Step by step watercolour demonstration
Painting a snow covered landscape with bridge and river in Watercolour. A step-by-step demonstration.
Below is a demonstration of a wonderful snow covered North Yorkshire landscape.

The copyright of this image is also owned by other companies with world wide reproduction rights - do not copy - save etc, or reproduce (repost, put in blog etc) this demonstration, page or images for 'any' reason.

Snow at Arncliffe - Copyright - Alistair Butt plus other companies - reproduced here with written consent
Stage One:
A detailed drawing of the subject was produced on stretched watercolour paper. Before any painting is started all the white parts of the painting are masked (I use the colourless masking fluid from Winsor & Newton).

Next the whole paper area is given a wash with plain water and while this is soaking into the paper I'll pre-mix the first wash colour's on the palette. The first objective is to establish the sky and remove the remaining white areas of paper.

A light gray & blue for the sky and as the plain water wash was drying, the base colour's are loosely applied to the buildings, statue and people. Allow to dry.
Stage Two:
This next stage was to paint the middle tones of the trees, again a range of colours used to achieve this, and concentrating on the larger branches of the tree.

Again leaving areas of the underlying wash to show through, start building form into the trucks/branches.

The ivy was again given a wet-into-wet wash of the correct mid tone using a range of greens with areas left to create form. The middle tones (leaving lighter areas) of the church tower were then painted being careful to get the stonework correct.
Stage Three:
Almost a repeat of stage 2 but this time painting the darks and shadows of the trees.

This was greatly helped by the strong side light at the time and one of the main reasons for painting this picture. Dark colour was mixed for each tree and area of ivy and as before leaving lighter areas i.e. lighter branches in front, as this creates form and depth within the tree.

A shadow wash was then applied to all areas of tree/ivy that required it. Likewise a shadow wash was painted onto the left-hand face of the church tower while avoiding the lighter coloured tree that was in front of it.

The last part in this stage was to start painting the underlying colour for the far river bank under the bridge arch.
Stage Four:
The right hand bank behind the bridge was painted in a few washes.

First all the darks of the banks, those areas not covered by snow and along the edge of the river.

The shadow was then painted over the whole area but leaving clear patches where the sunlight caught the snow.
Stage Five:
This stage was all about painting the wonderful stone bridge. To ensure the lines of snow on some of the stonework I masked these before painting the bridge.

The first wash was the underlying light colour of the stone followed by the middle tone (leaving areas of the light colour) as the detail of the stone work was built up - at times painting one stone at a time (for example around the arch).

Last comes the dark tones of the bridge and as with the middle tone the detail was built up.

Before painting the shadows cast from the trees (to the right of the picture frame) I painted the bushes (using light to dark washes) to the left of the bridge and the strong dark shadows under the arches.

The cast shadows were painted and the edges softened with plain water.
Stage Six:
I started painting the water below the bridge arches and worked forward. The reflections were painted first using a slightly darker tone of what was reflected but leaving any lighter areas (e.g. pillar snow reflection and church) clear.

Once all the reflections were finished a wash of blue (tone darker than sky) was painted over the whole area of water. This wash will soften the detail of the reflection, this can go too far (depending on colours used and how wet the wash is) and some detail may need to be reinstated.
Stage Seven:
The last section to paint was the foreground bank of snow. Like Stage Four all the darker areas not covered by snow were painted first and this was followed by two washes for the cast shadow.

Being careful not to paint areas of snow catching sunlight and working from the top forward, the first shadow wash was a wet-into-wet wash with slight variations to the colour.

The second shadow wash was added to show the slightly darker cast shadows from the trees to the right of the picture, softening the edges with a damp brush.

The last elements to paint were the dried grass/vegetation using Naples Yellow (being opaque) and Raw Sienna. The colour variation on the images is due to the different light conditions when the photos were taken.

Copyright:
Alistair Butt and third parties have reproduction rights.
Further Watercolour step-by-step demonstrations
Copyright 2012 - Alistair Butt - click for watercolour demonstration Copyright 2012 - Alistair Butt - click for watercolour demonstration Copyright 2012 - Alistair Butt - click for watercolour demonstration
Copyright 2012 - Alistair Butt - click for watercolour demonstration Copyright 2012 - Alistair Butt - click for watercolour demonstration Copyright 2012 - Alistair Butt - click for watercolour demonstration
Copyright 2012 - Alistair Butt - click for watercolour demonstration Copyright 2012 - Alistair Butt - click for watercolour demonstration
Copyright 2012 - Alistair Butt - click for watercolour demonstration Copyright 2012 - Alistair Butt - click for watercolour demonstration