Are you ready for fall and winter? I am and I’m interested in capturing the luminous winter landscape. How do we depict snow most effectively? Surprisingly, staying away from white can help us head in the right direction. Although the composition on this one is rather simple, the challenge lies in getting enough difference in value while still getting the snow to read as snow. This lesson has a bonus piece! I did two versions, so you can follow along with both or use your own reference for the independent assignment.

This is a two-part lesson. First a Follow-Along Demo. Follow along at your own pace but remember my suggestions for time limits! Next is an Independent Assignment meant to expand on some of the principles presented in the Follow-Along Demo and to personalize your work. When you have completed both parts you can upload one or both images to receive a personal video critique on your work. Remember that the more mileage you get, the more progress you make, so I recommend that you complete both parts before submitting your images.

Who it’s for – This lesson is for intermediate and advanced painters.

What’s it’s About – How do we depict snow most effectively? Surprisingly, staying away from white can help us head in the right direction. Although the composition on this one is rather simple, the challenge lies in getting enough difference in value while still getting the snow to read as snow.

Set a Personal Focus – Try to focus on just a couple aspects of the painting. For instance if you really are interested in color, focus on that and don’t worry too much if you don’t get the drawing exactly how you’d like it. Take it a step at a time!

Set a Time Limit – Keep it simple and don’t spend more than an hour on it. If you find yourself spending two or three hours on it, it’s time to STOP and try another version!

Materials

  1. Your pastels
  2. An 12 x 12 piece of Colorfix paper. I used Burgundy for this lesson, but you could use a different color or different brand of paper if you like. Please use sanded pastel paper!

Materials

  1. Easel
  2. Baby wipes
  3. An apron

Demo
Before You Start, a Few Tips on Following Along

  1. Stop the video whenever you need to – it’s one of the great things about learning this way. Plus, you don’t need to take notes!
  2. Don’t feel funny about copying my pieces! It’s a time-honored way to learn and I know you’ll develop your own “style” in due course. I give you lots of ways to take off on your own and expand on the demos/lessons.
  3. Take your time, but not really! I want you to speed up a bit so you can start to develop the “whole” piece all at once.
  4. Do it differently. If it feels uncomfortable, you’re likely on the right track.
  5. Remember the three “P’s” Perfection, Procrastination, Paralysis. There is no such thing as a perfect painting, so don’t even worry about it.
  6. If you have trouble, ask for help! My team and I want you to have a great experience doing the lessons!!
  7. There are 5 stages in each lesson. The beginning of each stage is a good time to pause the video, take a short break and check in on how you’re doing.

“Winter Glow” Notes:

This piece started from a photograph that is fairly monochromatic, so I had to really use my imagination to bring some color into it. What I do love about the reference is the glowing sunset peaking behind the bare tree branches. This piece has a lot of glazing; layering harder pastel over softer to blend. Think of it like putting a thin wash of watercolor over an area in a painting. There are two versions which are quite different from one another.

Part 2
Independent Assignment

For the independent assignment, I’ve provided a few photos for you, but I highly recommend that you use your own. This lesson is about capturing mood and the emotion of a scene, so you want to use your own reference.

When You’ve Completed Both Part 1 & 2
When you’re done, click here to upload pics of your painting and I’ll send you a Personal Video Critique. I’m curious what you’ll come up with! The first critique request is a free bonus for you. If you’d like additional critiques, normally a Personal Video Critique is $97 but you can send a message my support team to get a discounted critiques package – I’ve already told them that since you are taking lessons from me, you get at least 40% off.

If you aren’t ready for a personal critique from me, then be sure to upload your work to our Community page where your peers can take a look. I often comment on the Community submissions as well – it won’t be a video critique but I really enjoy seeing your work and helping you when I can.

The Stages (applies to both part 1 & 2)

  1. Planning
    • Crop your reference, (feel free to crop it just like mine or change it up a bit).
    • Do a quick 5 to 10 minute thumbnail. This is a great way to get a feel for the piece and visualize the final version.
  2. Drawing
    • Scale up your thumbnail to the correct proportion Watch my video on scaling a sketch!
    • Lightly sketch in the essential shapes
    • Use your thumbnail sketch more than your photo reference at this point
  3. Blocking In
    • Establish the essential shapes of the piece, (3 to 5 largest shapes) Use the sides of the sticks)
    • Establish the values of those main shapes. What is the overall or average value of each shape?
    • Get a feel for how the piece works as a whole.
  4. Adding On
    • Add a variety of hues, and intensity to each shape.
    • Add texture and smooth out gradations where needed. Watch my video To Blend or Not to Blend.
    • Add a light source or direction of light.
    • Add detail.
  5. Finishing
    • Resolve any areas that need attention or TLC.
    • Slow down make color adjustments where needed.
    • Go the extra mile and exaggerate contrast and intensity where needed. Give yourself permission to do this!
Winter Glow
Download the Lesson PDF

Enjoy “Winter Glow”!

To Download the PDF file:
Ctrl-Click (MAC) and choose “Save File As”
Right Click (PC) to download files.


Click Here to Download the PDF
Download the Images PDF
To Download the PDF file:
Ctrl-Click (MAC) and choose “Save File As”
Right Click (PC) to download files.


Click Here to Download the Images PDF
Skill Builder
To Blend or Not To Blend
A Little Color Theory

SUPPLEMENTAL VIDEOS

Lesson 18