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First I pre-stained the whole canvas with Raw Sienna. I let this dry before painting my sky with a 1½” Flat brush. The sky was a mixture of Cobalt Blue and Titanium White, stronger at the top with more blue, adding more white to the mix as I came further down the sky. I then washed my brush out thoroughly before daubing on a few strokes of Titanium White. I added a mix of Paynes Grey and Crimson at the base of the clouds, before using my finger, in a rolling motion, to create the tops of the clouds whilst merging in the grey mix from the bottom to give a shadow. Once this had dried, I did my pencil drawing.
For the majority of the first section, I used my Rigger. I added a few twiggy bits, and stippled the shapes of the trees in the distance. This was done with Raw Umber with hardly any water on the brush. I followed with a few stipples of Paynes Grey to the right-hand side of some of the clumps and to the base of the woodland. I also introduced a few tree trunks and boughs with simple strokes, before using my split ¾” brush to stipple Naples Yellow here and there.
Time for a couple of more prominent trees. To fill in the big tree, I used my Size 8 Round brush and strong Paynes Grey. For the trees behind I used the Rigger to paint both with Raw Umber, then put some Paynes Grey down the right-hand side of the boughs before adding the light of Naples Yellow to the left. I added some sparse foliage, using the split brush technique, but with little paint on the brush. The first colour was Raw Umber mixed with White and then a few stipples of Paynes Grey for more depth, before stippling some touches of strong White.
Once that had dried, I put on random daubs here and there: a few touches of Raw Sienna, the same of Raw Umber and some Burnt Sienna. Then I stroked down with my finger to merge the colours. I went to the top of the tree with the same brush and added a few strokes of Naples Yellow. Again, I stroked down with my finger to merge the colours and let the light in, before going back down to the base and putting in a few strokes of Paynes Grey, dabbing it on to give the impression of bark. With a mix of Paynes Grey and Burnt Sienna, I laid the full length of the side of the brush on the canvas and dragged outwards to give that rough growth on the side.Then I made it snow on this tree with some strong dabs of Titanium White to the left, and Cobalt Blue mixed with Titanium White to the right.
Going back to my ¾” Flat brush, I filled in the path with Raw Umber, with a touch of White added here and there. Then I put big broad strokes of Titanium White to both sides of the path and in the centre.
The grassy bits sticking up from the snow were done using the ¾” Flat brush, split. These were quite random marks, stippling on here and there but also flicking upwards to give grasses. I used Hooker’s Green mixed with Burnt Sienna, then a few dabs of Burnt Sienna. You can see where I dabbed on a little Paynes Grey for extra depth, and some mucky snow!
I let the painting dry before drawing in the pheasants. I did the bird in the sky with the tip of my Size 8 Round and my Rigger, using Cobalt Blue mixed with Hookers Green for the head and Crimson for the comb, Raw Sienna mixed with Burnt Sienna for the lighter patches of the body, then Raw Umber with Burnt Sienna for the darker shapes. For the final two birds on the ground, the same colours were used (although here you can’t see under the wings), but they are much stronger, as they are closer. To finish off the painting, I’ve got a couple of birds grazing in the distance.