Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Winter Pond, Behind the Scenes

Painting snow scenes in gouache can be a challenge, especially when the temperatures dip below freezing. 

There are at least four solutions: 1) Vodka in the water, 2) Hand warmers under the palette, 3) Painting from inside a car, 4) Waiting for a day that gets above freezing, or 5) Painting next to a bonfire.  

I used the last strategy for this painting of the pond in our forest. (Link to YouTube) I built up the bonfire earlier in the day and it was throwing off a lot of heat. I wanted to paint it during the last 45 minutes of daylight, when the sun gets low and glimmers off the bronze-colored water.

There are so many ways to start a painting in gouache. The opacity lets you find your way back if you need to restate or lighten a passage. This time I started wild and loose, trying to get the big tonal areas worked out early on.

There was a lot detail in the scene, but I figured I could find it with the brush.
Gumroad tutorial: Gouache in the Wild


Steve said...

Love this. Admire your commitment to painting a winter scene from life. Also admire making it possible by building the bonfire ahead of time. I’d have wanted to include the fire in the painting, but that would almost certainly mean being too far from it to benefit from its warmth.

A Colonel of Truth said...

Nice, James! Quite nice!

It was 0 degrees F here on Christmas Eve. Decided to experiment (knowing better) w/ acrylic. Cut water 30% w/ isopropyl alcohol. No fire, handwarmers, nor car. Managed an 11 x 14 in. on canvas but paint/water still froze. Once inside, thawing necessitated keeping painting flat to dry. Now wish I’d slightly angled to take advantage of runs. Anyway, great fun. Later switched to oil and much larger canvas. Cold weather training above Arctic Circle 35 years ago still comes in handy. No such thing as bad weather just bad clothing.

Eric Sareyka said...

I love it how you are able to build up this scene on such a small size of sketchbook. In 2018 I will practice it.
Thank you for sharing, and I wish you the best for 2018!

Studio Maywyn said...

Bonfire, and blackberry brandy
Thank you for the video. It is on my New Year's Day to view list.

Rich said...

"No such Thing as bad weather, just bad clothing"
...what the Colonel said.

(just had a walk in a snowscape with rain: winter-wonderland being washed away)