the hard edge/soft edge contrasts you create with shadows, using some soft blending.

In my painting, I started with the sky, as I almost always do, to establish the light value there. Then I added the distant trees, and found the cobalt blue of the snow in shadow. Once I had that medium blue, I pretty much used it for all the snow areas, tough I didn't do details--just the larger blue areas and some of the bigger snow shapes in the trees. I added a greener blue to the foreground shadows first, to pop them forward, and used yellow for the snow.

I didn't use ANY white until I was virtually finished with the painting. Just put your white away where you can't see it and paint using all the light colors you want. That way, when you finish, if you need some highlights in the snow, you can add the white over the top. (The only exception to this would be if you're working on a paper that has no tooth to speak of, such as Canson, in which case you have to build the white into the whole thing from the get-go.)

I used some oranges and golds beneath the snazzy little tree to get my eye over there and have some fun. The color of the snow in that tree is that same pale cobalt blue, with some sparkly yellow added in the sunlight. Contrast is what it's all about there.

I used my darkest green on the nearest juniper bush, and repeated the green-blue of the snow shadows inside it to keep it coming forward. This was a danger spot, where the very dark, dark green resides on top of the lightest yellow snow. It's so easy to make it muddy! I have my little foam brush at hand and erase away anything mucky so I can keep pure colors there. The trick is to establish the yellow colors behind the branches first (you have to paint what's behind before you paint what's in front,) leaving gaps for the dark branches, and then adding the dark green strokes over the top with a sure hand. Blow it? Wipe and repeat it! Trust me, it happens...

The same kind of approach works where the spindly bare branches emerge from the snow, to the bottom left of the tree, except that I used one of those delish Ludwig purples there to quickly sketch in the shapes over the already established snow. That adds some nice attraction to the area, but I resisted the urge to add more in other spots as seen in the photo. Too much would simply distract your eye!

The other 'last touches' were the little dibs and dabs of snow held in the branches. I added the dark contrasting pine needle shapes over some of these, and may yet do a bit more of that. I'm not declaring it totally finished yet!

Anyway, I hope that helps you some with snow. I'd be happy to see your snow paintings here, too! Please repost anything that I blew past yesterday, if you want to. I was pretty busy with class...but I'm interested and loved seeing some of your examples!!! If anyone has any further thoughts or questions, please feel free to ask and discuss, just as we have been.

Let me get the ball rolling with a sample painting I did:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Oct-2008/23609-snowy_branches.jpg
I just had a last with the colors of the snow and shadows here! My bad photo has muted the color of the foreground snow, so maybe I'll try to re-shoot it. :p As a photographer I make a good painter.

Okay, gang, please share your snow paintings. Any time you want to post one here is fine. :wave:

Deborah

Dot Hoffman
10-18-2008, 11:56 AM
I want you to know, Deborah's class on Thursday was awesome. She makes it look so easy, and I struggled so much that although she said my poor attempt was a good start (bless her), I think I'm going to end up erasing most of what I did, and try again.

She explained in depth what happens to colors in snow scenes, and captured all of it here. This thread is so valuable that I'm printing out the whole thing (26 pages to this point!!!) to keep as a reference. Deborah, your spirit of sharing your knowledge is awesome and I know I speak for many when I say we are so grateful.

Thank you Deborah.....this one class was worth the price of the series!!!

Deborah Secor
10-18-2008, 12:54 PM
Wow--that's nice to hear, Dot. Thank you. :o :thumbsup:

I hope Dot will eventually be willing to post her painting here--after changes or not! Dot, I think you're waaaay too self-critical. What you had done with the distant trees on the hillside was working with a little additional color work!!!

I wanted to post some pictures here that you all might want to use for some snow studies. I decided not to post all my own shots because obviously it's all New Mexico and not necessarily typical of other places. It's best to use YOUR OWN shots, if you have some, but to get the ball rolling more I propose those attached below. I tried to choose things I thought would challenge you to apply some of the things I've talked about here.

I also want to thank all the people who contributed so many beautiful images to the RIL's Winter section under Landscapes. I was blown away at the number of good photos there for us to use... check it out, if you haven't already!

Okay, I'm really hoping to see some paintings from you guys!
Deborah

robertsloan2
10-18-2008, 06:56 PM
Thanks for the great references, Deborah. I copied them off and noticed familiar names, I think these are all from the RIL. I love being able to find anything I want in the reference library.

I've been planning my snow scene and may do one of these or dare try one from imagination/memory. I might try an imagination piece small, and if it comes out well then develop it larger.

maw-t
10-18-2008, 08:45 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Oct-2008/76639-snowroad.jpg WOnderful thread! So much info.. what a great opportunity to take a class from you Deborah! Thank you.. I read each post & studied the beautiful paintings & pics... have been out of town & this thread was so inspiring, that I couldnt wait to dive in... Your demo is GORGEOUS... I started this one today on some dark blue suede matboard... I am at a stand still on it.. so any help from the teach or anyone else would be great! I tried to THINK..(brain strain) I thought about the colors & values.. I have a hard time vearing from the photo with color, and wish I was more creative in that area, ...Oooh this is just so FuN!

robertsloan2
10-18-2008, 09:07 PM
T, that's beautiful. You chose the same reference I started. I got distracted by some off site responsibilities for hours but came back and decided to do a small one on a reference first before I attempt my snowman. I haven't gotten nearly as far as yours, yours is just gorgeous.

Here's the sketch for mine on 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" Colourfix in a slightly purplish gray. I did the sketch in white so it can vanish if the sketch lines go under white or light areas, and then jotted in the darks with a couple of Nupastels in the distance so I'd remember those and not get confused in the distance.

I'll be doing this in Nupastels and pastel pencils mostly, but may get in with some other pastels in the final layers. I used the first reference too but didn't change the orientation.

413014

I looked at the sketch carefully and started shading it in with a dark gray and the white, to remember where the values are. So this is the grisaille value sketch:

413025

I'll block in color next and then start doing more color and the details. I figured the light colors might go better over white than the dark dark gray. But I could be wrong on this. I'm doing this little one first and then may try the scene again on 5" x 7" Pastelbord.

robertsloan2
10-18-2008, 10:31 PM
Next stage on my little snow scene, I started from the top down and used color. I remembered what I read in Deborah's clouds thread and mixed pale colors for the clouds, started with a pale yellow and then some orange and green and light purple and back to pale yellow with some pink in -- just kept mixing dark colors till I had clouds that were muted but colorful.

I mixed a neutral blob behind where all those little branches are covered with snow on the deciduous trees because detail gets lost back there but it seems to block out the sky in them, and did the sky in about five colors of blue to shade down. I did the sky and then did clouds onto it so the blue would mix into the clouds too.

Then I did all the shadows with a rough layer of light blue and a little purple and a little mid blue over it, skipping the white areas where I'll layer light colors for snow. I decided to get in the pines with a dark pine green and put some olive highlights on them and a little sort of yellowish olive highlights on the brightest tree.

I haven't put snow clumps yet or blended anything yet. This is all just pushing color around with the corners of Nupastels on Colourfix, and I had fun changing the colors over and over to mix optical grays. Sort of grayishness anyway. Mutedness. Grayedness. I want this to be a very colorful snow scene and I'll get to the pretty light colors in the foreground and mid ground while refining it.

But I think I need to do tree details sketched over my blobs before I work down that far in detail. At least now I can see what everything is though! I put a little streak of the purple into the distant green treeline and like that as it is, also the accidental color the mountains came out with a little of this and that. So I'll work on mid and foreground now. I think the background's pretty much done.

Comments and critique would be very helpful on this! Seriously, have I goofed it up doing vague muted-neutrals blobs where all the clumped-snow tangle of branches is going? It looked sort of like that in the photo and I know it'll be a little lighter when I put snow blobs on it.

I tried to stick to "work dark to light" on this in all this coloring.

413028

WC Lee
10-19-2008, 12:42 AM
Giving this a try :) my first attempt at painting snow ... done on Wallis, 3 x 3.5

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Oct-2008/122017-sketch01418.jpg

robertsloan2
10-19-2008, 01:02 AM
WC, that is beautiful. I love how you changed the trees and gave them some warmth. I love seeing the variations on the same reference.

Semele
10-19-2008, 11:10 AM
I'm coming into this late -- I just realized that this thread exists. I'd love to try paint a snow scene, so sign me up! I find the color talk here interesting and educational. Thanks so much Deborah for going to all this effort for us.

I'd like to add my own take on sunlight/seasonal color. Part of my college education involved a class called "Physics of Light and Color". It wasn't fun. I did exceptionally well, but I had to learn a lot of formulas that made my head hurt. :cool: I did find out some interesting facts along the way and a few of them might help here.

Colorix mentioned that further south the sunlight is greener. She's right but not for the reason she might think (sorry Colorix, not picking on you). Sunlight is greener than most people think, period. While we do have a yellow sun, it's a greenish yellow as opposed to pure or leaning red. Light measured from different areas of the world reads with different "color" components of the light spectrum because of atmospheric filtering, and this filtering is dependent on physical location and season. Here are some important bits to this equation:

Our atmosphere filters out the longest wavelengths of light first, medium second, etc. The longest wavelengths in the light spectrum are in the red family, yellow next, then green, then blue is the shortest.

Sunlight strikes the equator more directly and with less filtering, so starting from the equator the sun has close to its full green component, but as you move away it has more and more blue as the atmosphere filters out the longer wavelengths of light (this is where Colorix nailed it in saying that the south has greener light -- less atmosphere means more direct and more "pure color" sunlight). This means, of course, that the further north you are, the cooler the ambient light when the sun is directly overhead.

In the winter the earth is tilted away from the sun in that hemisphere and sunlight reaching the ground has moved through more layers of atmosphere to get to that point, so the light tends to be much cooler. The yellow component is often almost completely gone and the green component is affected by the strength of the ambient blues and grays and has a much cooler effect. Add that together, and winter light in the north is very blue, but winter light near the equator at midday coming from a clear sky is affected very little by the season.

Buried in all that is the base for the reason that blues and grays are so enhanced by winter light when out in the open, and why they pop more in the shadows on a clear summer day. Also, it's the reason that we rarely see strong, warm green (in the north) in the winter, but rather cool or gray greens, even in those objects that are the same color year-round (houses, pines, etc.). Also, it's why the dizzying array of greens in the tropics are so stunning -- the green component of the strong yellow sunlight plays them up to their fullest. Yellow light enhances the effect of "warm" objects in sunlight, while the cool blue of the sky filtering into the shadows enhances the cool objects there (think of a gray hosta that seems breathtakingly blue in the shadows in midsummer). Blue, or cool, light of northern winters enhances gray or blue items and can make them intensely blue or even silvery and radiant, while warmly colored objects are usually dulled (or at the very least not enhanced).

This is all only somewhat related to what Deb and others are saying about what colors drop out of the picture (literally! :D ) as your eyes "move" further into the background of a scene. In this instance it's the atmosphere between yourself and the objects you're looking at that make a difference, not the filtering of the sunlight from star to earth.

You'll note that if this atmospheric filtering rule were applied strictly across the board in this situation, red would be the first color to disappear in the distance, then yellow, then green to blue. Instead, artistically speaking, we have yellow dropping out, then red, then green to blue.

I've seen a number of theories to try to explain this, and I'll share my favorite two:

1. Yellow doesn't really drop out first, but we're programmed to think of sunny yellow as the "warmest" color in a natural situation, followed by red, etc. Given that, and wanting to have visual rules that make sense of the world, we put sunny yellow at the extreme opposite of cool watery blue and use this rule to help make atmospheric artistic decisions seem right emotionally.

2. Yellow is a visually fragile color that is easily influenced by its surroundings. If you take shadows as an example, in a warm light/cool shadows situation red is made darker by shadows and may be bluer, but it's still red or in the red family; blue is made darker by shadows, but it's still blue; green is made bluer but is usually still classified as green (or a greenish blue); yellow, on the other hand, is instantly not yellow in shadows.

The same idea holds true for cool light/warm shadows, only in that situation yellow in shadows almost instantly falls into the orange or orange-red category. In fact, yellow is really only yellow in direct light. A deep wine red is still red. A deep yellow is either olive or brown, depending on its place in the spectrum and the color temperature of the shadows. Now, I'm mixing visuals and psychology there, but I'm sure you understand what I mean. The idea here is that as yellow objects recede from you, the "fragility" of the color is overwhelmed by its surroundings and it blends visually, becoming subject to the influences of every other color around it (i.e. nearby blues make it greener, nearby reds make it more orange).

This doesn't apply in mass situations, obviously. A field chock full of yellow flowers is very yellow. A field of dead grasses in direct sunlight can be strongly gold (yellow).

I love Deb's painting, and I think she does a fantastic job of pointing out what a strong artistic sense can do for the color of a scene. She made her sunlit snow much more yellow than the reference and it's perfect, but as someone else pointed out, it is definitely warmer and "happier" than the reality. It's definitely our jobs as artists to make something look the way we want it to, to enhance the visual components that struck us most or to play up parts for emphasis, so all the things I said in the paragraphs above are only meant to help evaluate a scene, not to give hard and fast rules to how things should be depicted.

FWIW, I love the Brad Faegre piece. I actually said "whoa" when I panned down to it. I like it so much because it reminds me of those days in Michigan when winter wasn't so much fun-in-the-snow as it was a force -- literally -- of nature. The days where you felt the light of the day deep in your chest, and you were instantly small and insignificant. Days like that made me understand why the ancients personified natural events. When a winter day feels like it needs to be appeased, in that moment I have a sense of my true significance in this world, and it's humbling. Love it.

TurkeyVulture
10-19-2008, 11:26 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Oct-2008/23609-27McKinley-finished-snow-pastel.jpg
Richard McKinley




I'd love to know whether these appeal to you, maybe which is your favorite and why.

Which one looks snowiest? What tells you it's snow and not sand?




I think Richard McKinley's appeals to me the most, not just because of the way the snow is done but because the overall style of his painting strikes me as something I'd love to hang on my wall and admire for many years. This one also looked the snowiest to me. I think what tells me it's snow is the coolness of the colors and the reflected light.

Cool thread! :)

Colorix
10-19-2008, 02:59 PM
Hi Semele, wow, you certainly know your stuff. (What's 'worse' -- you *remember* it.) :-) No picking taken -- lLove to have facts right, even if I never actually remember more than where to look it up. As you know a lot, and may be interested, I got my idea from a Bruce MacEvoy who wrote:
the wavelength that matches sunlight is about 530 nm. Sunlight is not yellow, it is green! .... ..."green" light shifts all "red" wavelengths toward yellow and all "blue" wavelengths toward blue green (cerulean).

...solar light does not appear to be green, but either white or faintly yellow. In part this occurs because our eyes easily adapt to the total daylight illumination as the standard for "white" light, and this adaptation is to a white point that resembles one of the CIE daylight illuminants, usually D65, that are slightly bluer than direct sunlight, which by contrast appears a pale amber or orange. ....the "yellow" or "yellow green" chromaticities are closest to the eye's native achromatic point, so the feeble chromaticity is swamped by the light intensity.

and

The prereceptoral filtering in the lens and macular pigment, and in the yellow tint of bleached photopigment, which combine to filter out more than half the "blue" and "violet" light below 470 nm.


Fascinatingly difficult, and I may have understood the guy wrong, as it is too technical for me. But, I read it, as I'm interested in gleaning 'gems' from stuff like that.

Charlie

Deborah Secor
10-19-2008, 04:57 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Oct-2008/76639-snowroad.jpg WOnderful thread! So much info.. what a great opportunity to take a class from you Deborah! Thank you.. I read each post & studied the beautiful paintings & pics... have been out of town & this thread was so inspiring, that I couldnt wait to dive in... Your demo is GORGEOUS... I started this one today on some dark blue suede matboard... I am at a stand still on it.. so any help from the teach or anyone else would be great! I tried to THINK..(brain strain) I thought about the colors & values.. I have a hard time vearing from the photo with color, and wish I was more creative in that area, ...Oooh this is just so FuN!

