Most of us were hit by several rounds of snow last week and over the week end. One was a blizzard. Tonight and tomorrow night are going to hit sub zero temperatures. We are going into a deep freeze. I found the above image about a year ago on wet canvas and set it aside as it looked a little too difficult for me at the time. The inclusion of so many small white areas boggle my mind unless they are snowflakes that I can spatter in. I have used liquid frisket more this year, so decided to give this scene a go to correspond with our weather we have been having.
I drew the scene in, lightly in pencil (just the tree line and a few sloping lines of drifts). I then masked out everything that was small and white that I saw in the reference.
With a mixture of permanent rose, magnesium blue and a touch of halloween orange to gray the wash a little, I painted the sky in a large wet wash. Where you see light areas, I used clear water into the already gray wash and tilted my board from side to side as well as up and down. This created the granulated wash for the sky. I lifted the wash in the area of the clouds by dabbing with a kleenex (non-lotion kleenex). I repeated the wash on the sky a second time after the first wash dried. For the foreground, I wet the entire area, first. I then took the same gray color and streaked in the long shadows behing the drifts. Around the shadows, I fed in very light washes of manganese blue and permanent rose to give the snow more than a bland white look. Again, I tilted my board. I did not paint where I wanted it to look lighter and just allowed pigment to run where it wanted. I also had to soften edges on the long shadows as I worked with a “thirsty” brush (one that is wet and wiped dry with a scott towel or kleenex). This softening has to be done while the wash is still wet or you lose the effect. Fast and furious is the motto with these washes.
I used earthen green, olive green and quin. gold to paint my trees. I allowed them to freely mix together on my paper as I painted them in, color next to color. I took this step as far as I could without removing the frisket.
This is what it looked like when the frisket was removed. I know! Hard edges and ugly!!!! On some papers, where the pigment is laying on the surface, you can take a damp brush and gently soften the edges and pull some of the pigments into the white areas to shadow and shade them. I had used Arches 140 coldpress paper and the edges remained. I then mixed the same variations of colors and went about shading my drifts, darkening the long shadows, touching up background trees and bringing the scene together. This phase was, by far, the longest phase of the painting. I still think my skills with frisket need some work, but am pleased with my first use of frisket in this manner.
The above was the result.