The Challenges of Painting Snow
Icy Brook 8"x10" oil on canvas
We’ve had our first snow of the season here in New England and the second is on it’s way. And this week in my zoom class we are going to paint snow. Painting snow is a bit different than a non-snow landscape. As you might expect, values are still the most important thing, the challenge is being able to see them.
Snow Fence 6"x6" oil on canvas panel - Available
The prominence of shadows in snow scenes gives the artist a wonderful design element, with their strong geometric shapes in the ground plane, and the color options. What drew me to the scene above was the interesting shadows cast onto the snow covered park by the slanted tops of the fence posts.
Sometimes I’ll try out ideas using the ArtRage app on my iPad. The above images were created that way by “painting” on top of the photos of summer plein air oil paintings.
Snow on the River 12"x12" oil on canvas - Available
Color is the fun part of a snow painting. The traditional approach is make the shadows cool and the lighted areas warm. Typically we think of the colors on the blue side of the color wheel as cool and those on the orange side as warm. In the above painting, I've used a whole spectrum of blues in the snow, water, and sky. The trees bring in a warm element.
Strawberry Banke 5"x7" plein air oil on canvas panel
Plein air painting in the snow is a real challenge. There’s the weather to contend with. You have to keep warm, but still be able to move around. The paint gets very stiff. And the shadows seem to move even faster than in the summer. And then there’s the parking. I know, that sounds weird. But in New England many lovely public open spaces where I like to paint don’t plow their parking lots in the winter, so options are limited unless you want to add a snow shoe trek to the project!
12/15/2020 08:16:09 am
These paintings are gorgeous, Bobbi! Painting the snow is something I’d like to get better at doing.
12/22/2020 06:11:03 am
It's all about the values, Pam. Try it in black and white first, Also I think it's very hard in watercolor, because there is so much to leave unpainted.
12/15/2020 10:37:24 am
Great Inspiring If I was involed w/ writing & filming a video -I would go right out and painr!
12/22/2020 06:11:58 am
Wow, Bob, that sounds right up your alley. I'll look forward to hearing more about it!
12/22/2020 06:13:20 am
Thank you, Fiona! The wonderful Robert Abele gave me lots of good advice as I was painting it. I'm at the age where I could use a bit less snow in the winter, but I do still enjoy the beauty of it.
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Bobbi - Painter. Sketcher. Teacher. Boat and Dog Lover.