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Watercolor Tips : Painting Snowy scenes

Its the most wonderful time of the year - well too cold but wonderful with all the festive spirit that comes with winters. I love the pristine white landscapes you get to see after a fresh round of snow and its a fascinating subject for me to paint as well!

I wish it was possible to paint plein air but with the weather being the way it is , I prefer the comfort of my studio with a hot cuppa!

Coming to the topic of this blog - painting snow - I initially found it tricky as it is with any subject that is pure white. You are painting on a white paper, how do you paint something that's white? Easy answer - paint the shadows!

When it comes to watercolors, the best way to paint the white subjects is to not paint it. When you paint shadows, you are automatically highlighting the white part and that gives the much needed life to the subject

For snow laden landscapes in watercolors, we follow the same approach - I prefer using some specific colors for the shadows - primarily a light value of Indigo / Payne's gray. Using simple strokes, we can create some areas with light washes of these colors leaving most of the other areas untouched .

You can change this based on the color of the sky of-course as the snow will be reflecting that light. So if you have a vibrant sunset sky for example, you can use light washes of the colors from your sky to paint the snow. The key here is to make sure that if you are adding any shadows for trees etc, you use a complementary color - for eg. your sky is primarily orange then you can use a light value of a purple to create the shadows of the trees.

Enjoyed reading so far - here's a fun challenge for you! If you would like to paint some gorgeous winter landscapes, join me for the winter postcards challenge on Youtube! I ll be sharing the process for 5 winter landscapes on Youtube starting 15th Dec 2022 and you can paint along and share your postcards on social media using #tcd_winterpostcards.

Have a question about painting landscapes? Add a comment in here and I ll get back to you!

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