After assessing the color and value balance of Winter Mirage (the second version), I decided that I like it slightly better than the first version -- the paper was less wet when I painted the background foliage, hence the shapes were more define and less diffused, making better contrasts with the expanse of soft field of snow. I added details here and there to finish it -- tracks on the snow filed, fence posts, ledges and windows on the snow-covered house, branches on the pine tree and bushes... And here it is:
Winter Mirage (Version 2),
Watercolor on Arches #140 Rough Paper , 5"h x 7"w, 2012 #26
I've also started a couple of "big sky" paintings to further exercise painting on saturated wet paper, this time slightly bigger. I floated Cobalt Blue in a graded wash from top down, then a mixture of Aureolin Yellow and Permanent Rose in a second graded wash from bottom up. When it's still very wet, I added thicker pigments of the mixture of all the three colors plus some Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna at the snow fields in foreground. As the paper gradually dries, I switched to smaller brushes and added the cloud shapes using denser and denser pigment, sometimes going back and put even stronger pigments on cloud shapes that has diffused a bit too much. I added the dark hill shapes in the background last, when the paper is almost dry. It's both exciting and terrifying to try to get most of the picture down on the paper in one drying cycle, and I can't say I've done a great job here, but it's such a great exercise to learn about "control" the watercolor medium...
Watercolor on Winsor Newton #140 Cold Press Paper , 8"h x 10"w, WIP 1