Warm blue cool blue

If you live in Montreal, you’ll probably agree that the light outside is pretty spectacular today. Clear and bright on the fresh snow (unless you are downtown where it’s probably all slush by now) and some great wispy clouds in the sky. When I parked at the golf course my first thought was that wanted to capture the contrast between the warm blue of the sky and the cool blue of the snow shadows. I regret not taking some step-by-step photos of this sketch but I was on my way to school and didn’t have much time. The order of the steps went something like this:
1. Wet the sky with clear water and gently brush in some blue (mostly Cerulean) to create those soft clouds, being careful not to muck around in the sky too much.
2. Mix up a big puddle of the cooler blue (Ultramarine, a bit of Cerulean, and the tiniest dab of Alizarin) and paint in the big snow shapes
3. Wait for the snow to dry and add in the dark rocks
4. Create the row of trees along the rock edge, varying the colour of the wash as you go and thinking about the edges of that shape (hard where trees meet snow and softer and more varied in the sky.)
5. Final steps: a second wash of sharper darks in the (now dry) trees and rocks, and a dab of yellow and red on the little buildings.


23 Comments on “Warm blue cool blue”

  1. Fred says:

    The sequence of steps was helpful. Thanks for posting.


  2. Stan says:

    Looks great> How long did it take overall, and how big was the painting? Always enjoy your blog and style.
    Stan in NY


  3. Jeff Gold says:

    Beautiful painting. You certainly did capture the bright light on the snow and the reflected light in the shadows. Stunningly concise! Your step by step makes my appreciation of it even greater. It’s a very inviting composition.


  4. Chris Rusk says:



  5. Janice Kelly says:

    Like it a lot. But easier said then done.
    Appreciate the step-by-step muchly.


  6. Nikira says:

    Love your today’s sketch, how you drew such sharp cold light, I can almost smell the air. And thank you for little tutorial, awesome. Awesome, how you can get big shapes, tonal values and so truthful watercolor. 😀


  7. SusanA says:

    Thank you so much, Shari, for the step-by-step! I learned something new today and got to enjoy your beautiful sketch.


  8. dezabaleta says:

    Excellent watercolor….


  9. Fiona says:

    Hi Shari,

    I love this painting!


  10. melisnorth says:

    Beautiful rendering of the snow!


  11. Jane Hannah says:

    Hi Shari — This would be a really nice painting to put beside my other one on the wall -))) I love it!


  12. Connie Renaud says:

    Your winter scenes are beautiful. Love the step by step method.


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