I really like the painting, T! Glad the lesson made you think and it looks as if it's working for you, too. Maybe you've already moved on and made some changes but I want to say that it has real strength of color, something I really love to see in a snow painting. It certainly isn't coming off as 'black and white'!

If you'll reshape some of the light areas in the foreground plane so that they are less striped I think you'd get more of a sense of distance. The light on the snow just behind the first grouping of shadows is the best candidate, IMHO. If it was massed into one larger light shape it would allow the smaller ones behind it to seem farther off.

I also think you could lighten the distant dark areas above the end of the roadway a tad. That will give depth, too.

Looking good--keep going!

Deborah

Tressa
10-19-2008, 06:10 PM
Here is one I did few years ago using charcoal underpainting, a darker blue, midtone blue and and light blue.
413107

Deborah Secor
10-19-2008, 07:46 PM
I'll be around again in the morning--so much to comment on! Thanks everyone. This is a really interesting discussion and I'm loving the paintings, too! :wave:

Deborah

robertsloan2
10-19-2008, 09:47 PM
Finished my snow scene. It's 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" on purplish gray Colourfix with more layers of pastel pencil than I care to think about. I had to use white to lighten some areas enough but it was just as a lightener, it never went all the way to white on any of them. All the lights are colors. There is no actual white or black in it.

413125

WC Lee
10-19-2008, 11:26 PM
T: good work :) I like your interpretation .. looks like a storm is approaching.

Tressa: nice :) but now you have to one to see how it compares to a few years ago

Robert: nice finish :)

---

I forgot to mention that I planned on mine being done with the 6 color palette I have been using but I cheated and got another color :D I just didn't have a color light enough to represent the lightest part of the snow :D

robertsloan2
10-20-2008, 12:07 AM
Wow, WC... I didn't even think of trying to do it in a limited palette. I think I used about 50 different colors to get mine, a dozen just to get the neutral blobs just right. I probably handled about half the light colors I own in both sets to do this scene.

Yours is great!

Tressa
10-20-2008, 06:30 AM
LOL, I'll try! I want to do more of these, I actually prefer winter scenes to fall! And is coming quickly here! uggh, very chilly here this morning!

Deborah Secor
10-20-2008, 09:43 AM
413028

Robert, I think this is quite rich and lovely--and so small! I'm enjoying the sky color you have going there... It will be nice to see how you resolve the trees, too. As far as I'm concerned you're right on track with the snow. Have fun!

Deborah

Deborah Secor
10-20-2008, 09:44 AM
Giving this a try :) my first attempt at painting snow ... done on Wallis, 3 x 3.5

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Oct-2008/122017-sketch01418.jpg

W.C. it's delightful! Another teensy one! I really like the palette you're using here, too. I think you need to paint more snow...

Deborah

Deborah Secor
10-20-2008, 10:01 AM
Semele, I can't go without commenting on your additions to the discussion of the color of the sun. Of course, I know you're absolutely right and have always been interested in the physics (sans the arithmetic) of light and color. I had a wonderful student, a scientist at the Sandi National Labs, who consulted with me on this issue quite frequently. He was the one that first pointed out to me that the color yellow has been mythologized as fading first, when in fact if it is intense enough it stands out of the crowd--witness signs with yellow, red, orange components in brilliant light, or our yellow school buses, traffic signs, etc. However, in nature the color does appear to desaturate quickly, and snow features this particularly because it's light in value. It was my scientist friend who taught me about the physics of white, that it truly turns a dull pink optically, rather than the observable yellowing that's clearly influenced by pollution in the atmosphere. If you look at paintings done over 150 years ago you don't find the yellow component in distant clouds or on snow!

At any rate, I thank you for the clarification, and will add to my files what you observed here. I find that in understanding the reasons for things I can further clarify why I do what I do, which helps make me a better teacher (once I've figured out how to simplify things, both for myself and my students.)

Oh--and I love the Faegre piece, too, but because I respond to his lovely blocky strokes and strong responsive color work, not to mention that palette of colors.

Glad you've joined in and I hope we see some snow paintings from you, too!
Deborah

Deborah Secor
10-20-2008, 10:21 AM
Here is one I did few years ago using charcoal underpainting, a darker blue, midtone blue and and light blue.
413107

Love this one, Tress! The charcoal gives it a nice strong dark underpinning. Great graphic quality.

Deborah

Deborah Secor
10-20-2008, 10:27 AM
413125

Kewl finish, Robert! Yes, white is useful in snow but it often isn't as needed as we think. Love the colors in the bare trees.

Deborah

Deborah Secor
10-20-2008, 10:34 AM
I thought I'd look at some more paintings, these by
Carlson
Carlson
Lorenzo Chavez
Marc Hanson
Kim Lordier

(in that order, I hope!)

Deborah

ElsieH
10-20-2008, 11:03 AM
:wave: Oooooo! Lots of lovely examples being shown! I'm motivated!
I have recovered pretty well from my bronchitis and lung infection so I'm going to try some pastel dust today! :lol:
Good work, ya'll!:clap:

Thanks, Deborah, for the reminder of the resources of the WC reference library!

Also, Deborah, thanks for posting the examples from Carlson.
As I posted earlier, I'm back reading my copy of Carlson's lanscape book
slowly and carefully. But, what struck my as I've been studying is low rich our printed world has become over the years! Carlson's book has a cover with one of his paintings in color. But, within the text, they are all black and white!
When I first started teaching in 1962, children's books were printed often with one or two colors with sort of "poster" like illustrations. A stop by your favorite book shop will show you just how many well illustrated, well painted works of art go into books these days. I think, also, of all the Northlight and other publisher's wealth of art books with fabulous colored examples to inspire us. To see Carlson's work is a real joy!
So...this week "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!":music: :music: ...at least in you studio on the paper! :lol:

Judibelle
10-20-2008, 03:37 PM
Hi Deborah (and all)....I've been reading this thread from the beginning, but havent done any snow scenes....til today.
This is from a photo I took a couple of years ago.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Oct-2008/103700-scan0020.jpg__snow_scene_field.jpg
C&C welcomed and appreciated
JB

robertsloan2
10-20-2008, 06:17 PM
Wow, thank you, Deborah!

Snow Scene sold off my blog as I was posting the stages to my daily art group. I warned my client that I might be making some last minute changes due to excellent critique, but after seeing your comment I was just soaring. My heart skyrocketed. I honestly wasn't sure how well that worked because I was doing things I'd never tried before - the cotton ball blocking in before detailing was my big risk in this one.

I used your clouds class color suggestions to create the muted neutral of the cotton balls, and it helped a lot! I didn't blend them completely either, but did them like your examples with a little more violet here and a little more orange there and a little more green there, to let the color vary a bit. Detailing over it was tough but I got some blue sky-holes in the hard way with pastel pencils almost drilling them in sometimes.

Thank you so much for teaching!

I love all the examples you posted, Carlson's and the others. What struck me looking at all of them grouped was how the time of day, the weather, the temperature was dramatically different in all of them. A snow scene isn't just generic. It's afternoon or morning, overcast or sunny, more northern or southern, it's always unique.

Carlson's first one is a nice winter day when it's late afternoon just thinking about sunset and not quite there yet. The time of day the light gets all golden and I think of painting. It's very still and that soft clumpy snow is partly melting in the last of the afternoon heat. I can hear faint little drips plopping in it. Day creatures like deer or rabbits are still around, lynxes and bobcats are stretching and lazily considering a twilight hunt.

The snow is distinctly that sunny deep-afternoon golden color and the shadows have a strong tint of evening blue. The trunks are dark and a little snow is coming down, mostly from being shaken loose from branches. The light is too golden for it to be overcast and actually snowing.

Carlson's second one is a more overcast day, cold and wet, the type of day you get water coming up into your boots and freeze your toes off walking around. Slushy weather. Much more muted colors. Much lower visibility with some fog going on, some dampness. I looked close at the sky and the cloud cover isn't complete, there are hints of very cold northern blue but the clouds are almost the same value. So maybe "partly cloudy" is turning into "40% chance of freezing rain or sleet."

Lorenzo Chavez took me way out West to Montana or the Dakotas, somewhere the Rockies are close and the air is crisp and arid. It feels chilly even though the snow is melting into that creek and giving some needed life to the dried winter grasses. This could be spring hitting near the Rockies. The early spring where it's only nice out if you're healthy and vigorous and like cold weather.

Morning mist is burning off in Marc Hanson's painting. It has something neat with the cold foreground and yellowed sun patches in the middle ground, that morning mist is in shadow and will soon be turning into a brighter day. Hilly country like Virginia or places I've been on the East Coast. I like the dramatic slanting hillsides.

Kim Lordier's lakeside could be anywhere from the Midwest to Oregon and those places, it's a beautiful lake in a forested area in the winter. It looks cheery. It looks happy. It looks like "going up to the cabin on vacation." Soft thick fluffy snow looks like playtime, but the lake if iced over has only thin ice and is very dark and reflective. Looks like it's warm enough for open water and playing in the snow, one of those nice days at the warm side of winter snowy seasons. Maybe early winter before the lakes really freeze.

Kim's light is more pinkish, yet doesn't seem like sunset light. More like midday but the sun isn't as high on the horizon as it gets in the summer. That has to add to the color shifting too, the way a winter sun doesn't reach the heights even at noon that it does in summer.

When I used to ski in Illinois and Wisconsin in high school -- not well but I enjoyed it and goofed around a lot -- I used to see the ski places look that way in the afternoon, midafternoon. The sunlight would look pinkish orangy on the snow, with bright cheery blue and violet shadows. It's a warm happy believable scene of a park or wilderness sanctuary, one of those great places any of us might love to go for some plein air.

All of these painters take me there. Every one of these paintings reads truer than a photograph. I think I am beginning to understand why pastels are described as "luminous" and how many limitations photography has. I can't wait to read what you have to say about how they do it!

Deborah Secor
10-21-2008, 09:23 AM
Hi Deborah (and all)....I've been reading this thread from the beginning, but havent done any snow scenes....til today.
This is from a photo I took a couple of years ago.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Oct-2008/103700-scan0020.jpg__snow_scene_field.jpg
C&C welcomed and appreciated
JB

Good job, JB. You really caught the color of the sky, a rich blue that isn't dark, and how it's reflecting back into the snow. The contrast in the trees is good, but I wonder if you could maybe add some more contrasting shadows into the snow area, particularly where the buildings are casting shadows. I'm not quite sure where the sun is coming from...the left, I think...

If you want to play with the composition, you might turn the painting upside down and notice how it's got three bands, sky, trees and snow. The buildings become part of the snow shape, which is very interesting. Maybe you could vary the heights of the trees, allowing more of the sky to peek through, raising or lowering some so that you give a more interesting shape to the sky section, too. It may be just how it looked, but right now the tree line is too much the same as the line of the snow bank.

Glad you shared--do more snow paintings! :thumbsup:

Congrats on the sale, Robert! That's always fun...

I agree, and part of the reason I showed all these different artists was to emphasize exactly what you observed. Snow isn't just a one-trick pony. You can find all sorts of conditions and colors and compositions to paint.

Keep 'em coming, gang!

Deborah

Judibelle
10-21-2008, 05:13 PM
thanks, Deborah....I didnt get to do any sketching today, but tomorrow I will try what you suggested. This is a great thread. I have several other snow scenes which I have not tried to paint, but will now...
JB

robertsloan2
10-21-2008, 06:10 PM
I am sketching and planning for my "snowman" imaginary snow scene, and I'll see if I can get a preliminary value drawing done today.

It hit me this minute while posting that if I do the value drawing in a monochrome blue-violet, that should give a vague idea of what the painting will look like too. So I'll work with a tinted charcoal pencil on a sketchbook page and see what I get. I'm ready for that leap of leaving references behind, at least to try it!

My first try turned into a completely different scene. Maybe I shouldn't have started with the big pine on the right. The snowman did not come in as a major focal point and I didn't really have room for the children. But I did create a landscape completely from imagination and memory.

I would appreciate C&C on this sketch since I would like to get to where I can create snow scenes from imagination and memory. Any suggestions will be helpful whether I try them on this one or sketch them as themselves. I'll keep trying till I have one I like to develop. Might try color sketching too as if I was doing plein air, with the pastel pencils.

413357

If this is plausible, please let me know. If it's not, please let me know why. Color is "Thistle" tinted charcoal pencil on sketchbook paper.

Deborah Secor
10-21-2008, 07:16 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Oct-2008/23609-robert.jpg

This is always my trick--nothing new, I suspect, but I still find it helpful. I'd just make sure you don't have any key elements like the peak of that roof smack in the middle.

You certainly have already suggested snow, and lots of it, I must say! The large snowy tree is pretty overwhelming...but an effective way to create depth at the same time. Maybe you could try a couple different versions with the tree smaller, or differently shaped.

I had to search to find your snowman in the sketch. A red cap would change everything, of course.

Have fun!

Deborah

fio44
10-21-2008, 07:45 PM
[QUOTE=Deborah Secor]Glad you all are in, but help me out here...! Tell me what you have to do to paint snow effectively? Tress said contrast of light and shadows. I mentioned colors.

I have to agree with Tress about the contrast of light and shadow. I think too the subtle color or value shifts go a long way toward making snow look right. One thing about painting snow, especially a sunny day is that the reflections of light off the snow crytals will force one to do that thing that helps an artist to discern and pull about the subtle aspects of a seen "squint"

Living here in the Northeast and having spent a good portion of my younger days playing ice hockey gives me a special appreciation for snow and winter. Here for you is a link to a snow picture I've done:

http://www.fioravanti-fineart.com/art_winters_glow_o.htm

(I've recently completed another, but have yet to post it online)

Deborah Secor
10-21-2008, 08:36 PM
Jeff, that is a spectacularly beautiful painting! What size is it, and what paper did you use? I love the warm light on the rocks and tree. Your choice of the blues is perfect--delicate and descriptive. Thanks for sharing it!

Deborah

robertsloan2
10-21-2008, 09:01 PM
Deb, thank you for showing me that trick! It's new to me. I hadn't thought of turning it upside down and quartering it -- if I develop this one I'll definitely move that garage roof peak over.

I like the big near ground tree and may use that in one landscape and the rest in another, this almost breaks down that way to me. Doing it smaller or just moving to the left in this scene would reduce it without eliminating it, and leave the "across the street scene" happening.

Thanks for the point about a red hat on the snowman. If I did draw this a little larger, put a child or two in the small yard and put a red hat on the snowman that would make it much more of a focal point.

I think I might redo it starting by putting the snowman in at the focal point by Rule of Thirds, with a red hat (or at least dark one in a monochrome to tell that it'll be red) and then work outward from the snowman, shoving the garage off down the street and reducing the tree for that scene.

I think if I do another sketch with the big foreground tree as a main element and some other trees in the middle ground, then a background going off into the distance in a much simpler scene, I might have something there. Like I have two pictures knitted together in this sketch and either would be a good snow scene painting, but they are not really part of each other.

robertsloan2
10-21-2008, 09:04 PM
Jeff, that snow scene is beautiful. I love all the tracks and the way you captured the texture with all those light beautiful colors. I grew up in a snowy state and I can feel it from looking at your painting. I can see the depth of the snow and the kind of snow it is -- the packing kind, with a little thin layer of powder on top of it. The tracks crunch right down through the powder.

This is tempting me to dare try something completely different and do one of bird tracks around a feeder -- one of the most vivid snow memories I have of my life, because we always had a bird feeder and in the winter their tracks around it were freaky. They would be very shallow and crisscross everywhere.

fio44
10-22-2008, 06:00 AM
Jeff, that is a spectacularly beautiful painting! What size is it, and what paper did you use? I love the warm light on the rocks and tree. Your choice of the blues is perfect--delicate and descriptive. Thanks for sharing it!

