Friday, 24 January 2014

Painting snow scenes

    This seems like the wettest January I've ever experienced, but even so there have been 3 or 4 absolutely fabulous days of glorious sunshine, blue skies and hardly a breath of wind, which shows that if we wait for them, and have all our art gear ready to go, we can take advantage of some beautiful spring-like days even in the wettest of Januarys. I've had some marvellous moments sketching in the hills lately, but all too brief.

    Anyway, in anticipation of some snow (much to the neighbours' concern we've been invoking the little-known snow-making ritual in the garden, but so far only attracted further deluge), I shall just cover a few basic points to help you with your snow scenes. This painting of a Herefordshire scene in late winter I did many years ago. I began by making the sky dark enough to highlight the snow-covered roofs, which were left as white paper. Even so, the cloudless sky suggests a fine day. To avoid the scene appearing too cold all over, I emphasised the red-brick walls of the buildings, and this also draws the eye to them as the centre of interest.

    Clods of earth from the ploughed ruts peek up through the snow, and I have re-arranged them slightly to aim towards the buildings. The field under the strong sunshine reflected dazzling white all over, but I wanted to subdue some of this so that the emphasis would be thrown more towards the centre of the composition, so I washed clean water right across the field and then a wash of cobalt blue with a touch of cadmium red over the immediate foreground and to either side. This is a technique you can use quite easily to highlight any part of a painting you wish.

    Enjoy the snow when it comes! I must get out into the garden again.............


  1. Lovely painting - yes David, this year is such a soggy contrast to last!

  2. Here in Maryland we have much more snow then usually.
    Love the calmness of your painting

    1. I envy you, Alina - we're getting just wind and rain here. What a great imagination you have, painting that fantasy castle and I love your falling snow!

  3. Snowing right now in Colorado! Great painting. Thanks!

  4. I just started painting watercolour. Found an old book of yours at the library I work at. I love it. Watching you on Utube is very helpful and encouraging you make it look so easy even when you are freezing or very wet. I am retiring from working at the library and will devote time to improve my painting in a number of years from now. Thanks for your U Tube instruction, very interesting.