Winter Veil

Original watercolor with gouache by Peter Ferber


9 5/8 x 6 3/4 inches, 18 1/2 x 15 5/8 inches framed size

To purchase, please contact The Art Place:

(603) 569-6159

“Here is another departure from my usual approach. It’s an accurate depiction of a scene I actually saw earlier this winter. I was out walking. The sun was shining at first, but suddenly a snow shower blew in. It was practically like a blizzard, and yet the sun continued shining on the far landscape (Copple Crown, in this case). So I was seeing everything through this snowy haze that turned the view into a pastel painting. Looking carefully, the snow flakes were actually a dark grey color, the darkest color I was seeing compared to the lit areas beyond. But somehow I felt rendering that literally would look strange, so I attempted to portray my impression of what I saw. I at first painted the distant scene as faintly as I could, then making the tree and stone walls slightly darker, but still very light. That didn’t capture it. So I experimented on another sheet with adding various strength washes of white gouache, which at full strength is opaque. I would paint what I thought looked right, but then as it dried the layer of paint underneath would gradually reappear until it almost looked like I hadn’t put anything over it. I finally tried it on the actual painting. It seemed like I had obscured it almost completely, but over 15 minutes the painting reappeared–still too dark. I had also been afraid the watercolor underneath would bleed and become one big mess. Fortunately, this didn’t happen. So I put an even stronger layer of gouache on it. This time I over did it. The underpainting didn’t come back enough, and you could just barely make out the shapes underneath. I thought at this point I might have to abandon it. But what did I have to lose? So I decided to try and wash off some of the opaque layer, soaking it with water, then wiping it with a paper towel. After doing this twice, and waiting almost an hour for it to thoroughly dry and reveal the final result, I arrived at what you see here, and for me what conveys exactly what I was hoping for. Looking at such a soft, gentle piece, you’d never guess what extremes it went through to get here and what seemed like missteps actually got me where I wanted to go. Maybe there’s a lesson in that!” – Peter Ferber