Deborah

Thank you Deborah! The finished size is 16 x 23.5 and was done on Art Spectrum paper: Terracotta. Most of my work these days is done on that paper,or Kitty Wallis, which I tone to either Burnt Sienna or Raw Sienna. I like how those tones interplay with the applied layers, especially with the cool blues and greens and in the shadows.

fio44
10-22-2008, 06:04 AM
Jeff, that snow scene is beautiful. I love all the tracks and the way you captured the texture with all those light beautiful colors. I grew up in a snowy state and I can feel it from looking at your painting. I can see the depth of the snow and the kind of snow it is -- the packing kind, with a little thin layer of powder on top of it. The tracks crunch right down through the powder.

This is tempting me to dare try something completely different and do one of bird tracks around a feeder -- one of the most vivid snow memories I have of my life, because we always had a bird feeder and in the winter their tracks around it were freaky. They would be very shallow and crisscross everywhere.

Hi Robert,

Thanks for the kind words. This scene is about a 1/4 mile from my front door. I have approximately 2200 acres of woodlands down the street. You see all kinds of interesting effects in the snow, from dripping, melting snow, wind shifts, and of course, animals and people who have left their mark.

I think your idea about the tracks around the bird feeder would be quite interesting and offers a great number of possibilities. I'll look forward to seeing the results.

Sonni
10-22-2008, 03:36 PM
Looking for advice on painting snow and see there are some really nice examples here... Guess I should check out this part of the world more frequently.:o

My favorite artist for doing snow is McKinley. He puts you right in it. I only wish I could paint half as good as he does. Just to watch the guy paint is a treat. That said, here's my miserable attempt last year--I see I have a lot to learn. I did it to use as a holiday greetings card-- from a photo...stand out in it :eek: and paint? Not me.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Oct-2008/111873-2007_winter_snow_cabin__.jpg

Deborah Secor
10-22-2008, 04:24 PM
Sonni, it sure has a cold look to it--I can feel that wind howl! I find it hard to paint falling snow and I think you've done a really good job of conveying it without getting trite. Enough, not too much--not 'tricky' looking, which I like. It could be any time, until you see that car tucked int here. Nice composition, too.

What, you don't plan a winter plein air session? (Me neither. :rolleyes:)

I hope you've found some ideas and thoughts here...
Deborah

robertsloan2
10-22-2008, 06:24 PM
Sonni, it looks cold and miserable with ice frozen under snow. You got powder on the roof, a new snowfall drifting over and hiding the kind of dark ice that people skid on or trip and break their leg. It's bad weather. What this painting has not succeeded in is being a pretty jolly happy holiday snow scene, it has too much power and strong realism for that.

I like those browns going right up into the snow, the sagging flattened icy mounds of it that used to look like Deborah's snow scene a week ago, melted on the pretty golden rosy day, and then refroze hard in a cold wind that night. The roof looks like half the snow got blasted off and a dash of powder thrown on just to hide the ice patches.

This scene makes me think of frozen pipes busting and cars that don't start and days I shoved my fingers in my armpits - and that makes it wonderful and not trite.

The impression is backed up by so many little details. Even the snow falling is that thin small-flakes powder rather than the big clumping snowflakes. It's the hard face of winter, but it's a scene to remind survivors they have a reason to smile and be proud. The little house isn't falling in. The people in it probably did store gas, obviously do have a shovel and use it, and probably stocked up enough food to last till they can get out.

Hardship in the world of the painting isn't a bad thing. Your painting has some strength. I like the murky overcast color of the air and the light, without really seeing the sky you imply that leaden heavy winter clouds that have not let up in too long light. Very cool scene.

ElsieH
10-23-2008, 12:15 PM
:wave: Hi, All!

After a bout with bronchitis that had me away from the dusty pastels for
a few days, I got started on a snow scene yesterday. :clap:

I am not very far with it, but I decided to share my "in progress" state.

The right side, especially the road area and the back hill and side are very beginning. The left side of the light on the snow and the trees are further along.

Colorix
10-23-2008, 02:36 PM
Sonni, wonderful snow-flakes! Do you paint them in, or do you let dust fall on the painting and press it in?

Elsie, great start!

Deborah, LOL, I've scrupulously avoided two of the snow refs in a WDE. I *really* don't like the cold and wet white stuff, and wouldn't dream of even trying a plein air. But, I admitt, it can be very pretty. I only ever have done 3 snow-paintings (and one is an oil), but I guess I'll do some more, as people seem to like them, and I'm happy when I get to paint light -- snug and warm, indoors!

Have shown these during the past year on the Studio forum, but in the spirit of this thread, here they are:

From my own ref:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Oct-2008/117343-Winter_Woods_m_iz.jpg

Ref from RIL:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Oct-2008/117343-Snowscape_tree_m_PS_isize_snow.jpg

Changed the height of tree to stick up *over* the cloud, but didn't take pic of changes.

Near snow in shadow is a wee bit off, as the light is a bit too yellow (have developed my PS skills since), but there are mostly warmish blues and blue-greens there. Distant snow in shadow is more blue and violet-blue. Sun in light progresses from a pale (paler than in the photo) yellow over peachy to pinky. As I'm following the school that lets yellow represent the brightest light, the near snow isn't white.

Both sold, so I guess people *really* like snowscenes.

I'm planning on another, but the glories of the autumn are still very alluring, so I'll se what I decide.

Cool thread! :D (I just couldn't resist... bad me... :lol: )

Charlie

Sonni
10-24-2008, 02:03 AM
Robert...all that? You pretty much got the mood. Thanks for your commentary; I enjoyed it. The place is actually up the hill from me, where it is just as you suggest in the winter. People do live there and are periodically snowbound. The snow is sometimes blowing ice and you want a down comforter with the highest loft possible.

Sonni
10-24-2008, 02:06 AM
Thanks Deborah--I've gotten some helpful ideas. The closest I'll get to plein air snow painting is from my window, should it snow. And sometimes it does.

Charlie--I scraped a stick of off-white pastel over the painting :smug: . I don't know how to paint snowflakes.

robertsloan2
10-24-2008, 03:37 AM
Robert...all that? You pretty much got the mood. Thanks for your commentary; I enjoyed it. The place is actually up the hill from me, where it is just as you suggest in the winter. People do live there and are periodically snowbound. The snow is sometimes blowing ice and you want a down comforter with the highest loft possible.

I'd say that means you got the mood down perfect. I'm a writer and words tend to run away with me sometimes.

robertsloan2
10-24-2008, 04:03 AM
Charlie, I love the colors in your snow scenes. They are so vibrant and have such strong values. The one you did from your own reference is especially powerful.

Elsie, yours is coming along cool. I like the snow on the left where you've got it brightened up, the colors are lovely. I can see that it's rough but it's becoming a great scene.

fio44
10-24-2008, 05:17 AM
That said, here's my miserable attempt last year--I see I have a lot to learn. I did it to use as a holiday greetings card-- from a photo...stand out in it :eek: and paint? Not me.


Hi Sonni,

I think you have some very nice things going with this piece. I really like the way the colors play off each other, and I like how you've used different edges for effect. I shall look forward to seeing more of your work and thank you for sharing.

Colorix
10-24-2008, 07:51 AM
Sonni, thanks! I 'suspected' scraping, and it is, IMHO, *the* best method of making falling snow. But, if you'd painted it, I wanted to know the secret! I figure that it might, just might, be possible to tap-tap flakes with a supersoftie, but I doubt it'll look as gorgeous as yours.

Rob, thanks!

Deborah Secor
10-24-2008, 09:27 AM
Hey, Elsie, I like the beginnings of this one! Keep going--we want to see the finished painting at some point, too.

I remember both of yours, Charlie, from showings here in the forum. Loooove the saturation and light in them! So glad you shared them here, too. Ahem... "cool thread"...? Well, someone had to say it! :D

I think there's no effective way to dot in snow. Scraping is the only way I know of that looks authentic, but even that can look overly 'tricky' if not done with a spare hand. I've been known to scrape, wipe, repaint, scrape, wipe, repaint....until I finally decided not to use the falling snow effect at all!!!

Deborah

Sonni
10-24-2008, 01:10 PM
Charlie...I practiced first, but in the end it was serrendipity. Try it. You only need a little to get the idea across. Too much and it will look really contrived. I'd already created a "misty" snow in the background, which was in the photo, and thought, well, let's bump it up a bit and see what happens. After shaving the stick (with a mat knife) and letting the stuff fall and settle, I placed tracing paper over it and pressed lightly in spots. Then I spanked the back and some fell off. Some technique, huh? On the roof I scraped or brushed some of the snow off (can't remember which).

Thanks, Jeff. I appreciate your observations

Colorix
10-24-2008, 01:25 PM
Sonnie, I've tried it, once, sort of before I really got into pastels. It is a halo around a saint :angel: , and I had this gold-stick of Schmincke's I played with. I hope it is OK to post it, even if it isn't snow -- it is technique... Just to show the effect (that can be used for snow!) on plain gray Canson MT, as the little saint is vignetted. (It was a gift, for someone who really loves this little Saint Bernadette of Lourdes. A deacon, and it has pride of place (is that the word?) in his study.)

I scraped with a scalpel/small very sharp knife, and just let it drift down on the paper. Then I took a painting-knife and used it to press the dust firmly (and vertically) into the paper:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Oct-2008/117343-St_Bernadette_netsize.jpg

(Ref was bw, so I had to invent colour.)

Charlie

Sonni
10-24-2008, 01:35 PM
Here are a couple photos I took a couple years ago in Santa Fe. I thought they would make good snow studies, because they were abstract enough to keep from getting caught up with "things" and showed subtle texture and color changes. Just haven't gotten around to doing it. Anyone who wants to, can use them.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Oct-2008/111873-Santa_Fe-snow_on_small_pots490.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Oct-2008/111873-Santa_Fe_snow_study.jpg

and one from my deck last year
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Oct-2008/111873-March_snow_2007.jpg

robertsloan2
10-24-2008, 03:23 PM
Sonni, thanks for the beautiful reference photos and great falling snow technique. That makes sense that it'd work. I've used scraping specks off colored pencils for many effects and the only thing about pastels is that somehow the specks that land randomly need a reason to stick to the painting. Pressing with wax paper over it or pressing flat with a palette knife would do it.

Charlie, thank you for demonstrating the speck-pressing technique and mentioning that I could use a palette knife for it. I have one, it'd be no problem doing that.

I'm also wondering, since Pan Pastels behave so much like paint, if taking up a good wad of white or blue tint on a stiff brush and flicking it like an oil or watercolor spatter could work. Tempted to try it at the risk of causing a powdery mess.

I might also try dotting with a pastel pencil, depending on what it's going on and what else is under the snowflakes. This might make the big fat gloppy ones. I've succeeded in getting stars that way on a few pastels. Close focus large flakes might be possible, one or two for accents. Drawing a very short line no wider than the widest dot with a fine edge for seeing one of those big ones on edge now and then would be part of keeping that delicate.

Of course on something like a Christmas card there's always just painting the snowflake an inch or two wide in detail as a foreground element later...

jemgold
10-24-2008, 09:55 PM
Here is a painting I did last year from a photo taken by a friend.
I'm working on another one but it will be a few days before its complete.
This is "Pheasant Retriever".
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Oct-2008/31263-Pheasant_Retriever-small.jpg

robertsloan2
10-24-2008, 10:52 PM
I love that dog's expression and the brilliant colors on the pheasant. Can't wait to see your new one!

Colorix
10-25-2008, 06:33 AM
Carolyn, I don't know how you did it, but the snow looks soft warm and inviting! And the dog look happy to be working.

This painting is a great example of how placing something almost in the middle, there is no question about what is important. The 'rules' about thirds and such can be used the other way around: if we want to make it very obvious, then *do* place in center. We do that all the time, actually, with portraits, and this is a portrait of a dog, with a story and in a landscape.

Am also looking at your great handling of the grasses that stick up through the snow. Beautiful tiny shadows anchor them.

Charlie

Mary Brigid
10-25-2008, 03:37 PM
What a great class you have got going here Deborah. It is wonderful. Thank you for doing this. The paintings posted are fabulous. I was delighted to see a colour photo of John Carlson's paintings. I got the book ( took your wise advice) and loved it. Easy to read and understand.
I will try to get back here as I am determined to do my own Christmas card this year and I know I will learn a lot here.
thank you
Mary Brigid

Deborah Secor
10-25-2008, 03:57 PM
Sonni, thanks for sharing. That last one of the branch heavy with snow appeals to me a lot!

Carolyn, love the happy dog doing his job! Is the new one in snow, too?

Hiya, Mary Brigid! :wave: Come and play with us when you can... I think there will also be a Christmas Card challenge, or some such thread, around the holidays, which will help us all get fired up and finished.

Deborah

Sonni
10-25-2008, 04:11 PM
Deborah...well, do it. Then I can copy yours:D

fio44
10-25-2008, 04:44 PM
Hello All,

In a previous post I mentioned that I had completed recently another snow pastel, but had yet to post it on my web site; it's now up and can be found at the following link: http://www.fioravanti-fineart.com/art_serenity_o.htm

jemgold
10-25-2008, 04:47 PM
Robert, Thanks for your comments!
Charlie, Actually, I was afraid to post this one as I just went with what I saw in the photo with no rules. Now the other one will probably be all wrong:D
I sent a large print of this to the Golden Retriever Art Auction last year and it brought $700 which was a thrill (all donation).
Deborah, Yes it is a happy dog bring back that bird. The new one is in snow but no dog, only ducks. Maybe I'll have time to finish it tomorrow.

BetsyPriesing
10-26-2008, 10:46 AM
Hi Debra
I decided to try the snow class. Im not sure i picked the best photo though as it really doesn't have alot of values in it.
everyones paintings look like snow... :) not sand:) must be all the stuff in the trees! :)

Merethe T
10-26-2008, 12:07 PM
Ok, I boldly declared that I would do a snow scene, so I guess I'd better stick to it... ;)

This is my first shot at snow, and as I find landscapes hard in the first place I figured this would not be easy. And it isn't! I've read all the info in this thread - great thread! Been repeating the color theory loudly to myself while working, this is no time to experiment - gotta learn to crawl before you can walk, right...I'm having fun! I'm struggling with the colors, constantly - what blues to choose, what violet - keep reminding myself to be brave and dare to use strong colors. Not easy....

I'm working from one of my own old refs, don't know if I made it easier for myself, but this is all snow, a frozen little creek - don't need no trees or mountains just yet... :D
I'm not done by far, got some grass and more details to put in, but I'd like to hear what you think...it's a bad pic, it's dark outside and I had to use flash, the blues are not this strong in RL.

This is on Wallis, pretty large 17x14" maybe, Rembrandts, W&N, FC and Unisons.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2008/22081-IMG_1110_x550.jpg

Thank you for doing this class Deborah, it's excellent! :heart: :thumbsup:

Merethe

ElsieH
10-26-2008, 01:26 PM
:wave:

Oh, Merethe! That is a terrific statement of the cold feeling of winter!
It is sort of a calligraphy of snow, ice and cold.
Bold, yes! But, where I live in Wisconsin, winter can be very bold!
Thanks for sharing this!

Yesterday, I painted more on my snow scene and made some improvements.
Then as I was about to finish, I told my self, "You need more darks!"
Being pressed for time (not realizing it at the time), I grabbed a dark blue and dark green and did some quick marking in of values as needed.
I grabbed my camera and took some more photos. I did not have time to look at the photos until last evening. There on the computer screen I could more objectively look at the painting. Yes, I put what was needed in, but too hurriedly. They look like heavy "after-thoughts". I'm itching to go back in and treat the edges better. New use for digital photography....to look at your painting as if it is someone else's work. I was "too close" to see this in looking at the painting while I was working on it.
I'll show you what it looks like. Then I'll work some more and post again after I'm through.
Cheerio,
Elsie

Colorix
10-26-2008, 01:53 PM
Merethe, beutiful stark cold winter-painting. With more details, it will zing even more. I love the tiny footprints! I don't know why I'm thinking "Japanese", maybe it is the very delicate gradations, and the compositional simplicity (not 'simple', but well thought out).

