I had a photograph which was so underexposed that it almost looked black and white. But it had an intriguing design I wanted to explore--a line of snow-coated trees along a dark band of a creek flowing through snow fields. I photoshoped it to lighten the darks. It looked better; but it still had hardly any colors, which wasn't a disaster. I could "make up" colors easily, you see. Browns for the trees, dark blues for the creek, and various whites for the snow. The painting isn't really about color. It's about design.
The photo's picture plane was originally divided into two by the biggest tree, which I moved a little to the left. Other trees were also moved a bit this way and that way, so that the painting has three groupings of trees: the papa group in the middle, the mama group on the right, and the lone tree (baby!) on the left. The snow field across the creek is sunlit; the snow bank in the foreground is in the shadow. So are all the trees. I had a lot of fun painting wet snow clinging to the trees--trunks, branches, twigs, and all. Oh, I wish it would snow!