Skip navigation

Tag Archives: snow




Happy Thanksgiving!

We had our first snowstorm of the season this past weekend so only fitting that I was working on a snow scene. The above painting was drawn and painted on a grunge background. I then drew the scene with the Speedball Elegant Writer and then painted it.


Something seasonal, at least around here,  in winter.  🙂


I had a blast creating this scene from a photo reference I found in a book of landscape photo references for artists. I wish I had taken time to snap pictures of the step by step for this one for all of you. I was very intrigued with the bright springlike colors of the moss hanging on the foreground tree and was able to capture that look somewhat close to how it looked in the photo. I liked the stretch of the farm lane leading back to the dense woods in the background. The sight was so peaceful, I just had to try it. I worked in large washes as I layed in the value transitions from foreground to background. The only thing I drew was the foreground tree. All the fenceposts, background forest, and small foreground trees were drybrushed in. I frisketed the hanging portions of the moss and went to town on drybrushing the little trees with a rigger and the foreground tree with a small round. Then I removed the frisket and greened in the moss and scumbled blurs of greens and raw sienna in the tree trunk and larger support branches. I stroked some white goache along the foreground tree’s large branches and dotted it on the top bumps of moss. I drybrushed the old fence posts along the lane and splattered the whole thing with a number two round brush, loaded with white acrylic, and declared it a SNOW DAY (something my kids always looked forward to!).  Hope everyone is enjoying winter!

Most of us were hit by several rounds of snow last week and over the week end.  One was a blizzard.  Tonight and tomorrow night are going to hit sub zero temperatures. We are going into a deep freeze.  I found the above image about a year ago on wet canvas and set it aside as it looked a little too difficult for me at the time. The inclusion of so many small white areas boggle my mind unless they are snowflakes that I can spatter in.  I have used liquid frisket more this year, so decided to give this scene a go to correspond with our weather we have been having.

I drew the scene in, lightly in pencil (just the tree line and a few sloping lines of drifts). I then masked out everything that was small and white that I saw in the reference.

With a mixture of permanent rose, magnesium blue and a touch of halloween orange to gray the wash a little, I painted the sky in a large wet wash. Where you see light areas, I used clear water into the already gray wash and tilted my board from side to side as well as up and down. This created the granulated wash for the sky. I lifted the wash in the area of the clouds by dabbing with a kleenex (non-lotion kleenex). I repeated the wash on the sky a second time after the first wash dried. For the foreground, I wet the entire area, first. I then took the same gray color and streaked in the long shadows behing the drifts. Around the shadows, I fed in very light washes of manganese blue and permanent rose to give the snow more than a bland white look. Again, I tilted my board.  I did not paint where I wanted it to look lighter and just allowed pigment to run where it wanted.  I also had to soften edges on the long shadows as I worked with a “thirsty” brush (one that is wet and wiped dry with a scott towel or kleenex). This softening has to be done while the wash is still wet or you lose the effect. Fast and furious is the motto with these washes.

I used earthen green, olive green and quin. gold to paint my trees. I allowed them to freely mix together on my paper as I painted them in, color next to color.  I took this step as far as I could without removing the frisket.

This is what it looked like when the frisket was removed. I know! Hard edges and ugly!!!! On some papers, where the pigment is laying on the surface, you can take a damp brush and gently soften the edges and pull some of the pigments into the white areas to shadow and shade them. I had used Arches 140 coldpress paper and the edges remained. I then mixed the same variations of colors and went about shading my drifts, darkening the long shadows, touching up background trees and bringing the scene together. This phase was, by far, the longest phase of the painting. I still think my skills with frisket need some work, but am pleased with my first use of frisket in this manner.

   finished painting

The above was the result.

 click to enlarge

Yesterday it snowed all day.  To celebrate the occasion, my Granddaughter and I sat down to do an art project. I recently purchased a wonderful book titled “ The Usborne Complete Book of ART Ideas” by Fiona Watt. My Granddaughter has paged through it, daily, and selected exercises she has wanted to try. She is 4 and a half (it is important to note the half, she says).  She has been fascinated with drawing homes and buildings, lately.  One section had a lovely example of city buildings that could be rendered using wax resist and watercolor and she asked if she could do that. We, first drew rectangles in pencil using a ruler and discussing the shapes we were creating. Yes. I have to help her hold the ruler and guide her. This is an exercise that I sit right next to her and help her with as she goes and is one that we do a little and come back to. Her attention span is back and forth. She then colored in the rectangles with different colored crayons and added the moon and the stars with crayons. In the next step, we mixed a large amount of prussian blue  watercolor and another container with a large amount of harvest gold (quin gold). She covered the sky and a portion of the buildings with prussian blue and finished the buildings with harvest gold using a large flat watercolor brush. We then allowed that to dry.  In the next step, she looked at the reference in the book and drew in her windows, doors, steps, and fences using a black crayon. To finish our snow day painting, she spattered the snow in with a round brush and white acrylic gesso.

After she went home, I decided to paint my own “snow day” painting.

One of my students  loaned a book to me that had a technique in it that I had not tried before. He thought I might like to see what I could do with it. Thank-you, Henn!  The book is “Painting Buildings in Watercolor”  by Ranulph Bye.  To enhance texture in brick and cobblestone and stone, he uses a technique with oil paint and turpentine.  He masks off everything that he does not want to texture with frisket paper. He then mixes three colors of oil paint with turpentine and splatters each color separately onto a pre-wet (with water) area that he wishes to texture. I do not have oil paints but have waterbased oils and turpenoid. I decided to texture an entire piece of watercolor paper using this technique. I mixed, separately, prussian blue, raw sienna, and sepia with some turpentine and splattered them onto my pre wet 140 lb coldpressed watercolor paper.  I took it one step further and dragged my flat brush through the paint splatters. The above is what I achieved. Believe me, this is horrendous compared to the beautiful texture that the author of the above book achieved. I liked it, though, and saw a painting wanting to be brought forward.  I went in search of  winter landscape photo references on wet canvas and came up with two that I liked that I thought had compositions similar to what I saw in my splatters.

 click to enlarge

The above is the painting that came from my textured paper . What I really liked about this is the fog was already there due to the texturing and I just filled in all the negative shapes that were darker in value.  I splattered titanium white watercolor with a toothbrush to finish.

Recently,  Joshua posted a haiku by Basho that I liked.  Several months ago Joshua invited anyone to submit photos or artwork they felt might illustrate some of what he posted on his blog. He spoke about how to submit on his ABOUT PAGE.

I liked the recent Basho haiku so much that I went in search of some reference material to create a watercolor to illustrate it.  The above is what I came up with.  I was impressed with the wide expanse, the drifts and the nakedness of the trees, with that one tree standing off by itself.  I hoped that the simplicity of the painting accentuated the simple beauty of the haiku.

Thank-you Joshua.