Elsie, it is growing more and more wonderful! With a cheery light that is just so wintery!

Charlie

Sonni
10-26-2008, 03:46 PM
Hello All,

In a previous post I mentioned that I had completed recently another snow pastel, but had yet to post it on my web site; it's now up and can be found at the following link: http://www.fioravanti-fineart.com/art_serenity_o.htm

This is great. The abstract design and light application says :thumbsup:. Thanks for posting--I'm getting more interested by the minute in painting snow.

Sonni
10-26-2008, 03:50 PM
Merethe, you have such a strong abstract design :thumbsup: going on that I would be careful about what I put in it--and where I put it. It'll be interesting to see what you do.

robertsloan2
10-26-2008, 04:40 PM
Merethe, yours is so powerful as an abstract. The tiny row of footprints gives scale, makes this a daunting landscape like Greenland or Alaska or northern Canada, very powerful and of course darn tempting fantasy to the novelist! I did notice the footprints stop short of the edge of the painting, and that their shape is indistinct.

If there are a few marks like the flurry of wings on the snow around it, those could look like an animal got carried off by an owl. It reminds me of some tracks I saw in my yard as a kid where a big snowy owl would hunt from a branch way over the bird feeder. Almost every day we'd see animal tracks end in wing marks on the snow.

Merethe T
10-26-2008, 05:06 PM
Ah, Elsie - you're really getting a feel of cold there, good colors! You're using lots of strong blue too, guess there's no need to worry so much about going strong and bold.....great work, look forward to see what you're doing with it!

Charlie, Sonni, Robert, Elsie - thank you! You don't know how much it means to me to see your comments, I'm afraid I'm not very confident when it comes to landscape...it is hard! I like that you're getting an abstract feel for it, who'd have thought I could do anything near abstract - usually I tend to work very realistic. But gosh, I need a lot of practice in landscapes....
Robert, I enjoyed your comment, I like the images you describe - thank you!

I think I'm close to done, I've put in a little detail and smoothed out some edges. I'm having the hardest time getting a decent pic, tried a little adjustment in PS too - but it just doesn't come out right. I've used a minimal of pure white - a little in the footprints. Instead I've used a light yellow, light blues and violets, unfortunately it doesn't show in the photo. Strangely enough - I found the snow scene easier to do than the fall scene I had a go at a while ago...I'm fairly happy with the result of this, I'll do more and see if it gets easier next time... :D

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2008/22081-IMG_1121_edit_x550_.jpg

Deborah Secor
10-26-2008, 06:37 PM
Very nice, Merethe! Even if you struggled to think it through as you painted, it doesn't show. It seems effortless and natural--a good sign! The only thing jumping at me is the straight line of the dark shadow crossing at about the middle... I like it's location and how it describes the snow's shape, but it seems to be cutting into the snow as it makes the descent into the stream bed. My inclination is to think you might blue it slightly more, too, but that darker color may be an effect of the photograph. (It stands to reason that the deepest shadow would be the interior of the stream bed where the least amount of daylight and sky color penetrates. No shadow cast across the snow would be as dark because the blue of the sky would easily filter back into it.) I admire the strong composition! Yes--do try more of these.

Elsie, looks to me like you're in good shape with those darks in place. You have some drama started there now! My only caution is that telephone pole that lines up with the snowbank on the right-hand side. Don't get too literal with the photo--it's there, but it's distracting and unnecessary, IMHO. Just a thought for you!

Sonni, I may paint that snowy tree but I'm deep into a painting of Hawaii right now--warm turquoise water, white capped waves, swaying palms.... Nice place to visit. Aloha. :wave:

Deborah

Dancinlucy
10-26-2008, 07:12 PM
Hi Deborah, thanks so much for starting this thread.McKinley's painting is my favorite, but I also love Doug Dawsons'. They both make me feel as if I am there seeing the light and sparkle, as well as experiencing the mystery and delight of falling snow at night. I appreciate all of your insights, including Johns'.

fio44
10-26-2008, 08:07 PM
This is great. The abstract design and light application says :thumbsup:. Thanks for posting--I'm getting more interested by the minute in painting snow.


Thanks Sonni! I love painting snow, but hate to shovel it. Of course, shoveling the snow gives one ample opportunity to see and understand the beauty and complexities of such a subject. Happy Painting and looking forward to seeing some of your snow.

Sonni
10-26-2008, 08:33 PM
Merethe....no, no, no--take out those little scratches! Here, this is your center of interest. All roads (lines) lead there. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2008/111873-cravia_snow_ideas.jpg


Even the rabbit tracks.

I can imagine you are either scratching your head or biting nails on what to do (I've been there many times--you are not alone). If you concentrate your efforts on this area, you will have a statement. I don't want to tell you what to do, but you might think about these possibilities:

What happened to the rabbit --the tracks go to the stream and disappear. Might they not reappear in the area of interest?

Would rusty golden willows be growing at the streams edge in the upper right?
How dense? How far would they spread to work in the composition. How abstract could you make them?

Also think about softening some of the white (I made light lavendar circles on the left side of the stream to test this).

Keep thinking abstract. You don't have to spell out details

robertsloan2
10-26-2008, 10:29 PM
Happy painting, Deborah! I half hope you got to do that turquoise water and swaying palms plein air, or at least that you got to go and get studies before starting to work on it now. I dream of being able to do that and the closest I'm likely to get in years is painting it.

Likewise pretty, deep snow though.

I always feel like I should be indoors in a warm cosy cabin with a fireplace going like a Christmas card and a big window right by the soft cushy armchair. With all that gorgeous snowy landscape flowing away through the window. Eh, someday I may vacation in a place like that and actually get to do it, fireplace and all.

In the mean time, this morning I decided to turn this little sketch into a snow scene. So I'll post the sketch. This is snow landscape from a non-snow reference that was in the WC weekly sketch thread in Drawing and Sketching. I did the sketch and posted it and didn't know what I was going to do or whether to use pastels or tinted charcoal pencils.

Then today it made sense to change the weather and redo the background as a neat snow scene. It should make the warm-colored deer pop even if his brown-grays are muted.

414041

I blocked in some blue and some pink and a little lavender, the pink is way dark at the moment since I am planning to put white over it while the blue will only get other blues and lavenders once I get the white in over the pink. It looks goofy at this stage. I don't think it'll look as bad once lots of white is over that pink.

I was trying to work dark to light and it resulted in a screamingly funny stage, so I had to share it for its silliness. This reminds me of that bit in Cinderella where the mice can't make up what color her dress ought to be.

414043

robertsloan2
10-26-2008, 10:54 PM
I did some more on my Mule Deer snow scene, lightened the background till it's sensible and the values are closer to the final version. I know I'm going to do the deer a step darker than he's sketched, I used light charcoal for the sketch which is a neutral gray rather than black.

Derwent Tinted Charcoal has white, and then three degrees after gray: Light, Medium and Dark, the dark is very black and I used the light for the shadows on the animal. So I'll probably do him in dark browns and grays rather than push to black but I will be pushing his values down at least one level to heighten the contrast of the black nose and white triangle on his muzzle.

I want his muzzle to be the focal point, the strongest contrast. So those darks will push to true black, both the nose and the ear markings and probably at least part of the eye.

One eye got smudged clean during the process so it looks like he's got a cotton ball taped over it, but that's just a silly inbetweener thing I'll pick up later with pastel pencil. This is all in color Conte sticks, my favorite hard pastels. I know I can touch up with Sennelier after everything else.

I am coming to love the Senneliers for that.

414049

C&C very appreciated at this stage on the background. I have a reference for the animal and the background is loosely the same as it was in the reference except I threw a lot of snow on it. I based the snow on my memories rather than going back to the reference.

Should I put in dark stumps or rocks that were there in the reference showing as very dark bits or leave those lumps in the back as highlighted lumps in the back, totally snow covered? I sort of like keeping the background stuff all mid to light range so that the foreground really jumps out with the deer.

In going around the animal I dragged some strokes across the outline of one of his hindlegs and assumed I'd clean that up when I finish the animal. Now I'm tempted to let that error stand and when I do the animal, reinforce it so that a gust of powder is blowing across the stag's legs and he's in the scene, not pasted into it. Maybe that would help lead the eye back up to his striking face and head too.

Let me know if that's a good idea or a dumb one. It started as a mistake I knew I'd fix, but it might be pretty cool not to fix.

ElsieH
10-26-2008, 11:07 PM
:wave:

Thanks for comments from all! This is a great thing about WC: Friends to
help one step back and see the painting through "other's eyes," when my own are too close!
Deborah: Wonderful! That telphone pole just was bothering me so much. But, somehow I felt I needed it to tie to the background and the sky.
However, taking it out frees that area to stand on its own and balance the rest of the painting.

Merethe: I'm with Deborah on the one stick shape.
But, don't do very much more! The power of the cold blue will be weakened.
To me it says: deep blue, deep cold.

Colorix
10-27-2008, 08:31 PM
Rob, do not put in blackened stumps sticking out of the snow!!! Guess where our eyes will go... The bg is dramatic enough with that steep slope. And watch out, that streak of bg pink to the right that follows his (her?) neck, well, it shouldn't.

What's the size of this beauty? I love it already, the comp is gorgeous!

Charlie

Colorix
10-27-2008, 08:45 PM
Deborah, I gave in, gave up, and painted a snow-scene today. It is the most awful night-time photo, all blurry and grainy, but I'll post it anyway, as I'd love advice before finishing it. Btw, Hubby likes it, and as he is my "reverse test", I fear... well, let's see it.

size 30x40 cm / 12x16"
Paper Terracotta Colourfix (as I was going to ruin it anyway, so why not use dark warmth beneath?)
From my own ref.

Yes, near snow is almost white yellow, and I ain't gonna change that. The swirly ice is a flooded meadow, water should stay on the other side of the reeds by the boathouse. I was so happy to find some colour in the near fg. :D

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2008/117343-Flowing-Ice-night-m-f24.jpg

Gaahh! :eek: Quality is horrible... I'd better get used to it, as soon the daylight will be 40W/square meter (about a square yard). I really need two photo floodlights, for a fortune each...

The shadows are very long, as the sun is roughly 10-15 degrees above the horizon.

Question: Does the angled shadow on the side of the house look awfully odd? It truly was like that in the photo, and to me it reads right, but I live up here. Does it look too odd for you guys?

C&C most welcome, even if photo is grainy.

Charlie

robertsloan2
10-27-2008, 09:17 PM
Charlie, thank you! Yeah, I see the pink stroke you mean. I can go in and cut it up with choppy little directional strokes and fix the neck. I was just grinding in white to lighten it and took a shortcut around the rock. Now that you mention it, it looks bad.

Thanks for mentioning NOT to put in the blackened stumps or dark rock things that were there in the reference. They'd probably be buried in the snow anyway, but the shadows I put for them almost look like footprints. If I put a soft highlight next to each of them, then I have a footprint-impression going on or things dropped into snow that might be pretty cool.

Size is 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" like 95% of what I draw or paint. Usually if I forget to mention size, it's because it's that size. Anytime I work bigger, I mention the size as it's a big deal.

Your painting is wonderful and that angled shadow reads true to me. I tend to trust photography for shapes of shadows at least more or less. The distortions if any would be slight, unlike photos of rows of jars and bottles where they can start tilting or leaning.

Sonni
10-28-2008, 02:57 AM
Couldn't resist--all this snow stuff. Had to get it out of my system. This is from the WC ref file. 9x12 on black art spectrum that I wanted to use up.I'll probably look at some McKinley snow and play around with it a little more. About 2 hrs worth.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2008/111873-snow_falling_on_cedars.jpg

Sonni
10-28-2008, 03:07 AM
Rob, do not put in blackened stumps sticking out of the snow!!! Guess where our eyes will go... The bg is dramatic enough with that steep slope. And watch out, that streak of bg pink to the right that follows his (her?) neck, well, it shouldn't.

What's the size of this beauty? I love it already, the comp is gorgeous!

Charlie

You tell him, Charlie...:lol: :lol: :lol: :thumbsup:. And you know what they say about yellow snow--Don't Eat It.:smug:

robertsloan2
10-28-2008, 05:30 AM
Thanks, Sonni! I am so glad I posted it instead of just charging ahead with it. I was too nailed to the reference even when I decided to abandon the reference and full speed ahead with imagination.

I think the background is actually mostly done, but once I get the snowball out of his eye and the stag done, he'll pop forward even more and his face will be the main event. I worked over a prong of his right antler (our left) but I can put it back, and I worked over the highlight on both antlers but I can put it back with pastel pencil.

Your snow scene is wonderful. I wouldn't have thought of using black Colourfix but the result is gorgeous. A grayer snow scene, cold and damp. Still colorful in its way, I love the blue-green pines and the strokes in them, you really got some neat textures in those pines. The soft violets in the distance lead my eye on down the road and it feels like it has so much depth. The sky is wonderful too.

60% chance of more snow or freezing rain today, is what it looks like. Threatening and not sure if it's going to dump it here and now or maybe later. I'd almost suggest titling it 60% chance of more snow.

I also like that little patch of reflecting ice way in the distance on the left, that's neat. I keep finding lots of little cool things in your scene.

Colorix
10-28-2008, 08:24 AM
The distortions if any would be slight, unlike photos of rows of jars and bottles where they can start tilting or leaning.

But then there is that nifty little program in PS (Elements 6.0) that corrects lens-distortions. :) My camera makes 'fat' (convex) pics, so I need to 'diet' (concave) a pic about 4%. If that isn't enough, I can do stuff to it manually, even 'freehand', like shrinking one corner. PS really saves a lousy photographer with a not good enough camera. (Let's *not* talk about light and colours... though.)

Deborah Secor
10-28-2008, 09:01 AM
I was around so little yesterday and here y'all have these new pieces!

I see that you and Charlie and Sonni have hashed this one over pretty well already, Robert. I'm not sure what you're referring to in your question about the 'gust of powder' so I'll just trust you for that decision. I like the palette of colors you've chosen and suspect a bit of the warm tones of the buck will make their way into those rocky parts in front of him eventually. I agree with Charlie--no black sticks! :D

Sonni, your winter is wonderful! I admire the simplicity of the shapes and angles--very nice composition. The contrast of the larger dark triangle of trees and the smaller one countering it, plus the two triangles opposing in road and sky, give this a nice balanced tension. You really pulled it off, putting the tree in the middle and achieving the needed balance, IMHO. Nice colors, too. I enjoy working snow on black. It really lets the lights harmonize from the get-go.

Charlie, your painting is a delight to the eye! I really like that ice. :thumbsup: I struggled with ice in one painting I did last winter--it's not easy to convey, but you've really caught that look. Very nice. I have no problems with the shadows... The building and it's shadows read correctly to my eye. That angle of light could use a bit more of a base to it, I think, just a clearer indication of the shape of that wall at the bottom. I have trouble with the dark band jutting out from the building stopping a little too close to the half-way mark in the painting, though. (Maybe IRL it reads. It could be your photo here.) Maybe hubby's understanding of painting is improving.... :wink2:

Oooo, now I'm wondering if my version of Elements has this lens distortion correction. I don't think it's 6.0, however. I do some manipulation on my own that helps when needed. I'll poke around some more!

Let it snow!
Deborah

Merethe T
10-28-2008, 12:47 PM
Hi again folks, finally off work and have a few hours available for art...I'd really, really love to be a full time artist, just don't want the starving artist part!

