Christine Lashley - Fine Artist

Winter Ice, Potomac River - Watercolor Lesson
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Step-by-step Demonstration of Water Reflections and Ice

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"Winter Ice, Potomac" 12 x 18", watercolor

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Reference photo

Step 1 - 4

1 No pre-drawing with a pencil... just go right to your watercolors!

2 A light wash creates the far mountains using Cobalt Blue and a tiny bit of Burnt Umber. More Burnt Umber mixed with a tiny bit of blue was added (while wet) for the feathery tree snags on the far shore. Add some purple to the mix for the shore trees to the left. If you are feeling brave, while wet, add some Sepia for a suggestion of trunks. The watercolor should bloom somewhat for the trees to create the illusion of billowy, soft winter trees overlapping the far blue mountains.

3 Create a swipe of wet wash below the far trees with Cobalt and, Purple and Burnt Umber for the reflection. Charge in, while wet, some stripes of brown and blue - going down - to make the trees look reflected in the water.

4  Light washes of blues, purples and grey create the ice in the foreground. Dab out with a paper towel to create a 'crunchy' texture. (Advanced students can try to create patches of warm in the ice with a subtle hint of New Gamboge mixed with Permanent Rose, while wet.) Let dry and add more washes for texture and color.

step 5 - 6

5 Use a pale wash of New Gamboge and Perm. Rose for the sky (add in a dash of blue-grey while wet). These colors should be applied in patchy strokes, overlap, and mingle while wet, to merge and make a dappled sky. Use the same warm mix for where the water reflects the sky.

6 Start to define the rocky snag/island with a blue/purple wash for the snow patch.

steps 7 - 8

7 Add more to the island, when step 6 is dry, with mixes of darks: Sepia, Ultram. Blue and Burnt Umber. Create the trees on the island with a mix of Sepia and Ultram. Blue. Use drybrush for the tiny branches

8 Dampen the peach color of the water, with clear water, under the island. While wet create reflections with Sepia and Burnt Umber. Add some swipes across the reflections with a damp brush moving in a horizontal line.

9 Darken some of the ice with texture (drybrush, dashes and dots) and glazes of color.

last stage

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