Jay PeakPosted: January 13, 2013
If I had a view of Jay Peak out of my dining room window I would paint it every day. I don’t but I am lucky enough to have friends who do. It’s a spectacular view that changes so often during the day and throughout the seasons.
I painted today’s early morning light on the mountains on a two-page spread in my 8″ x 5″ Moleskine watercolour book. As you can see from the photo below it was a fairly monochromatic scene although the sun did come out as I was finishing the sketch and that gave me some nice shadows for the snow. I took a photo of the scene through the window so that I could write a bit about how I composed my sketch.
If you look at the scene it seems like one big mass of foliage with very little light in it except for the birch trees on the left. To give it variety I chose to emphasize some of the more prominent evergreens, especially the tallest grouping near the centre. I like the way they break up the sky and give scale to the rest of the trees. I also simplified a lot of the trees as you move back in the scene. It would be impossible to paint every tree so I painted a smaller one on the right and a shorter grouping on the left. The white of the birch added some nice interest in the dark area on the left and some of those smaller branches were done with my rigger brush and a bit of white gouache at the end. I also varied the height of the peaks in the background and used a little yellow on the hills when a ray of sun briefly broke through the clouds. The shadows in the snow gave me a chance to repeat the curves of the undulating peaks in the background and provided contrast to the solid stripe of verticals that runs from left to right.