Winter forest in watercolor

This week i’m switching subject and let flowers on the side, but not the snow ! So i’m painting a forest landscape in winter.

My reference picture is a forest with a ray of sunshine and some leftover snow. A lot of information and a very lovely atmosphere. The challenge here will be the beam of sunshine which is my focus point and specify the whole atmosphere in the picture. So how to keep this part luminous ?

For once, as the contrast between dark and light values is really important, i’ve painted a value study. With only one color, indigo, i’ve painted this forest scenery trying to keep the light light and the dark dark. it’s quite easy to paint and it allows me to see what’s important in my painting for a good understanding of it. It’s a good way to identify the areas that can be simplified without losing sense in the image.

And then in a second study, i painted the exact same scene, but with colors. So that i was able to choose my color correctly and it allows me also to see if the composition is good. I’ve noticed with this second study that i need to have cold shadows in order to make the beam of light even lighter and warmer. This contrast of cold/warm color is essential to create the atmosphere i need in my painting.

And thanks to all this background work, the painting i’ve recorded in video was quite easy to paint. I did know exactly where i was going and i haven’t barely any hesitation.

Watercolor of a winter forest in video

Supplies :
Brushes : Escoda Aquario nº18, Rosemary & co serie 39 1/2″.
Paper : Canson Héritage rough.
Colors : Cerulean blue (Daniel Smith), Indanthrene blue (Sennelier), Verona gold ochre (Daniel smith), Quinacridone gold (Daniel Smith), Quinacridone burnt scarlet (Daniel Smith).

And here you have the finished painting (click to enlarge) :

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