Overcast, windy, rain.
A hawk cry rings out under the heavy damp air.
A red squirrel sits to peel the outer layer of a nut, unaffected by the rain.
An intruder approaches… another red squirrel. This invasion results in a quick chase around the tree and an angry fast flicker of the tail.
The intruder flees.
The steady hard rain wont deter the red squirrel nor will it deter me, the lover of nature in all weather, as I watch in wonder.
Posted in art, Artwork, Chicago, nature, Nature Sketching, sketch book, sketchbook, storm, watercolor painting, watercolor sketching, weather
Tagged art, Artwork, autumn, autumn rain, autumn tree, journal, nature, painting, rain, red squirrel, sketch, sketchbook, watercolor
Cold weather, dark gray skies, and the occasional flurries might put many in a gloomy mood. It will force some to stay locked in their houses, giving them an excuse to watch TV for hours and hours.
Then there are the adventurers….
Some extreme adventurers laugh at weather conditions, drill through ice, and sit for hours waiting for that bite. Some weaker adventurers (like myself) laugh at weather conditions just the same, but sit in a nice warm car and sketch extreme adventurers at play. He, he, he.
Winter is truly beautiful, even on the most gloomiest of days. It makes me happy to be out even if it means I have to sketch from my car to keep from freezing. I can appreciate the beauty of nature just the same looking through the window.
Maybe you can try it? If you feel as if you have cabin fever, get in your car and drive to the nearest forest preserve or cemetery. Just sit for 15 minutes and look for interesting things. Can you spot birds? Which way is the wind blowing? Follow the sway of branches. Notice the shapes of dried weeds….they’re all so different. Try to write down what’s going on or maybe even create a little poem. In just a few minutes your mood will suddenly be uplifted.
Goodbye cabin fever.
Posted in art, Artwork, Chicago, nature, sketch book, sketchbook, watercolor painting, watercolor sketching, weather
Tagged art, Artwork, Herrick Lake, ice fishing, nature, painting, sketch, sketchbook, sketching winter, watercolor, winter
The Chicago area has been hit by two significant snow storms since winter started. I love snow. Not only is it soothing to watch as it descends, but it dresses the winter trees in their formal attire. How beautiful. Each and every one dazzles.
So, let’s paint a winter tree during an enchanted nighttime snow storm!
I do not have a reference photo but the technique will work with any deciduous winter tree.
Step 1: Draw your tree on a 140lb coldpress watercolor paper with a pencil. My paper size is 6×9. The focal point is the tree itself so in the composition law of thirds, I wanted the tree to fill 2/3 of the paper.
Step 2: Using masking fluid, paint where the snow would land on the branches. I covered the tops of almost every branch. Let completely dry. If you do not wait until it is completely dry, you will ruin your brush. You can make sure it is dry by lightly touching it after about 10 minutes.
Step 3: We are going to paint the sky wet on wet. Using a 1″ flat brush with clean water, wet the paper in the area of the sky and the tree. Brush right over the dried masking fluid. Make sure you do not skip around and leave dry spots. When the shine on the paper disappears, paint ultramarine blue on top and bottom of sky and mauve in the middle. Let the colors blend and touch. You’re literally laying down a few brush strokes and stepping away. Do not over work this.
While the paper is still wet, sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on the paper and let completely dry. When dry tilt your paper and discard the salt.
Step 4: Paint the tree starting at the bottom and work your way up. I used a medium round brush. If you look at the base of the tree I started with a mixture of sepia and ultramarine. As I work my way up, I added mauve to that sepia/ultramarine mixture, then viridian green, lastly at the top alizarin crimson.
Using a small round brush, paint in smaller branches repeating the colors we already used.
Step 5: Rub the masking fluid off with your finger. Paint shadows under the tree using the same sky color on top.
Step 6 Final: Using a small round brush paint a light mixture (meaning less pigment and more water) of prussian blue where the snow touches the branches, making a fine line. This is the shadow color of the snow on the tree.
When everything is dry, take a #3 black micron pen and draw tiny branches/twigs coming from the small branches. Outline the trunk and main branches of the tree to make it stand out.
I hope you enjoyed this free step-by-step demonstration of how to paint a nighttime winter snowstorm.
If you would like to purchase a greeting card ($4.95) or archival print click below. Thank you!
Posted in art, Artwork, Chicago, nature, watercolor painting, weather
Tagged art, Artwork, Christmas, free step by step painting demonstration, how to, how to paint, how to paint a winter tree, nature, night watercolor scene, nighttime painting, painting, snow, tree, watercolor, winter, winter tree
Rain. Beautiful rain.
Straight down it was…no meandering, no skewing, no divergence, no wind. Tapping on leaves in trees creates a sound as if hundreds are clapping. My spirit is clapping.
I try to hear splashes in the puddles but cannot. The clapping overtakes the moment and I get lost in the mystery of His design.
And a few more leaves change colors.
Posted in art, Artwork, Chicago, God, nature, Nature Sketching, sketch book, sketchbook, storm, watercolor sketching, weather
Tagged art, Artwork, autumn, journal, nature, painting, rain, sketch, sketchbook, storm, tree, watercolor, weather
Did you ever hear someone groan when it started to rain?
“Oh MAN!” They might sigh, “Why does it have to rain? It messes up my day. I hate rain.”
Oh, but the beauty! So gentle, so rare…..if you look for it.
See past the sunless gray sky. See past the soggy ground. See past not having to escape the house without a coat. Look deeper and be amazed, for little blessings are in all places waiting to be uncovered.
The rain lasted for hours, but something magical happened. The raindrops held on to every branch on this paper birch and became illuminated with light from behind. Suddenly, the tree was adorned with stings of diamonds everywhere.
It stole my breath.
I bet it would have stolen yours as well had you witnessed this gift in person. Well, I’m happy to offer it here…to send you a sparkle of joy. But oh how cameras cannot do justice!
We are blessed with the sunset. We are blessed with the smallest of flowers, and yes, we too are blessed with the rain.
Enjoy the gifts.
Posted in art, Artwork, Chicago, God, nature, Nature Sketching, Paint His Love, sketch book, sketchbook, watercolor painting, watercolor sketching, weather
Tagged art, Artwork, diamonds, journal, nature, painting, rain, sketchbook, spring, tree, watercolor