Deborah - thank you! You're absolutely right about that line, off course....I went to dark to start with, and tried to push it back, but not enough. It's even more clear to me now that I've had a day away from the painting. Need to rework that bit! I really appreciate your observations and advice, I'd love to have a teacher like you around here...there's no workshops, no other pastel painters, no nothing up here, and right now I'm at a point where I really would like a teacher as I'm struggling to move forward. All different subject, I know... :) Happy painting to you, Hawaii sounds just perfect....

Sonni - thanks for your input! I wasn't scratching my head or biting my nails, but I am now..... :D You got me thinking, that's good! I thought about adding more lavender, I might try that. The other suggestions - lets see how much I dare to go! I'm gonna play a bit with the image to see what happens. Thanks for the push....
Lovely painting, I'm glad you joined in! You've created quite the different atmosphere, cold and moody....I wouldn't have thought to use black either, I like the effect...I like the colors in the shadows, would have liked to see this in RL to see what's going on in there. Nice harmony!

Robert - nice scene! I'm with Charlie, keep it simple, the bg is dramatic enough! I like your little error, I think I'd be tempted to keep it too....

Charlie - great to see a snow scene from you! :) Ah, I hear you with photo-issues, I'm having the same trouble over here...and it won't get any better until next year....
Your painting is gorgeous! It says snow, but with your characteristic colorful style it gives a warm impression. I love have you've used colors in the surroundings to warm up the scene! The shadows read fine to me, didn't notice anything off there. The ice is lovely!
And now I have to check out what PS can do, I've never even thought of those kind of editing-functions.....I really need to learn more about PS..

Happy painting all!

Merethe

ElsieH
10-28-2008, 01:58 PM
:wave:

It has actually happened here! Yes, we had show flurries in Wisconsin yesterday! The sweet little things came dancing down and landed on the leaves and promply melted! That's just fine! I'm still enjoying the fantastic leaf color this fall! The snow stuff will come and it will pile up and we will shovel! From inside my windows it will be so beautiful. However, when one has to get the snowblower out to just get up the drive, my affection shall change! :lol:

Well, I've done more on my snow painting. I think it is done. However, I'm open to ideas for changes. :wink2:

Deborah Secor
10-28-2008, 04:06 PM
Elsie, it's a nice, chilly cold, crisp day. I like it.

Now, I don't want to take any wind out of your sails but I did a little tweaking in PS and got carried away... :o (sorry!) but I think I'll post it anyway.

I want to encourage you to turn on the LIGHT more in this one.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2008/23609-elsie.jpg

The way to do that is to shape the shadows with the light. Remember that shadows have dark roots and get a little lighter as they travel off from the object casting them. I turned the road so you would be pushed visually into the trees. And I saturated your colors more (again, probably a result of living in the southwest, where the colors are richer in winter sun.) I added turquoise to the near shadows and let the middle ones stay lavender, and made the far ones blue. I did this so quickly that I messed all that up, but it was what I meant to show you! :o

You don't have to make it look like the photo. In fact, I don't even remember the details of it. I just thought that your shadows on the roadway could have more interesting patterns... Well, this is my version of your painting, anyway, so please take or leave whatever appeals and forget the rest! :wave:

Deborah

ElsieH
10-28-2008, 05:02 PM
:clap: :clap: :clap: Wow!
Dear Deborah,

I guess I need to just be more gutsy with getting in there with
contarst! Thanks so much for taking the time to teach!:heart:

Colorix
10-28-2008, 05:09 PM
Hi guys, thank you! I posted a better version in the other forum.

Rob, so sorry, I was tired when I wrote about your deer last night. I tend to be short and practical when tired, and simplify for clarity. I simplify away courtesy and small-talk, too... (blush)

Elsie, I think your painting is lovely! I had to laugh at Debora saying she went overboard manipulating it, it is so easy to do. My take on it is that Deb's show winter in Austria (where I've been and seen it), while your own painting looks like winter a bit up north in Sweden, where the light is weaker. What I'm trying to say is that weaker light is fine and exist, but if you really want to turn on the light, then Deb gives excellent advice. She points out a thing I'd advice you to do, if you want, even if you keep the lower lights: the bg mountain. As it is now, it is too similar in colour and detail to the trees, so if you even it out a little bit, the difference will be clear. It's simpel to do, just take a lightish blue/blue gray/or gray bluish purple and lightly scumble all over the mountain. What is there will still be visible there, but muted and grayed. I really like your version of this ref (I've seen many, it was in a WDE), and the right side is great without pole!

Deb, Merethe, I still have my old (and virtually unused) PS 7.0, and I couldn't find the fix lens distortion thingy in it. Might be hidden there somewhere, but the 7.0 *is* old. In my new PS Elements 6.0 it is under Filters. And the freehand stuff (distort, tilt, turn) is under Improve Image (translated from Swedish, dunno what it is in English.)

Sonni, your's is beautiful, and reads as cloudy (but not overcast) sky to me. I'd like to sneak into the woods through that little opening to the right of the decidous tree.

Merethe, am I correct in thinking you're way up north even from me? Have you found a good way to take photos, when there is hardly any daylight? I'll experiment a bit, so let's share what we find out, what do you think of that?
I love the finished, so far, version of your painting. I love the grasses, they set the scale of things. That dark shadow, the line, well, could it go entirely? It looks like the shadow of a telephone wire and is strictly not needed in the pic, as all relevant information is there already. Your strength is in high realism, but landscapes are usually 'too messy' for that, IMHO. What if you do landscapes with buildings/cottages in them? Then you could go very realist on the cottage, and more, like, indicate the rest of the landscape, and it would still look very nice. Just a thought, passing on what I was taught -- easier to begin landscapes with buildings or bridges in them.
I recently had a look at your website, and it is beautiful! You're such a talented woman! What kind of music do you play?


Charlie

Deborah Secor
10-28-2008, 05:33 PM
Glad you like it, Elsie, but I really do have to agree with you, too, Charlie, that my way isn't the only way--as I mentioned, probably more like a New Mexico winter day than wherever the ref photo was taken... but that's what's fun. We can all do it different ways! :heart:

Do whatever you want to make it your own, Elsie!

Deborah

Sonni
10-28-2008, 06:31 PM
The tweaking made a world of difference on Elsie's.

Thanks Deborah for your comments. No tweaks?

Charlie---I just realized that I have two intervals the same. One of them's that "little opening" to the right and the other is the road to the left. Dum, dum, dum de doodie dum...:eek: guess I'll have to fix that.

Thanks Robert. 60% chance it is--maybe more. It was snowing in the photo I used. I'm still toying with shaving some white pastel over it...

Merethe-- you might revisit the McKinley painting Deborah posted at the beginning of this thread. His focal point is different, but you can see how he formed a pattern of complementary color ( yellow orange brown winter willows) on the snow that leads the eye to the focal point. He used light in a similar way.

Colorix
10-28-2008, 06:36 PM
Elsie, remember that you can start way bold/dark, and then tone it down. It is harder to punch it up, as darker pastels on lighter have a tendency to become 'milky', and often can look like an afterthought. Try a totally overboard strong start, just for fun, on a scrap, and see how it works.

Deborah, oh, I just grabbed the oportunity to say that things look different in different corners of the world, making a general comment, letting thoughts wander and not refraining from sharing them... :-) Stream of consciousness and all that... As I love how you turned the light on, more drama, and I always like that! And there is something so charming in Elsie's version, too. Good vibrations all over the world!

Charlie

BetsyPriesing
10-28-2008, 06:50 PM
All the snow paintings done really look great
You guys are all amazing......i sit here stumped rereading everything and im still alittle lost.... :( i don't know snow is so overwhelming for me....im have trouble with everything.....

Colorix
10-28-2008, 08:23 PM
Charlie, your painting is a delight to the eye! I really like that ice. :thumbsup: ..... ...
I have trouble with the dark band jutting out from the building stopping a little too close to the half-way mark in the painting, though.
Maybe hubby's understanding of painting is improving.... :wink2:

Deborah

Deborah, thanks a lot! Gosh, I almost forgot to reply... life got hectic for a few hours... Um... yes... the dark thingy stopping at the half-way mark... it is the shadowed side of a jetty/dock, and it does indeed reach the middle... I didn't even notice, as I treated the really dark darks as one linked mass. There is *always* something I do not think of. Well, this will now be a thing I really check for, so thank you!

Re Hubby: One can wish... :rolleyes:

Charlie

jemgold
10-28-2008, 09:19 PM
This is "Flyover" soft pastel on Uart paper 10" x 14". I think the ducks need more work but need to leave it for a few days. :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2008/31263-Flyover-web.jpg

Deborah Secor
10-28-2008, 10:10 PM
All the snow paintings done really look great
You guys are all amazing......i sit here stumped rereading everything and im still alittle lost.... :( i don't know snow is so overwhelming for me....im have trouble with everything.....

Betsy, if you want to try painting snow why not just use a simple photo to start with instead of taking on the big vista. I think this one would have some good information.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2008/23609-snowy_tree_shadows.jpg
(Anyone who wants to paint this pic is welcome. It's one of mine!)

Look at the snow shapes first, then the blue of the shadows and pale, pale yellow/pink/green of snow in sunlight (no white to start).

No pressure--just a thought for you!

Sonni, I often wonder if folks really WANT me to 'tweak' things as much as I do. But frankly I wouldn't tweak yours much at all. I like the freshness of it as it is.

Carolyn, it's a lovely painting! Very interesting to put the ducks so low in the composition. They seem a bit incomplete to me only because the shadows stop short around them... Love the lush greens and subtle lavenders in the distant trees and background.

Deborah

jemgold
10-28-2008, 10:55 PM
Deborah, Thanks - I'm not happy with the ducks either and you're right it does need more shadow under them. I will probably change them to somewhere else.

robertsloan2
10-29-2008, 01:07 AM
Deborah, thank you for that beautiful reference! I think I want to work larger than my usual 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" and I'm tempted to try that on a piece of 5" x 7" Pastelbord. It's got so many interesting details and shapes!

I should probably finish Mule Deer first, but I think I'm looking at my next snow scene now.

maw-t
10-29-2008, 01:59 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2008/76639-snowy.jpg Wow yall.. Each one is so good! I tried the photo deborah offered.. I have been playing with the abstract thread too.. so this is not very developed in sort of keeping abstract shapes in mind.. I know it needs work & any & all help/suggestions etc, is greatly welcome..

maw-t
10-29-2008, 02:08 AM
Couldn't resist--all this snow stuff. Had to get it out of my system. This is from the WC ref file. 9x12 on black art spectrum that I wanted to use up.I'll probably look at some McKinley snow and play around with it a little more. About 2 hrs worth.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2008/111873-snow_falling_on_cedars.jpg

Sonni I really like this alot.. I just love your work as you know..I wouldnt do any more to it.. It seems so cold and and your strokes are so fresh & sure.. it really draws me in.. I want to put on my big red down coat & clunky snow boots & go exploring! I think the light spot to the right of the road is intriqueing and makes me WONDER what is around there..

maw-t
10-29-2008, 02:20 AM
Deborah, I gave in, gave up, and painted a snow-scene today. It is the most awful night-time photo, all blurry and grainy, but I'll post it anyway, as I'd love advice before finishing it. Btw, Hubby likes it, and as he is my "reverse test", I fear... well, let's see it.

size 30x40 cm / 12x16"
Paper Terracotta Colourfix (as I was going to ruin it anyway, so why not use dark warmth beneath?)
From my own ref.

Yes, near snow is almost white yellow, and I ain't gonna change that. The swirly ice is a flooded meadow, water should stay on the other side of the reeds by the boathouse. I was so happy to find some colour in the near fg. :D

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2008/117343-Flowing-Ice-night-m-f24.jpg

Gaahh! :eek: Quality is horrible... I'd better get used to it, as soon the daylight will be 40W/square meter (about a square yard). I really need two photo floodlights, for a fortune each...

The shadows are very long, as the sun is roughly 10-15 degrees above the horizon.

Question: Does the angled shadow on the side of the house look awfully odd? It truly was like that in the photo, and to me it reads right, but I live up here. Does it look too odd for you guys?

C&C most welcome, even if photo is grainy.

Charlie

Charlie once again you wow me with color! I _love the swirly FG!!! It makes me wish the rest was a bit looser to go with it.. of course that is my personal likings kicking in... I mean I want to mess it up a wee bit.. just giving my 2 cents which is what this is all about, I think?... ANyway It is beautiful as is...& looks like a Christmas card!

robertsloan2
10-29-2008, 02:21 AM
T, your abstract version of Deborah's photo is so lively! I love the textures and scumbling and lively colors. Lively lively lively, it bounces off the screen and giggles at me. That's snow for playing with. Sno-cones and snowballs!

maw-t
10-29-2008, 02:24 AM
Ok, I boldly declared that I would do a snow scene, so I guess I'd better stick to it... ;)

This is my first shot at snow, and as I find landscapes hard in the first place I figured this would not be easy. And it isn't! I've read all the info in this thread - great thread! Been repeating the color theory loudly to myself while working, this is no time to experiment - gotta learn to crawl before you can walk, right...I'm having fun! I'm struggling with the colors, constantly - what blues to choose, what violet - keep reminding myself to be brave and dare to use strong colors. Not easy....

I'm working from one of my own old refs, don't know if I made it easier for myself, but this is all snow, a frozen little creek - don't need no trees or mountains just yet... :D
I'm not done by far, got some grass and more details to put in, but I'd like to hear what you think...it's a bad pic, it's dark outside and I had to use flash, the blues are not this strong in RL.

This is on Wallis, pretty large 17x14" maybe, Rembrandts, W&N, FC and Unisons.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2008/22081-IMG_1110_x550.jpg

Thank you for doing this class Deborah, it's excellent! :heart: :thumbsup:

Merethe

This si way cool.. & you could also post it in Tressa abstract thread too.. Great first snow attempt!

maw-t
10-29-2008, 02:38 AM
I dont know where to post on this thread.. it jumbled up or is it just my puter?? ANyway want to say FIO.. that link is a GORGEOUS painting!! WOW! &

Robert, your deer is looking good.. I like the BG & as Deborah said you have gotten some great tips already.. looking forward to the the finish.. & THANKS for the Comments on my snow of Deborahs photo... it was fun :)

Carolyn I enjoyed BOTH of yours!!

I am so impressed with everyone.. very inspring group!!

ElsieH
10-29-2008, 08:52 AM
:wave: Good morning, All!

Deborah and Charlie: Thanks so much for your comments, ideas etc.

I'm going to do some of the "letting in the light" as Deborah suggested, but
try to keep some of the color in the snow, too. I really like the "turn in the road" that Deborah suggests. That whole area, off in the distance, needs redefining, including some on the mountain.

Also, it's a good excuse to play with my new Terry Ludwig's "True Lights" set that my family got me for my birthday.:lol:

There is this thing about being used to that qualitiy of light of where you live. :wink2:
We lived here in Wisconsin from 1962 to 1975. Then we moved to Virginia and then to California. Our younger daughter, Julia, was just 4 1/2 years old when we left. After we moved back here in 1990 and she finished college in Calif., she moved here to Wisconsin for grad. school.
The first fall and winter here she was always complaining about gray skies, dull light etc.
One thing that jumps out at one in looking at Deborah's tweaking the bright lights to my painting in PS was that it also brought out the color in the trees etc., too!
Ok, I'm off to my studio part of the house. An hour and a half of violin, including some beloved Bach, then I dive into the pastels.
Thanks, Charlie and Deborah.:clap: :heart:

Deborah Secor
10-29-2008, 10:38 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2008/76639-snowy.jpg Wow yall.. Each one is so good! I tried the photo deborah offered.. I have been playing with the abstract thread too.. so this is not very developed in sort of keeping abstract shapes in mind.. I know it needs work & any & all help/suggestions etc, is greatly welcome..

