Monday, February 16, 2015

Winter Meandering

Winter Meandering, gouache 2.5" x 3.5" on Arches 300 lb. c/p
I'm interested in how to portray the dense winter background of tangles snowy tree branches and bushes without overdoing it. I think it began to work out in this one, though I have more ideas to try. When enough snow falls and ice coats everything the landscape changes so radically it takes another way of thinking to paint it. Snow changes all the value 'rules' that generally work. The land itself becomes the lightest value of all, in cases like this one. Part of the challenge is not to let the bluish snarl behind look too much like sky.

I bet I reshaped that stream a dozen times in different ways. I generally favor creating a sense of depth by simplifying a river or stream so that its widest point is at the bottom of the composition, but one can fall victim to over-simplifying. So in this case I decided to let it meander out to one side, but it was a bit of a fight! That's one thing I particularly like about gouache--it's opacity means I'm able to fight the painting without it showing too much.

Favorite part: The reflection of the large tree and the nearby bank in the stream. That's what gives this painting depth, I believe. It's nice when a plan works out.

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