We had lots of snow shortly before Christmas. It was coming down like rain. Two times snow shoveling on the 24th of December and about 40 cm of snow in the woods. I did a short excursion with the camera, wading through heaps of snow. On Sunday the sun came out in the morning for an hour. I could take a nice panorama photograph of the cloister Maulbronn.
Now there is thaw since two days and the snow gets heavy. No wind and no rain made for perfect conditions to go out again finally. I love the diffuse shadowless winter light, the stillness and the snow muted sounds. Some woodpeckers were busy just as the harvesting machine which was cutting and pulling timber nearby.
Happy New Year to everybody and best of luck for 2011!
As expected the snow had melted away since my last visit. Temperatures well above zero and some rain removed the white cover of last week almost entirely. While on my way through the woods on this overcast day I noticed the wonderful greens of moist moss on the trunks of beech and oak trees which are the most common trees in our area. The place I live is named Maulbronn. It is very well know for the valuable oak timber which comes to auction every year. There are still some of the verys old trees left from the 17th and 18th century when oak was the dominating species here. People used to keep the cattle, particularly pigs in the woods.
Below you can see the materials that I use for these gouache sketches. I use an old plastic bag to protect the sketchbook from moisture. In addition to the 14 color Caran d’Ache gouache set I have a tube of Schmincke white, an extra mixing tray and a small vessel for water. The two clamps are important to keep the pages flat. Also I use a piece of old cloth to transport the brushes and to take off excess water/color from the brushes.
I prefer simple bristle brushes in various sizes (6-16).
These mini landscapes are another exercise for drawing from memory and for inventing landscape compositions with trees. With purpose I tried to imitate some 18th and 19th century recipes. After all this picture is only an excuse to put a link here to the great linocuts of Antje Seemann. I could see some of her impressive works recently in a nearby exhibition.
There has been more snow during this week. Now there is a 15-20 cm thick white cover, but today temperatures went up and rain is the forecast for tonight. Tracks of wild boars and roe deers are everywhere. I could see the bites of the roe deers on the few blackberry leaves left.
Once again the scenery has changed, although the snow covers everything I still try to keep the option for thaw weather open in this sketch. The gouache colors I use (14 colors set by Caran d’Ache plus Schmincke white) tend to brighten up when dry, especially the white, which seems a bit dull in wet condition. The color is still wet when I go home, therefore I put a twig between the pages to keep them separated while walking. Every now an then there will be hole in the paper,which I fix with transparent tape and paper. The older this sketchbook gets there more character it gains.