Sketching Outside in Winter with Watercolour

The Town Park

Hello everyone. Happy New Year to you all – let’s make this a good one ! Well, sketching outside in winter actually depends on just a few things, a fine day, some simple art materials and enthusiasm! To be honest, I have sketched outside in drizzly rain (see image above ) But, if the rain persists, the paper becomes too wet and the watercolour develops strange patches of colour that you definitely didn’t intend! Seriously though, I do enjoy sketching outside in cooler weather. And you can always go for a brisk walk to warm up and drink some hot coffee from your flask. ( I forgot to mention this in the list of essentials )

Sketching Outside in the Town Park

Sketching outside in the town park. Ink and watercolour sketch showing the impressive tower and the grand entrance with a flight of steps.
The Town Park

Back in November, on a cold, intermittently rainy day , I sat for half an hour and managed this watercolour sketch. And I just went straight in with the ink and didn’t bother with a pencil sketch. Incidentally, this is my preferred method of outdoor sketching. Actually, it does help me to produce a fresh, lively painting, a record of the occasion, which is what I’m aiming at. Although it was damp and grey, the park was quite busy with families, pairs of friends meeting up outdoors and loners, coming out to stare hungrily at company. There was also an elderly jogger doing a circuit round the tower and up and down the steps. Actually, this tower is a fine sight. And a team of volunteers look after it and show visitors round on Sundays. However, I must explain that my sketch only shows about a half of the impressive height of the tower.

Sketching from the Car

A watercolour sketch showing a wide view of snowy fields and winter trees, through the  car windscreen- almost sketching outside.
A Snowy Day

As you can see, in December the weather became much colder. And I was dying to go out and attempt to paint the snow covered fields. Fortunately, we found a decent parking spot with a huge view over the fields and little copses of trees. And, I was still hankering after propping up my sketch book and paints on the dry stone wall. But, it wasn’t practicable, so I settled for the passenger seat of the car. I wanted to convey the way the tufts of rough grass were forcing their way through the slowly melting snow. And, I enjoyed leaving the paper white for the snow – it seems ages since I painted a wintry picture. This one took 40 minutes

The Winter Trees

The Winter Trees

As I have tried to show here in this close up, in the golden sunshine, the bare branches almost glowed a warm russet brown. And, then I realized that I was trying to change the temperature of the colours and the sky. Because the stormy clouds were moving in and I hadn’t noticed! So, it was time to call it a day and go home to get warmed up. Let’s hope for more milder, fine days – ideal for outdoor sketching!

If you would like to see more of my recent winter sketching, see here and here.

10 Replies to “Sketching Outside in Winter with Watercolour”

  1. Well done Margaret. I gave up sketching outside in winter when the colours froze on my palette in the Lake District one year. I must admit I have been thinking of just taking a pencil and sketch book out and now seeing your efforts I might take the plunge.

    1. Thanks, Graham. Go for it! Some of my artbuddies in Urban Sketchers Yorkshire go out all year round – admittedly, we go out in towns and cities and there is always somewhere warm or sheltered to retreat to ( in a normal universe, that is )

  2. Margaret, always loving your work! Still am amazed how with a few lines and color choices you make a scene come alive. And thus am really amazed to also see your December winter scenes! So different, so beautiful, so soft! And from inside a car! ❤️ Have reblogged! Let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to add 😊

    1. Felipe, thank you so much for the reblog! I really appreciate it. What you have written is quite nice as it is. The colours in the scene were really vibrant against the white of the snow . Thank you for your kind words – I think that the time frame does help you to make quick decisions and that is sometimes a good thing when painting!

    1. Windshield sketching, I like that! I’m glad if you feel a little bit inspired to go out and sketch. There’s so much material out there!

  3. Great. It’s always a good feeling when you do actually get to paint outside. Always a challenge especially with our weather here!

Let me know what you think !