T, it's so vibrant and colorful! I can see the roots of abstraction beneath it, of course, and I like your decision to simplify the business behind the branch into a textured area that's somewhat darker. I think if you continue to develop the layers of pastel on the branch above, especially in the sunlit snow, and on the snow below, especially in the shadows, you'll have a very nice piece. I'd add some more saturated green to the branch in sunlight and perhaps a few details there to give an excuse for some shadow details, too.... In essence what I'm saying is that it looks good--just keep going a little farther!

Glad you joined in! :wink2:

Deborah

BetsyPriesing
10-29-2008, 11:01 AM
Ok Deb thanks for the pic im going to download it and try it out before i try to fix the one i started.

like i have already said the paintings everyone is doing are great
love the step layer that Charlie created on her ice. your colorful style popping out from all your snow paintings, are so ...happy.

The moody purple that Sonni did creating a wet snow effect. I think that the barn painting from last year is captivation to me...moody, quite.

Crevia has a stark loneliness to her stream, with a beautiful smoothness suggesting new ice over snow.

Jemgold has a beautiful openess with the bird painting, wet ice still. Her painting of the dog i think shows she understands snow allready:) and the dog looks pretty pleased with himself. Roberts several paintings all portray snow.

watching elsi snow scence progress has been helpful, and will look great with the highlights Deb suggested.

WC and the tiny snow scene, shows a beautiful scene, purples and oranges.
Im sure a larger one will come now.

Jubilee has a good base i think, a little more contrast to finish it up.

Tressa shows great contast for depicting snow.

Artsaveslives has a beautiul wood scence i would like to do a painting like that.
Imaybe love the orange/pink tree in contrast with the blues in your pasture.

Colorix
10-29-2008, 12:35 PM
It makes me wish the rest was a bit looser to go with it.. ... I mean I want to mess it up a wee bit..

Hi T, thanks! I appreciate the crit, and the mental image of your arm reaching through my screen mussing my painting! :D You're right, IMHO, I need to loosen up more, make more visible marks. Next project! I've started on it, actually. This blurry photo looks more smooth than it is, though. And the snow was old, you know, when it has packed together, melted a tad on the top to create a crust, so it is smoothish and no longer fluffy. Well, still, in spite of my 'defending', I know you're right! So thanks a lot!

Charlie

ElsieH
10-29-2008, 01:18 PM
:wave:

We have a sunny day here in Wisconsin!
And yet again....I've added some light to my snow scene. De-light-ful!:lol:

maw-t
10-29-2008, 06:34 PM
OH my.. this has been HARD for me.. I mean much harder than a full scene..I hope someone else<subliminal message..(Deborah) /sumbliminal message> tries this one with steps:D Also I dont mind tweaks ATALL:D .. I put in some darks/branches with gimp to TRY to make the blob resemble a bush, but it wasnt that succesful..:rolleyes: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2008/76639-snowy2.jpg

pastel lover
10-29-2008, 09:20 PM
Hello All,

I have been reading & lurking since the beginning of this class & admiring everyone's paintings. I had to give it a try. After hearing of others using watercolor paper for pastels, I had to give that a try also (not a big fan of it). Painting is more colorful & less blue IRL. Ref pic is from the RL, my thanks to Miko. C&C welcome.

Tanja
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2008/134540-snow_scene_3-800.jpg

Dancinlucy
10-29-2008, 10:39 PM
I can't keep up with all of this, trying to catch up all in one or two days, and haven't been able to actively paint due to surgery, but it is all fascinating and something to look forward. Being laid up at least gives me the time to get to this site, if only to read. I love seeing all of your great efforts and reading your feedback to each other. Somewhere I think someone (Deborah?) mentioned a site with copyright free photos (RIL ?)to use for resources. Any suggestions? - Lucy

fiannah
10-29-2008, 10:44 PM
wow i cant believe i didnt see this thread till now! Aand yesterday i did a snow paintingg, i sure wish i had read all this first! Very helpful. Anyway, this is to be my christmas card this year, the photo was actually taken on a warm andd sunny day last may, any snow a distant memory... so i faked it :) Im curious if you think it works (and was done before reading most of this thread) Thanks for looking!
Snow at barnegat light
9"x11" soft pastels on wallis
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2008/46083-snowlighthouse_small2.jpg

pastel lover
10-30-2008, 12:20 AM
Hi Joni,

I think it works perfectly. And those clouds...so wintery. Beautiful work.

Tanja

Elain
10-30-2008, 03:11 AM
Gosh. What a wonderful thread. It's taken me three days to work through it. I kept meaning to reply but kept on reading.

So much information - planes of lanscapes reflecting light - flat, trees, hills.

Shadow colours influenced by direction the plan faces - for snow.

Shadows turqoise, lavender, blue.

and the wonderful post on light.

Interspersed with great reference photos and works of art.

I painted a snow painting a year ago and can now look at it with fresh eyes.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Oct-2008/74891-pitlochy07.JPG

I can see it needs to be paler in the distance. The photos was tken at dusk - 3 pm in th escottish highlands, so very blue overall - any other c&c would be great.

Currently I am tackling a valley in shadow with river rapids and snow on rocks. I'll re-look at that over the weekend.

Thank you Deborah for a terrific thread and everyone else for all the inforamtion and examples.

robertsloan2
10-30-2008, 12:52 PM
Oh wow! So many new ones. I've been under the weather for a few days so haven't worked on mine for a while, but love seeing what everyone else is doing.

robertsloan2
10-30-2008, 02:02 PM
Mule Deer is finished. I added a few areas of bare snow and dirt on the rocks in front as Deborah suggested, and did not add any dark contrasts in the background. I mostly worked on the deer, added the dirt and several curving snow-weighted brambles.

I think he's done. Ready to start in now on a larger one, after doing all these 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" pieces I'd like to work bolder, maybe 5" x 7".

414542

Deborah Secor
10-30-2008, 05:44 PM
OH my.. this has been HARD for me.. I mean much harder than a full scene..I hope someone else<subliminal message..(Deborah) /sumbliminal message> tries this one with steps:D Also I dont mind tweaks ATALL:D .. I put in some darks/branches with gimp to TRY to make the blob resemble a bush, but it wasnt that succesful..:rolleyes: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2008/76639-snowy2.jpg

I actually think you're in a pretty good place here, T. You haven't carried it quite far enough. I know you like to use loose, suggestive strokes, but for this one you might want to try massing together the lights, as well as the shadows on the snow.

Look at it this way:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Oct-2008/23609-snowy_tree_shadows_massed.jpg

Add lighter lights where the sun is hitting along the bottom, in the middle fore, and on top of the snow on the branch. Then use some long, sinuous strokes of the blues to soften and blend the shadows. The little snow cap on the rocks in the fore is a good place to see that the top of the snow in sunlight has a hard, crisp edge, while the shadows have a softened, blended edge.

Add a strong dark mass inside that branch, then a mass of medium-dark green, and forget all the lights you see peeking through.

I noodled around. Not sure I think my digital enhancements are all that helpful :rolleyes: but here they are:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Oct-2008/23609-mawT.jpg

Deborah

Deborah Secor
10-30-2008, 05:52 PM
Hello All,

I have been reading & lurking since the beginning of this class & admiring everyone's paintings. I had to give it a try. After hearing of others using watercolor paper for pastels, I had to give that a try also (not a big fan of it). Painting is more colorful & less blue IRL. Ref pic is from the RL, my thanks to Miko. C&C welcome.

Tanja
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2008/134540-snow_scene_3-800.jpg

Tanja, I love the shapes in this one! Very nice sense of distance and it's definitely a cold winter day. Your leaf colors really add some life--like the last lingering vestiges of fall. Glad you joined us! :wave:


wow i cant believe i didnt see this thread till now! Aand yesterday i did a snow paintingg, i sure wish i had read all this first! Very helpful. Anyway, this is to be my christmas card this year, the photo was actually taken on a warm andd sunny day last may, any snow a distant memory... so i faked it :) Im curious if you think it works (and was done before reading most of this thread) Thanks for looking!
Snow at barnegat light
9"x11" soft pastels on wallis
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2008/46083-snowlighthouse_small2.jpg

Joni, great job! I can't believe you managed to snow on Barnegat Light in the summer, but you pulled it off... love the red!

Deborah

Deborah Secor
10-30-2008, 05:57 PM
Gosh. What a wonderful thread. It's taken me three days to work through it. I kept meaning to reply but kept on reading.

So much information - planes of lanscapes reflecting light - flat, trees, hills.

Shadow colours influenced by direction the plan faces - for snow.

Shadows turqoise, lavender, blue.

and the wonderful post on light.

Interspersed with great reference photos and works of art.

I painted a snow painting a year ago and can now look at it with fresh eyes.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Oct-2008/74891-pitlochy07.JPG

I can see it needs to be paler in the distance. The photos was tken at dusk - 3 pm in th escottish highlands, so very blue overall - any other c&c would be great.

Currently I am tackling a valley in shadow with river rapids and snow on rocks. I'll re-look at that over the weekend.

Thank you Deborah for a terrific thread and everyone else for all the inforamtion and examples.

Elain, this is so strong graphically! The shapes are great, lovely light--you really caught that. I think your analysis is accurate...a little paler blue in the distance, and maybe some duller snow colors out there, not as much contrast. But I wouldn't mess with this one too much--just apply things to the next one! It's a beautiful piece. (How big is it?)



Mule Deer is finished. I added a few areas of bare snow and dirt on the rocks in front as Deborah suggested, and did not add any dark contrasts in the background. I mostly worked on the deer, added the dirt and several curving snow-weighted brambles.

I think he's done. Ready to start in now on a larger one, after doing all these 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" pieces I'd like to work bolder, maybe 5" x 7".

414542

Nice finish, Robert! Ah--now I see the 'blowing snow' effect--well done. :D

Deborah

robertsloan2
10-30-2008, 09:10 PM
My try at Deborah's cool pine branches and snow reference (if you can't tell, then I am soooo off base!)

414585

I thought this was utterly horrible until the very last stage, when it started to shape up. Then when I scanned it and saw it reduced I liked it more. Now that it's across the room it looks okay!

I used a warm white Canson mi-Tientes paper and Nupastels for it. Size is 8" x 10" (got tired of doing teeny tinies for class).

Deborah Secor
10-30-2008, 09:42 PM
I recognized it right off the bat, Robert! Boy, that's a big one--for you. :D I think you really caught the branch and snow well.

Deborah

maw-t
10-30-2008, 09:57 PM
:clap: Some beautiful paintings since I last looked!!
I played around with the road painting & decided to soften it up since it was on suede.. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Oct-2008/76639-snowroad2.jpg

maw-t
10-30-2008, 10:10 PM
I actually think you're in a pretty good place here, T. You haven't carried it quite far enough. I know you like to use loose, suggestive strokes, but for this one you might want to try massing together the lights, as well as the shadows on the snow.

Look at it this way:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Oct-2008/23609-snowy_tree_shadows_massed.jpg

Add lighter lights where the sun is hitting along the bottom, in the middle fore, and on top of the snow on the branch. Then use some long, sinuous strokes of the blues to soften and blend the shadows. The little snow cap on the rocks in the fore is a good place to see that the top of the snow in sunlight has a hard, crisp edge, while the shadows have a softened, blended edge.

Add a strong dark mass inside that branch, then a mass of medium-dark green, and forget all the lights you see peeking through.

I noodled around. Not sure I think my digital enhancements are all that helpful :rolleyes: but here they are:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Oct-2008/23609-mawT.jpg

Deborah

THanks SO much!! Your noodling is wonderful! I guess I was being too fussy.. not using those long swoopy strokes.. Okey dokey I will try to use this advice on the next one( that caNSON is all but evaporated:eek: ... Thanks again for your noodling.. It helped alot..I feel I really learned something.. great teacher!

robertsloan2
10-31-2008, 12:26 AM
T, I love the softness in your road painting now. Suede is so great for a soft texture like that. It looks like the time of day changed by your doing that, a little closer to dusk. Very relaxing and serene!

Elain
10-31-2008, 12:41 AM
Elain, this is so strong graphically! The shapes are great, lovely light--you really caught that. I think your analysis is accurate...a little paler blue in the distance, and maybe some duller snow colors out there, not as much contrast. But I wouldn't mess with this one too much--just apply things to the next one! It's a beautiful piece. (How big is it?)



Deborah


Thank you Deborah, It is a half size of Art Spectrum so about 20 by 14

maw-t
10-31-2008, 02:56 AM
ANother one I have started... JUst layed in some colors...I kinda like the look of this:cool: .. I dont know how far to take it.. WHEN is one finished? I never know:confused: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Oct-2008/76639-esp1.jpg

Sonni
10-31-2008, 03:21 PM
Maw...turn it upside down, and if it looks good, it's probably finished.

You have a good thing going with the road before this one. Some subtly worked darker values under the trees and I think you have a winner.

BetsyPriesing
11-01-2008, 02:15 PM
Hi guys

i haven't had time to start the photo Deb suggested but im doing it today. I thought that i would post the one that i don't like and find out whats wrong.:o Its about 2hours in and lots of staring..... its on canson...bumpy side a med orange color 8X11




http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Nov-2008/103534-HPIM4414-2.JPG

Sonni
11-01-2008, 03:10 PM
There's a lot to like about this. You may want to knock back the tree trunks a bit, maybe show some variation of value, and work some subtle values into the tractor hubcap, bring some darks into the foreground at the road on the left. I think the rest looks good. It's loose and not over stated. What is it that you don't like?

robertsloan2
11-01-2008, 03:39 PM
I agree with Sonni on this one. It's nearly done and has a great impact.

I can't begin to say why, but a streak of light pinkish orange in the lower left corner might help to unify it. It's loose and powerful.

T, I really like yours too. I turned my head to see it upside down and yep, it works in an abstract sense too. Great pastel.

BetsyPriesing
11-01-2008, 03:58 PM
Hi Sonni and Robert thanks for replying...
i think it looks....flat...im thinking that i should push the tree behind the tractor far off? i think in the photo there is a trunk that we can't see....i think that is what is bothering me some....and i don't like my snow....

robertsloan2
11-01-2008, 04:07 PM
If you added a row of very distant trees like a hedgerow across a field, on the horizon in a flat blue-violet with a few snowish highlights, that'd do it for creating more depth in the scene. I like your tree being nearly in the same plane as the tractor, that's pretty cool.

But trees in the distance behind the tractor would have the eye zig zag between tractor, near tree, far trees.

Deborah Secor
11-01-2008, 05:10 PM
I think what you're sensing is that the distant tree and the tractor are too much the same width, Betsy. Make it smaller and vary the distance from the edge of the painting. As Duane Wakeham says, the edges of the paper are the first four lines of your composition!

T, it looks good. It's done when you've either derived the lesson from it or made the statement, or both!

I like the fresh quality of both of these paintings. :thumbsup:

Deborah

robertsloan2
11-01-2008, 05:24 PM
Oh wow. I see it, Deborah. I was reading the more distant tree as part of a branch of the nearer tree, bending down over the tractor as a big mass of the same tree. Yeah. If that moves and is narrower and not the same width, also a little bluer, that'll push it back and be just right.

You have a great eye. I liked this painting a lot but couldn't see the problem because I was mistaking the element for part of another -- which leads me to suggest a little color change to help distinguish it.

Sonni
11-01-2008, 06:51 PM
This is over on the other side of the forum (you folks have too many categories to keep up with:eek: ), but I thought I should post it here since Deborah put up the photo ref: Wallis paper 12x18.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Nov-2008/111873-11-1__snow_final_painting.jpg

robertsloan2
11-01-2008, 07:20 PM
Nice! I love the strong values and the sense of distance. I like the cool little red detail way off at the end of the road too, and the way the road zigzags a little in the distance.

Sonni
11-01-2008, 07:27 PM
I think Deborah hit the nail on the head. Couldn't resist, hope you don't mind, :angel: but guess what the star of the show is now?
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Nov-2008/111873-s_tractorredo.jpg

Sonni
11-01-2008, 07:30 PM
Nice! I love the strong values and the sense of distance. I like the cool little red detail way off at the end of the road too, and the way the road zigzags a little in the distance.

