Monday, February 23, 2009

Tips on Painting Snow

Sometimes it's hard to know where to start when painting snow. Using a lot of white just will not work.

Titanium White acrylic paint is an opaque colour; this means that you can over-paint with the white to add lighter areas. This takes away a lot of the worry about painting the 'wrong area' and not being able to fix it!
**Start with the Medium Tones

When starting to paint snowy areas I like to start with a medium tone.

In my example I started with a little Ultramarine Blue and Titanium White mix. Vary the tones a bit when you paint the snow. Think about any hollows and make them a bit darker (bluer). I like to use blues in snow scenes, I think the cold look it gives is appropriate for the subject. However you can also use other colours depending on the result you're after.

In other paintings I've used a brown (Burnt Sienna) instead of blue. It works well and gives a warmer look to the finished picture.

In my example you can see that I have some warmer tones of brown in the tracks in the foreground, this helps to add depth to the painting (warmer colours to the front). I also added some purple tones for a bit of variety.

Snow will reflect other colours so if you were painting a sunset or sunrise you could add some of the sky colours to the snow. This will add a unity to the final picture and it's fun to be able to use all the colours too. And, as before, if you paint on too strong a colour you can always pale it down by over-painting with white.
**Only the Highlights are Pure White

Save the pure white for highlights. You can paint the highlights several times to cover up any existing colours and to get a bright result.

I find it best to leave the completed painting and come back to it the next day and add the highlights, and often I darken a few areas for contrast too.
Sometimes it'll take several layers of paint to achieve a pure white highlight; it's handy that acrylic paints dry so quickly. :-)

Doing this really gives the picture a lift and makes it sparkle.

Snow Scene using 3 Colours

See how to paint this lovely snow scene using just three colours of acrylic paint, available from the Learn and Do website.

Computer video files

This is a computer video file on two CDs. The first CD shows how to paint this snow scene. The second CD shows the finishing touches and has the e-book guide to painting the picture.

The guide is a .pdf file showing photographs from the video at the various stages so it is easy to follow when you paint the scene yourself.

These files are viewed using Windows Media Player – if you have one of the newer versions of Windows you probably have it already on your computer.

Using computer video files means that, unlike DVD, there are no problems with regional variations.

Get your copy

To buy your copy just visit the Learn and Do website (link at the top of this page) and go to the order page for The Acrylic Painting Course. This item is listed at the bottom of that page.