greeting cards

Winter solstice trees

A card for a friend who doesn’t do Christmas and who really appreciates the turning point that is the winter solstice. I too am glad that the shortest day has passed and, although it will take a while to be really noticeable, the light is returning.

I tried to make a similar design to this last year, using inks instead of acrylic paints, but I didn’t think my layering through properly beforehand and it all went horribly wrong. One of the very few things that actually ended up in the bin.

This year I took my time, worked out a plan and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I painted it on acrylic canvas paper and made it a bit larger than my usual cards, a standard 7″×5″.

The trees were created using a stencil, or more accurately, the spaces between the trees were created with a stencil. That meant that my first layer had to be black to avoid having to paint in all the small branches. When it came to doing the stencilling, I made a paper mask to create a curved horizon line and allow some of the tree trunks to stand further forward so they weren’t all in a straight line. I also created the sun and its glow with the stencil in place. Next I painted the foreground white and added the basic shapes for the tree shadows.

With the main shapes laid out it was time for some refinement. The shadows got more layers of colour, darker towards the base of the trees and lighter further away. Some touches of yellow where the sunlight catches on the snow. Light on the sides of the tree trunks to give them a little dimension and a few darker marks on the trunks for texture. Most of the smaller branches needed tidying up as my stencilling wasn’t perfect, and then I added some settled snow on them. The last touch was to add gilding flakes onto the sun to make it glow.

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