This painting represents a specific time and place in American history. Early Latter-day Saints built this temple in Nauvoo Illinois. Between December 1845 and February 1846 thousands of faithful saints were able to receive their temple blessings there before being driven out of their homes.
I am using an oversize sheet of Arches 140 lb. cold pressed watercolor paper for this painting. I first soaked it in the bath tub, then stapled it to my backing board. When dry I carefully worked up my drawing using a light 4H pencil, a t-square, and triangle to get my perspective right.
While you can’t draw in every detail at the start, I at least need to get the proportions fairly accurate. As I begin painting, I will lift the lines a little with a kneaded eraser so they won’t show through the paint as much.
I wanted this painting to have a warm, majestic feel, even though it was a winter scene. So I used lots of yellows and pinks in the dramatic sky, echoing those hues in the shadows of the temple and the reflected light of the snow.
Even though it’s a winter scene I want to allow a few autumn colors to show through to help warm the painting up. Now I do a little more careful sketch of the buggy and start to paint it since this will be an important visual element.
The buggy is finished and looks pretty good so I can move forward with the more tedious work of establishing the windows and surface details on the temple. This part takes a long time, but I don’t want to start before my overall value and color scheme is established.
I continue to build up the values now and go to work on all the foliage. I work a little bit tightly on a few of the foreground shrubs to identify detail more clearly. After a couple of weeks on the drawing table, the painting is completed.