OK, major cheating this time:
My forems xmas card this year is a bit of a fraud because I need to devote more time to other projects so I wanted to do it quickly:
I'm not good at buildings (that's a boathouse by the way) so I made a 12x8 print of the photograph on heavy textured paper, covered it with a semi-transparent white wash and painted over it. The relative absence of detailed foliage is down to the time constraint but I think - hope - that makes it look a bit more wintry than the other lake picture.
Serendipty: I'll let you in on a guilty secret. It wasn't supposed to look that misty. It almost looks like it's raining and I've thought about it and I think I understand how that happened. I'm not going to tell you exactly what I did but now that I've accidentally discovered how to create that effect I'll do it deliberately in future and tell everyone I invented the technique on purpose.
Oh, and if you're wondering what the little dark blobs on the lake are, the answer is - I can't do birds either!
About the subject:
Hartsholme Country Park just outside Lincoln is almost literally my back yard. I live just a few minutes walk from the nearest access. It's only about a square mile in area but it has a tremendous variety of habitats and several lakes and ponds of various sizes. The developed part of the park is only 200 acres, but beyond that are the nature preserves which have SSSI status due mainly to their rare, and in at least two cases unique, species of mosses and fungi. It is home to the remnants of two indigenous herds of wild red deer and muntjacs - male red deer are called harts, hence the name Hartsholme. I've taken hundreds of photos of the park (a couple of which are used on tourist information websites) which I use extensively for reference as I develop my method. The two lake pictures that I've posted on here are of the biggest lake, which is a former stone quarry which was then used as a reservoir then allowed to go wild. Most of the canals in the area have also gone wild and I'll be painting some of those in the summer. The main lake has a very picturesque iron bridge where it joins a canal, and a wooden bridge farther along the canal. The bridges are quite intricate and as yet beyond my skill to paint convincingly but I'll get there. I hope one day to be able to paint deer, but they're extremely shy and I've never managed to get close enough even to take a good photo.