Stag in winter landscape – watercolour
Stag in a winter landscape is a painting I really wanted to paint. When you see a Stag they completely dominate the landscape. I can’t explain my fascination with them, other than they remind me of the Highlands of Scotland. I have walked and camped in all sorts of remote parts of Scotland over the years and the Stag has always been a part of the landscape.
Underlying red watercolour washes
Here’s a close up of the Stag. First light washes of red pigment were applied and then orange/red layers were added. I am now building up the brown tones of the Stag’s fur. I am also conscious of preserving the white areas of the paper.
More of the Stag has been painted, but I keep adding more layers as well as starting to paint the background landscape. I’ve tried to give a ruffled feel to the fur, especially the chest. I’ve used small brushes to delicately paint the antlers, face and ears, so I can keep the white areas white.
Painting a White Background, with no white paint
Now I’m building up the background landscape. I’ve tried to give a wispy sense of movement to the birch trees in the background. It’s a winter scene so most of the background will be white. I don’t use white paint, that means the paper is my white. So in essence I’m painting everything but the white and using blue washes for shadows. I know I keep talking about ‘preserving’ the white, but when people see my paintings it takes a while to grasp there is no white paint.
I took the above photo with my mobile phone so you’re not seeing the true whites of the painting. This watercolour painting has now been professionally photographed. Want to see a better image? The watercolour paper in the above photo looks warped. A heavy wet wash had just been applied. Once dry the paper will become flat again. I always stretch my watercolour papers before using them. This watercolour painting is on 300gsm (140lb) cotton rag watercolour paper.
The Stag in Winter painting is nearly complete, just shading in the snow and the tufts of grass across the landscape.
Here’s the Stag in Winter watercolour painting finished. I love the ruffles of the Stag’s fur.