Thanks. Thought I had to put something there to keep the road from running off the page.

Dancinlucy
11-03-2008, 10:51 AM
Hi Sonni,
I agree with Robert about the bit of red leading your eye to the end of the road. Your rendering of this photo is so effective, especially the shadows falling on the road and the way you can feel the snowplow scraping the surface of the road, revealing the rise in the middle, and building up the banks along the roadside.
Lucy:clap:

BetsyPriesing
11-03-2008, 02:04 PM
thanks for the help...i hope that i followed it enough
Sonni your road is beautiful love your snow.

well i sorta kept going in a few different directions then tried to fix it...
i have to retire this as it wont take anymore pastel i will try a different approach!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Nov-2008/103534-web.JPG

Deborah Secor
11-03-2008, 02:43 PM
Hmmm, Sonni, I know you always like to get the real thing when it comes to a critique, and so I have to tell ya that the red barn is a great little foil but IMHO it isn't doing what you thought. I think it's working to draw the eye OFF the page. It's like a neon sign saying "eat at joe's" that I can't escape! I get there and the only place left is the paper's edge... If you were to transplant the red barn to the other side of the distant road, I believe it would work far better, because then the eye would be drawn around to it, moving away from the edge and back into the body of the painting. Just a thought for you to consider... :wink2:

Betsy, much better! Don't fuss any more. It looks quite good to me. :thumbsup:

Deborah

robertsloan2
11-03-2008, 03:03 PM
Betsy, that is beautiful! The distant tree foliage no longer seems like part of the foreground tree, and everything balances. It's finished, it's gorgeous, it doesn't matter if it can't take more pastel now.

Deborah, it still blows me away that in pastel you can pick up a red object and move it across a road its entire width and have it come out as if it was always there. I know it can be done, but years of watercolor and colored pencils always make me blink and grin when I think of it. This is such a fun medium.

Judibelle
11-03-2008, 04:17 PM
Sonni....love your road-in-snow scene....the shadow effect is stunning.
Betsy, your tractor picture catches my attention....love the colors.

I've been lax with the snow sketches, mainly because I dont do well with them. (What a cop-out, huh?)...Anyway, I did some work on the one I posted early on...see if you think it is any better....
The original...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Nov-2008/103700-scan0020.jpg__snow_scene_field.jpg

The revision....
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Nov-2008/103700-scan0001.jpg_ssnow_scene_revised.jpg

There are makrks on the plastic, unfortunately... but not in the picture...

I also tried one of Deborah's photos...the supposed easy one (?!) Anyway, it came out as an abstract....I dont think you could tell that it's snow or tree. AAhhkk . so I hesitate to post it here....look for it in the bi-weekly thread....
JB

Colorix
11-03-2008, 06:23 PM
Just reading for the moment, but, Betsy, I have to tell you that I luuuuve your re-work. The landscape makes perfect sense, and the tractor is so wonderfully christmas red, it looks like it is the back-up for Rudolph! Snow is great too!

Charlie

Sonni
11-03-2008, 06:34 PM
Deborah... that's OK. I wondered if I was pushing the envelope. I'll work with it in photoshop. I just think it needs something back there. Either that or a penquin in the road. Thanks

Betsy, Thanks. Your's doesn't need to take anymore pastel.

Lucy ...Thanks, but Deborah sez I gotta move the red thing.

Judibelle, Thanks. On yours I think you need to see more asymetrically. To do this you must take off your head and screw it back on at an angle. Then you will be able to clump some objects together on one side of the painting, and perhaps just one on the other. OK, I'm kidding about the head.

BetsyPriesing
11-03-2008, 06:39 PM
Deb thank you i just put my mark on it and im putting up some new paper.:)
Robert thanks i do like what was suggested about the tree behind.
JB i thought red tractor said winter.... thats what attracted me to this photo. Your rework looks much better with the mountains behind and some snow values in the front.
Charlie thanks i do like the mountains i put in it gives it the depth i was hoping for.... BUT now i have to take your color class to livin up my paintings! i have been reading it!

robertsloan2
11-04-2008, 10:43 AM
JB, the mountains on the left and the fence to the right give it a lot more motion. It's much improved. My only suggestion at this point would be to darken the mountains by one value step so that they are a distinct mass separate from the sky. Right now they appear more by texture than value difference.

It doesn't need to be much, and they can even be a flattened color area. I've seen that on a lot of pastel paintings that come out well.

You've got some neat colors in the snow and that fence post angling in the front is just too cool. There is something jaunty about it. The fence makes the buildings look better. I think it has to do with unity and with repeating an accent color, the buildings are red and the fence post is red and this scene is rural -- they were probably all painted with the same barn red paint.

Also, the fence post is brighter than the buildings, so it pushes them back by scale and by aerial perspective (distance bluing). That rocks.

Deborah Secor
11-04-2008, 01:11 PM
JB, I agree with Robert! Much improved with your additions... :D There are other things you could do (when is that not so?), but I suggest moving on to the next one now. I think you've suceeded in this instance.

Deborah

plindley
11-06-2008, 09:13 AM
What is it about snow?

Form and reflected light... .the softening effect that a layer of snow has on the contours of land and objects... there is a physical principle called the 'angle of repose' which refers to the way particles will form a mass with sides having a slope until the angle is exceeded and then you get slumping or sliding (ever tried to make a heap of sand?.... the sides will take on a certain angle and then no steeper or the sand slides down). Snow coats what it sits on and then will collapse at a sharp edge. Except maybe where hard-driven by wind (there is always an "except...")

Reflected colours.... that is why realistic snow pictures seem to be a mass of colours that link to the colours of the objects in the picture and you can get really nice harmonies in your work. White is where light hits directly... and even then a touch of yellow in brilliant sunlit snow seems right.

And reflected light.... I have a gorgeous snow scene at home (not my own, sadly) which has captured the effect of light reflecting off snow back into the shadowed area of a bank of trees. This back-reflection is very subtle and diffuse (i.e. it doesn't cause shadows or highlights) but it means that the shadowed area of the trees is not as dark as you would get without the adjacent snow. And of course, shadows on the snow itself follow the underlying contours of what it is sitting on... but in a very smooth way.

Can you tell I grew up in Ottawa Ontario?... snow from November to May.

Pat

ElsieH
11-06-2008, 09:52 AM
:wave:

Just taking a moment here, before I start my day.

Betsey, I must tell you that, while you feel you are finished with the tractor painting, I do love the lower left corner and the very careful touches of warm and cool colors from the rest of the painting. It just sparkles! While you are moving on to the next new painting, there are delighful parts of this one!
Also, as I live there in Wisconsin, and harvesting is comimg to an end and snow will come soon, a piece of farm machinery caught out in the snow, is a common sight here! :wink2:

BetsyPriesing
11-06-2008, 10:28 AM
Elsie thanks for the incouragement i think alot of what im disapointed with is their is no strong light and dark in the snow areas...im trying the bridge ref. that Deb posted....very strong value shifts. I live in an apple farming area and quite a few things are left out here too

Pippa
11-06-2008, 11:05 AM
WOW! This thread is great! I'm really enjoying all the beautiful paintings and the tips!!

Robert McKinley's painting is gorgoeus... as Sonni said if I could paint half that well I'd be happy!

Here's my own snow painting (from Ref Image Library), 9x12 on belgian mist wallis. I was pretty pleased with it... the photo isn't stellar though. IRL the colours are all brighter... the midground whites are pretty close to true white IRL.

Any tips for improving this? Things I could have done differently/better? The two things that bother me are 1) the shadowed area of snow under the tree is the wrong colour - it needs to be a more purply blue, and 2) the right hand tire track is wider than it should be at the bottom. Anything else?

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2008/88887-snow_almost_done.jpg

robertsloan2
11-06-2008, 11:44 AM
Pippa, that is great. Check the photo about the irregularities in the tracks. Looking at it, I have a feeling they may actually be there. I looked at ruts and roads a lot for most of my life (spent more than half of it in very snowy places) and would notice that it was never clean and neat and geometrically ruled, it'd have bumps and irregularities.

To me that reads like vehicles of different widths turn slightly on the curve to head off past the tree. There's a pleasing zigzag coming in on the road.

More purple under the tree would be good.

This looks like it doesn't get plowed, just driven on. If it was plowed you'd have two lumpy ridges on the sides and then tracks in a new fall between them.

Colorix
11-06-2008, 01:14 PM
Pippa, it is beautiful!

Would this be more like it is:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2008/117343-Pippas_snow.jpg

I didn't change anything, just made it lighter, as the histogram showed too little light.

I know this intimately, as I've painted it (but fliped it left-right). It looks great to me, but I agree on that distant shadow, it stands out a bit, as if it belongs in another painting, sort of. Track looks great, as if a car skidded slightly in the curve, possibly, you could, I think, maybe, show the same in the rigth side of the left track?

Details. It really is beatiful!

OK, back to work for me. A moments procrastination is enough. :)

Charlie

Pippa
11-06-2008, 01:44 PM
Hey thanks Charlie! That's exactly what it looks like! I saw your version too (a few pages ago) and it was lovely!

I'm reluctant to touch it at this point (beyond fixing that shadow) for fear or making a mess! :)

Robert - I'm pretty sure the wider right track is due to my own drawing goof up! :P Thanks for the input! :)

Winny Kerr
11-06-2008, 03:55 PM
Pippa, it is lovely, I would, maybe, just do the shadows under the tree a bit but leave everything else. Your fence poles and shadows are terrific. It is so nice. I've also looked at this foto but doubt I could do a really nice job so been reluctant. Been looking a something a lot more simple. Winny

Deborah Secor
11-07-2008, 09:59 AM
What is it about snow?

Form and reflected light... .the softening effect that a layer of snow has on the contours of land and objects... there is a physical principle called the 'angle of repose' which refers to the way particles will form a mass with sides having a slope until the angle is exceeded and then you get slumping or sliding (ever tried to make a heap of sand?.... the sides will take on a certain angle and then no steeper or the sand slides down). Snow coats what it sits on and then will collapse at a sharp edge. Except maybe where hard-driven by wind (there is always an "except...")

Reflected colours.... that is why realistic snow pictures seem to be a mass of colours that link to the colours of the objects in the picture and you can get really nice harmonies in your work. White is where light hits directly... and even then a touch of yellow in brilliant sunlit snow seems right.

And reflected light.... I have a gorgeous snow scene at home (not my own, sadly) which has captured the effect of light reflecting off snow back into the shadowed area of a bank of trees. This back-reflection is very subtle and diffuse (i.e. it doesn't cause shadows or highlights) but it means that the shadowed area of the trees is not as dark as you would get without the adjacent snow. And of course, shadows on the snow itself follow the underlying contours of what it is sitting on... but in a very smooth way.

Can you tell I grew up in Ottawa Ontario?... snow from November to May.

Pat
Great observations, Pat! It sure makes a difference when you've had a lot of 'exposure'.

Nice painting, Pippa! :D Okay, maybe the track needs a little shaping, but I love the composition and shadows you've achieved. You really caught the sunlight coming from the right side--it glows!

Deborah

plindley
11-07-2008, 11:24 AM
What is really great about Pippa's painting is that the fenceposts form an irregular line on the right.... if there were two identical curves of posts it wouldn't have been nearly as interesting... The composition is really lovely.... balanced and yet not at all boring. It is a simple scene but the treatment of light is lovely. I especially love the way the 'viewer' is looking from the shade to the light... it really draws you in!

Almost makes me impatient for our first snowfall................almost;)

BetsyPriesing
11-07-2008, 12:07 PM
beautiful snow painting Pippa love the variations on your open snow areas...beautiful

Pippa
11-07-2008, 12:29 PM
Thanks Winny! I looked at this photo for quite some time before deciding to paint it! ;)

Deborah - Thanks so much! It means a lot to me that you like it. It's such a quality photo though, I just had to paint what I saw!

plindley - Wow, thanks for all the comments! I can't claim to much of the credit for the composition though... I painted the photo pretty much as is. The only intentional changes I made to it were I made the hill on the right a little higher to form more of a diagonal horizon. And I made the band of shadow at the bottom a little narrower and the edges less straight.

Thanks Betsy! This painting was pure fun to do. I get one of those paintings every now and then and this was the first in a while!

robertsloan2
11-07-2008, 06:39 PM
Patricia, you're right about the fence posts! I think that's some of why Pippa's serendipitous goof-up on the ruts made so much sense.

Real ruts do get skids and people driving off to one side or having a vehicle wider than the last one. If you want to refine it, Pippa, someone suggested widening the inside side of the other rut to complete the skid-look irregularity and I do think that might be cool.

Paintings with perfect lines of fence posts and perfect smooth ruts on roads are more symbolic. Heart in a painting comes from these irregularities and natural errors and mistakes. I have learned to treasure my mistakes because they usually can be turned into something wonderful.

BetsyPriesing
11-07-2008, 09:51 PM
ok :D i think i'm more on track for this snow painting....hopefully:envy:
its not done yet....the background especially
i hated it until just the last hour:) 10x13 colorfix primed burgandy
C&C thanks!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Nov-2008/103534-HPIM4420.JPG

robertsloan2
11-08-2008, 09:07 AM
Wow. Betsy, I can see why you fell in love with it at this point. The lower, finished part is spectacular. I love the way you did the snow and the area of rocks under the bridge that didn't get as much snow on it and the light streaming down. It's beautiful and it draws me right in.

There's a strong zigzag of bare rock to bare rock climbing up the side of the gully under the bridge with sparkling bright sun slanting across to the bridge itself. This is wonderful.

I like the warms in the unfinished area and hope a little of that does still come through when you finish working the background. It seems to balance with what's in the finished part. Not sure why those oranges look right, but just a little of them in the final version would be a cool thing.

Scottyarthur
11-08-2008, 09:20 AM
Wow so many great photos and painting here, I have been watching and Opps lurking :eek: for a while, but I have to say this is just so awesome, I have to say it. I have only tryed painting snow a couple of times and not very well at that either, I am very inspired by all these great painting I may just have to give it another go in the future. Thank You Deborah:thumbsup:

Deborah Secor
11-08-2008, 09:35 AM
Betsy, it's GORGEOUS! I don't know...those golds in the top read as fall trees and work for me. If this was my painting, I might not do much more. I often spend several weeks looking at something before I decide what to do. (Or sometimes several months, or several years. I have a painting on the wall that I painted in the late 90s that I'm about to unframe and fix...but that's another story!)

Scott, join us!! Surely you SEE snow often enough, living in Denver!

Deborah

robertsloan2
11-08-2008, 09:59 AM
Deborah, then I wasn't off my nut thinking the golds in the top area looked so right! Thank you for validating that. I really like the colors in Betsy's painting as they are. They do look like rich fall foliage. It just looks like the snow came early.

Scott, I love your paintings. Give snow a try. Jump on in!

Semele
11-08-2008, 12:03 PM
Wow, I've been gone for a while and am thrilled to see all the interesting work that has popped up here, not to mention the tons of good advice. I've decided that I'm going to save this thread and absorb it over the next few weeks, then try out what's discussed here en plein air -- when the real thing hits the ground.

I can't comment on everything, but I just wanted to say to Elain that I actually feel cold when I look at your winding river piece. Well done!

BetsyPriesing
11-08-2008, 12:05 PM
Robert and Deborah thanks! although the golds in the top are not as...gold as they appear, more muted. Trying to get all the other colors to appear correct IRL made them...brighter.... maybe i should do that.

