Tracks | A watercolor exercise
This painting is done with my three-color favorite combination, namely: French ultramarine, burnt sienna and raw sienna. It is a very good color combo for (non-green) landscapes, especially winter and autumn motifs.
Start with the sky that can be seen on the left in the picture, let it dry and then paint the forest on the left at the back of the landscape. Let a few different color tones mix on the paper so that it does not become completely flat. Save the tree along the left and some tree trunks on the right part of the forest. When this is done and has dried, the trees in the background to the right of the picture should be painted. Use ultramarine and burnt sienna for this. Let the colors mix on the paper so that a pattern that varies between blue and brown is created. Save some of the tree trunks. Then you can paint some yellow-toned dry grass on the ground in the background and also in front of the river. Save the small poles that you can see in front of the river.
Paint some trunks for the trees in the forest in the background. Use light color and just suggest them. Then it’s time to paint the first detailed trees in the foreground. Paint the trees at the back bank of the river and also one at the front. These trees should be darker than those in the background and more detailed with even small branches. Also paint the posts in front of the river, not whole, save a little white, so it does not get too heavy.
Paint the two remaining trees behind the big one in the foreground. Try to make them darker than the trees behind. Leave a little unpainted white here and there in the tree trunk that will give the impression of snow. All these dark “black” colors are mixed with French ultramarine and burnt sienna, but a small contribution with the yellow raw sienna makes them more vivid.
Now it’s time for some blue paint, paint the river, no frills, paint flat blue in a reasonable value. Then the whole ground is painted with its snow in the foreground. Use a very diluted ultramarine, avoid painting the footprints, leave these unpainted, they will later become a highlight that shows the sunlight in the picture. Also paint the large birch in the foreground, darkest in the middle of the trunk and lighter on the sides so the tree trunks look round. Feel free to also use a little raw sienna in the tree trunks, a little yellow color in them makes them more natural.
The last thing that is painted are the important shadows, without shadows there will be no sunshine in the picture. A blue-gray color, mixed with French ultramarine and burnt sienna, is used for these. The long shadows on the ground behind the large birch are painted a little brighter than the shadows closest to the viewer. The footprints are painted with the shadow color only partially, leaving a little unpainted at the top left of each footstep where the sun hits the snow. Some grass can also be painted and maybe, if you want, even a little shade color on all larger tree trunks.
A high-resolution image of the painting: https://photos.app.goo.gl/STRTB5kQ6K82LnEC8