In this blog post I will show you how to paint snow in this landscape painting that features a blanket of snow, conifer trees and a stream.
Suitable for oils and acrylics.
Here are some reference photos I took and used in this painting. Please feel free to use or copy these photos if you would like to have a go at painting this art work.
This is a simple composition for a simple landscape painting. The two fir trees are the main focal area within the composition. This composition follows and ‘S’ composition where the stream is leading the eye towards the fir trees which is also providing rhythm and flow within the scene.
I painted this artwork using oil paint and the colours I used in this painting are as follows:
- Titanium white
- Burnt sienna
- Yellow ochre
- Cadmium yellow
- Cadmium orange
- Alizarin crimson
- Ultramarine blue
- Phthalo green
Here is a list of the brushes I used in this painting:
- No.5 flat
- No.3 flat
- No.2 flat
- No.3 filbert
- No.0 round
I am painting on a 12” x 12” linen panel which I made myself. What I did here was mount medium weave linen to a craft panel which I bought from a hardware store.
I sketch the composition using a No.1 round brush with burnt sienna mixed with Liquin Original (Liquin). I am using Liquin as a medium to thin the paint and it also has the advantage of speeding up the drying time.
I begin by painting in the dark values and shadows first which are mainly in the fir trees and the shadows on the snow that are being cast by the trees.
The shadows in the trees are a mix of ultramarine blue and yellow ochre to make a dark green. I also allow some of the burnt sienna from the composition sketch to mix in with the green which adds another dimension to the colour.
The shadows in the snow have a blue cast to them and this is a mix of ultramarine blue, titanium white with a little burnt sienna and alizarin crimson.
The banks of the stream are a mix of ultramarine blue, yellow ochre and burnt sienna.
Now that my dark values are established I start painting all the areas that are in light. The sky is a simple mix of ultramarine blue and titanium white.
The tree foliage is a mix of yellow ochre, cadmium yellow, ultramarine blue and then I round off the mix with cadmuim orange which helps to take some of the saturation out of the green. I am keep the foliage a little darker so I have plenty of room to add lighter layers paint as I work through the painting.
I use the same green mix that I used for the trees as I do for the grass but with titanium white added and even a little phthalo green.
When it comes to painting snow keep in mind its not all white, there are half tones within the snow and a few highlights. This is what will make the snow look realistic. I paint some light half tones within the snow using a mix of titanium white with a little ultramarine blue, burnt sienna and alizarin crimson.
I paint the suggestion of deciduous trees in the upper left side of the painting using a mix of ultramarine blue, burnt sienna and yellow ochre. I paint the shadow areas of the stems and branches with a mix of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.
I mix the colours for the stream using ultramarine blue, yellow ochre, titanium white and a little burnt sienna.
You may notice I am using a lot of similar colour combinations for the various zones in this painting. This helps to create colour harmony within the painting.
At this point the painting I had allowed it to dry so I could begin adding detail and more layers of paint to the trees and snow. Essentially I am using the same colours I used during the blocking-in stage of the painting but adding lighter layers of colour to build up the form of the elements.
I use smaller brushes for the trees as I build up the details, mainly No.3 flat brushes. I then worked on modelling the form of the trees.
I add more lighter layers of paint to the snow but I still keep the value of the paint a little darker. I’ll then be saving my lightest values, the snow highlights until the very end of the painting.
I finish the painting by adding my lightest values. This includes the highlights in the tree foliage which is a mix of yellow ochre, cadmium yellow, ultramarine blue, cadmium orange and titanium white. I have also painted some more half tones within the tree canopies with a mix of yellow ochre, cadmium yellow, ultramarine blue and phthalo green. I use a lot of ultramarine blue in the mix.
I apply the final highlights to the snow using a mix of titanium white with a dash of yellow ochre. This is the lightest of my lights. I also use the same mix to paint the sparkles on the water.
I have also painted a bit of reflected light in the snow shadows using a mix of ultramarine blue, titanium white and a little alizarin crimson.
Thanks for reading 😊