Inki C
11-09-2008, 07:20 AM
Hello,

Wow so much beautiful snow here!
Learned a lot about the colors to use so decided to try a snow landscape.
Picture from ref lib, on semi-rough white pastel paper, 9,4" x 12,6"
I hope it turned out ok... c&C very welcome.
Ingrid
(not finished yet...some work on the shadows to do...)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Nov-2008/150011-af_kleine_versie.JPG

BetsyPriesing
11-09-2008, 11:30 AM
Ingrid this is beautiful love love the tree! yes alittle more shadows then your done

Deborah Secor
11-09-2008, 04:30 PM
Ah, a very delicate and lovely rendering of this image. Thanks for sharing, Ingrid! :thumbsup:

Deborah

robertsloan2
11-09-2008, 09:53 PM
Ingrid, I love how you did the tree. It's so beautiful against the sky, and the road leads my eye right to it.

Inki C
11-10-2008, 04:52 AM
Thanks everyone, it was my first landscape ever, so I'm happy it's ok.
Ingrid

Pippa
11-10-2008, 07:27 AM
Betsy I definitely agree that your painting is Gorgeous! I love love love the colours you've used... the cool blues at the bottom and the warm golds at the top. Fantastic!! :)

Inki C - your painting is lovely too. It's always interesting to see how someone else paints the same scene!

Susan Jenkins
11-12-2008, 02:42 PM
LET it SNOW!! I just found this post and love it!!! Guess we're all getting ready for winter!

I just did this little quickie the other day and had fun working from a black and white photo. So I was able to choose the colors based on "value" rather than "color".

:) susan

BetsyPriesing
11-12-2008, 09:40 PM
Pippa thanks for the comments....its sitting on wall waiting for me to finish it off next week.

Susan! you did this off a black and white photo? beautiful! the darker sky at the top really makes this very interesting.

robertsloan2
11-13-2008, 01:15 AM
Susan, that rocks. Going by value rather than color let you use such rich color, and I wouldn't have known if you hadn't mentioned it.

I think a lot of photos mute the color compared to what I really see when I look at a snowy landscape.

Deborah Secor
11-13-2008, 10:42 AM
I remember seeing this one, Susan, and I agree that it's really got some wonderfully rich color in it! I enjoy using grayscale prints for paintings. It truly allows me to push colo ranywhere and anyway I want it. Loads of fun!

Deborah

Dancinlucy
11-15-2008, 08:36 AM
It is so much fun to keep checking in to see what you all have created. The grey, cold weather we had last week definitely made me look forward to seeing the first snowfall grace the branches of my apple tree, currently inhabited my chickadees and cardinals jockeying into positon for a turn at the feeder.
I've been home recuperating from foot surgery and have spent some time in my temporary studio set up downstairs using my plein air easel & pastel box. The lighting isn't as good but I decided to try painting snow, which is new for me.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2008/119921-Early_snowfall.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2008/119921-Into_the_light.jpg

Deborah Secor
11-15-2008, 10:35 AM
Hope you're back to Dancin soon, Lucy!

These are both very nice pieces. I think the deeper shadows of the second one please me because they let the light shine, but the texture of snow on trees in the first is wonderful, too! What paper did you use for these and what sizes are they?

Glad you shared--and I think you should continue to paint snow!

Deborah

robertsloan2
11-15-2008, 10:44 AM
Hope you recover from your foot surgery soon, DancinLucy, and that it was completely successful. Surgery is no fun, but I'm happy to see it led you to try snow painting. Both of yours are beautiful. The texture's great in them and the strong shadows in the second one made me smile.

I'm looking forward to when it snows again here in Kansas, because this year I'm going to go up into the back porch 'cold room' with slippers and a sweater and set up my plein air stuff right by all the bright windows. They aren't north facing but I do have a good view of the apple tree from there and of some other trees.

I can't wait to paint snow from life. After this class I'm looking at it in completely different ways. Life painting is always a lot of fun.

Dougwas
11-15-2008, 02:43 PM
I haven't painted any snow scenes yet, but I guess I don't have any more excuses. We had a foot of the white stuff fall yesterday.:eek: Winter is here! I took some photos today after I drove my daughter to work. Here's one of our town park. If anyone wants to paint it, go right ahead.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2008/102199-DSCF1481.jpg



Doug

Mario V
11-15-2008, 03:49 PM
Like many others, I have also followed this thread from start, and finally decided to give it it a try.
Thank you Deborah and all others:wave: for a wonderful tips. I have learned quite a bit and please let me know what I haven't :D

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2008/133719-0811pas_bjelasnica.jpg

Deborah Secor
11-15-2008, 04:51 PM
Doug, what a beautiful sight! I hope someone takes you up on it and gives it a go--but why not do it yourself?! :wink2:

Wonderful shapes and shadows, Mario! I wonder if the mid-ground snow is a little too pink yet (depending on the photo compared to reality, of course.) You might try adding a soft, light layer of very pale yellow over it so it comes a bit further forward, allowing the pink to stand on the most distant ridge. What size is this one? Very nice painting! Thanks so much for joining in...

Deborah

Dancinlucy
11-15-2008, 05:25 PM
Hope you're back to Dancin soon, Lucy!

These are both very nice pieces. I think the deeper shadows of the second one please me because they let the light shine, but the texture of snow on trees in the first is wonderful, too! What paper did you use for these and what sizes are they?

Glad you shared--and I think you should continue to paint snow!

Deborah
Thanks Deborah,
The square (8" sq.) painting was done on Wallis board, and the small (5" x 7") rectangular painting was done on Richeson gator foam. In each case I tried doing an underpainting using alcohol on one, and turpenoid on the other - all experimentation. I find my biggest challenge is value, making the light shine. I'm getting there, but struggle with the ballence. I welcome any suggestions!

Dancing is a long way off, but it brings me joy too, so it will come back.
:)

Winny Kerr
11-15-2008, 09:52 PM
Oh all these beautiful snow scenes and paintings, I have yet to start mine. Hope its not too late. I want to do my own Christmas card. Better hurry. There are some great reference foto's to choose from including yours Doug, thanks for sharing. Winny

Dougwas
11-16-2008, 12:45 AM
Deborah- After I finish Charlie's still life classes, I will tackle a snow painting. I have a photo already picked out and ready to go.

Doug

Deborah Secor
11-16-2008, 08:21 PM
Good, Doug.

I hope both of you will join us over here painting the cold white stuff!
:thumbsup:

Deborah

Mario V
11-19-2008, 07:09 AM
Wonderful shapes and shadows, Mario! I wonder if the mid-ground snow is a little too pink yet (depending on the photo compared to reality, of course.) You might try adding a soft, light layer of very pale yellow over it so it comes a bit further forward, allowing the pink to stand on the most distant ridge. What size is this one? Very nice painting! Thanks so much for joining in...

Deborah
Deborah, it is a 9x13" on Colorfix. True, it is too pink - I corrected this with a yellow. THANKS :thumbsup:

Deborah Secor
11-19-2008, 09:50 AM
:wink2: You're welcome...

Deborah

robertsloan2
11-19-2008, 12:02 PM
In retrospect, I think I fell into that too with my Mule Deer and may want to adjust it a little in the foreground easing toward the middle ground, go through a more yellow then orangy shade even if I'm tightening it as most of the picture is foreground and near middle ground, there's not much background in it. The pink looks a bit overwhelming when I look back at it.

Would it be a cheat to lighten the nearest foreground by dragging an Iridescent White Sennelier over it after the yellow, to lighten it and give it sparkle, then use the iridescence more sparingly as the yellow fades through orange to the pink farther behind the deer? Or is it okay to use special effects?

I love that iridescent stick and haven't tried it yet, am seriously itching to!

Deborah Secor
11-19-2008, 12:14 PM
I haven't used the iridescent pastels much so I don't know how 'tricky' that might look or not, however the idea is a good one, as you and I have both seen the sparkle of snow in sunlight! Why not give it a try and let us know how you and others like the look of it... :wink2:

Also, for the record, I'll use a very soft pure white pastel to add the very last, very brightest highlights of sun on snow where needed. The idea is to hold back until you're certain that you need that last punch of light. If you add it too soon you may trap yourself into having to work backwards, trying to establish the slightly darker areas, which is so hard to do.

Deborah

robertsloan2
11-19-2008, 12:30 PM
Thank you, Deborah!

When I used iridescent wash in a watercolor painting, I found out it "read" about one small value step darker than the pure reserved white. That hurt the value contrasts of a surf scene horribly, and I didn't think to touch specks of opaque white into it for the highest highlights. That would have saved it.

You've just given me the fix if my iridescence on snow turns out a hair too dark! Not a lot but a tap or two of the Sennelier pure white would stick and give highlights on the highlights.

BetsyPriesing
11-20-2008, 11:35 PM
Dancinlucy...love your snow paintings especially the 2nd one....pulled right in! Love the little hint of green on the left with the warm bark, then touches of it in the background, it drags you right in.

I wonder if you could add some of the same intensity into the 1st going towards the shady area of those trees at the path end? You do really well with the blues!


Doug beautiful photo i think i will use it thanks!

Mario yes it is very beautiful...simple but complex :D

Dancinlucy
11-21-2008, 09:41 AM
Thanks, Betsy! I'm glad that works in the first painting and I will take a look at the second to see what might help.

Colorix
11-21-2008, 04:19 PM
Pieter Breugel the elder, I think, was one of the first to paint a real snow-scene,where the snow wasn't just a white area. This may be the second such known snow-scene, and if it isn't the first, the other is his own "Hunters coming home".

Thought you might find it interesting to see. Painted in 1566. Lots of lead white give the snow a brilliance. Name is "The Cencus of Bethlehem", and you can see Joseph and Mary in the middle foreground, her riding on a donkey, him leading it, carrying a huge saw over his shoulder. But it is also a political protest against the harsh taxation of the Flemish people by Phillip II of Spain.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Nov-2008/117343-Bruegel.jpg

Charlie

Deborah Secor
11-21-2008, 07:03 PM
Oh, a history lesson to boot! What doesn't this thread have? :D
Thanks, Charlie!

Um, a saw? I'm sure it's symbolic but it escapes me what that stands for.

Deborah

ElsieH
11-21-2008, 10:54 PM
:wave:

Oh, Charlie,
What a great painting! Talk about making the story into modern context!
To us, it was long ago, but when Pieter Breugel the elder, painted it back then, he was taking the Christmas story and making it "in their own time".
I love all the rich, warm browns and notice how the blue/gray of the sky and the ice is repeated in some of the clothing of the people down in the lower left corner! All the warms in the browns and brown/reds, make the snow and ice, and sky even cooler!

Do you know the "Where's Waldo" pictures that kids love?...they are to look among lots of busy areas to find stuff. This is a "Where's Waldo" of the 1500's! :lol: I could look at it for hours.
Yet, for all the details, he very carefully relates colors and values into big shapes among the details! :heart: :heart: :heart:

Colorix
11-22-2008, 06:21 AM
Hi guys, glad you liked it! I was thrilled when I came across it. Of course it is well known, but to me it's always been just another Breugel -- charming, lovely, snapshot of Flemish 1500s.

He's painted the grays of the ice around the figures on the ice, so the figures would have white lead ground under them, and glow! This is not the best photo, but the best I could find on the 'net that is painted by Senior, as Junior, his son, made copies of them that were, well, not as accomplished. This one really glows softly, and the snow is modelled and shaded. Depth is spectacular, but alas, not visible here.

Elsie, yes! It is just like one of those! There are other stuff "hidden" here, like the crest (emblem? heraldic sign?) of Phillip II on the house to the lower left where people queue to pay taxes.

It also depicts the cruelty of paying taxes when the people are striving to survive in one of the coldest winters ever (until then) in western Europe. Lakes and rivers froze solid.

It is totally unsentimental, too. Ordinary people doing ordinary things. Kids playing, including the bully who pushes a girl so she falls. (To the right of the woman with the broom in the near middle of the pic.)

I'd love to see it IRL. I think it hangs in Brussels, Belgium.

Deborah, the saw is just to indicate that he's a carpenter. The whole group -- demure woman on donkey with a blue-green mantle, and their belongings before her looking like a huge belly (making it overclear she's pregnant and near end of it) and the ox behind the donkey, plus the man with the saw signing he's a carpenter, both going up towards a census -- well, we all know what special Family that was, 1500 year earlier. :-)

It's been traditional for millennia to depict saints and holy people with an attribute, an indication of who they are. Man with saw/flowering staff = Joseph. Man clad in fur = John the Baptist. Man with book and possibly quill = St John. Man with staff carrying a child = St Christopher, etc.

I'll see if I can find a better pic. He really uses colours of white.

Oh, back then, there were mostly earth pigments, so it is even more amazing what they did, how he made the snow and ice cool!

Charlie

Judibelle
11-22-2008, 07:22 AM
VERY cool, Charlie. Thanks for showig it to us!
JB

Deborah Secor
11-22-2008, 11:49 AM
Well, duh! Saw= carpenter. But my goodness, that's one BIG saw.

I just wanta go slide on the ice with the kids. Might as well make the most of a cold winter, eh?

Deborah

ElsieH
11-22-2008, 11:56 AM
:wave:

I just had to come back again about the Breugel!
The more you look at it, the more you see!
Yes, the saw...of course..carpenter!
One of my "other passions", besides painting and music...I need more?,
is family history and genealogy.
So digging the past is what I do a lot of.
Besides my Irish, my German, French, English...(oh, we're really mixed up!).I have a great gob of Dutch-Flemish ancestry in both my parents' lines.
So I can really get lost in a painting like this and not come up for air for hours! A few years ago, I worked with a fellow in The Netherlands on a book
about the very old occupations of people in that area that modern folks might not recognize. The idea was that American genealogist researching their Dutch/American ancestry (New York City/New Amsterdam; Hudson vally etc.) would read about what their ancestors did and not recognize the name for the craft or trade. It was great fun and so this painting has that aspect just popping out all over!
But, what still amazes me so much is that regardless of the content of the painting, he has put it all in such wonderful composition, shapes, colors and values!
From a very cold, windy Wisconsin, that has no snow on the ground yet...but it's thinking about it! (We sent it all to upstate NY:lol: )
Soon, I'll have the real stuff to paint...en plein window:lol:

robertsloan2
11-22-2008, 12:40 PM
Thank you, Charlie! That is so wonderful. I love paintings from that era and have never seen that one before. It made sense to me that he showed Joseph as a carpenter, Jesus was and they learned their professions from their fathers usually. The whole thing is so complex with so much rich life.

Thanks for pointing out the little details of the taxation and the heraldry, the bully pushing the girl, the woman sweeping. The snow looks real. It is the color of an overcast day perfectly.

There are some surprisingly good cool tones and colors in earth pigments. I bought a set of them in 1997 at a historical event and it has a full range of colors. The cool colors were expensive because some of them are ground from semiprecious stones like lapis and malachite. Artists would get the leavings from jewelrymakers to grind them.

I've got a couple of books on medieval arts including recipes for how to make paint, how to draw, how to color flesh tones, how to make metalwork and stained glass in various colors. One is all on painting and the other has those other crafts in it. Some of those pigments were known to be dangerous even then. One author said of one of the lead pigments "Give this to your least valuable apprentice to grind, it's very dangerous."

Brueghel used those lead pigments masterfully in this and the results are so beautiful. I love seeing something that's a window back into time. I do not think that a time traveling photographer could have packed as much feeling and power into that scene.

There are limits to photography. This painting gives me the feel of the chill temperatures, the memory of crunching through snow on overcast days. The feel and weight of heavy wool clothes impeding motion. It's beautiful. Now it's tempting me to try a less colorful winter scene, something overcast and murky where the visibility recedes and the driven snow is brown and gray. (Driven as in driven-on.)

This painting reminds me so much of Chicago during the bad winter on the less pretty days.

Judibelle
11-23-2008, 07:09 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Nov-2008/103700-scan0026.jpg_winter_scene.jpg
I havent done a snow scene since my first attempt, so I decided to try another. I did it in about an hour, but couldnt quite get the effect I wanted. I think I started with the wrong background colors.
C&C welcomed
JB