Shrink's Views

ramblings of an unknown psychiatrist

Winter Trees: a painting

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on April 27, 2013

winter trees

Title: Winter Trees

Size: 18 X 27 cm

Medium: Watercolor on Handmade paper

March 2009

After I painted “The Path”, the feedback I received motivated me to paint again. Of course I was a getting busy as in the hospital where I was working. So, there was a gap of about 9 months between ‘the path’ and this.

I had seen a couple of videos made by a self taught artist Bob Davis. He has a website which can be found by clicking this. You could access these videos and teach yourself too.

The “winter trees” was made using a layered approach. By this I mean I have painted this painting in layers. There is a wash which covers the entire sheet and then after the paint dried I painted over it.

The first was a variegated wash. By this I mean I load a brush with blue paint and run it on the top of the paper and I progressively move down by diluting the lower border of the layer with water till it is just plain water by the time I come to the middle of the painting. This gave the sky a smooth appearance. I added yellow on the lower border and took it to the middle in similar fashion till it is plain water in the middle again. This is pretty important. If not done properly the two colours could mix and give out a green at the horizon!

Once the layer has dried, I painted the distant trees with a random touch of yellows and light brown allowing some amount of mixing to happen on paper. I keep those colours light in value as it adds perspective of depth. Farther objects are lighter and nearer objects are darker in value.

Once these distant trees dried I painted the brown tree. I first painted the tree and the branches. The source of light is from the left side of the painting. So I saw to it that the opposite side is darker due to shadow. I painted the leaves with dry brush techniques running the strokes from periphery to centre of the tree. It is important for us to know the outer limits of a tree when we paint them. It is a common mistake for beginners to start from centre of the tree and keep on going without knowing limits. It is quite tempting indeed to do that.

I painted the grey tree after the brown tree dried. I added green to the foreground. A tint of brown was added to green and was used in areas beyond the road. I added the grasses on both sides of the road. This brought contrast and brought the road ‘out’. I painted the shadows for the trees. This helps to root the trees to the ground. One should not forget the source of light while painting the shadows. I carefully left a patch of non shadow area in between the trees. This added to the sense of depth. The tree shadow falling on the road in the foreground pushes the rest of the stuff ‘behind’, further adding to depth. The tree which is not in the field of painting but casting its shadow adds drama to the painting.

After I framed the painting I felt that adding few birds could have been better. I must add that absence of ‘life’ better depicts winter. So maybe this is just fine 🙂

Hope you learnt a couple of techniques and principles reading this post. Happy painting,

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