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Digital Subscriptions > Leisure Painter > Apr-19 > Snow and water

Snow and water

Paint a snowy landscape with water, buildings, foliage and land using a variety of water-mixable oil-painting techniques, with Murray Ince


How to paint water in winter

How to recognise the colours of snow

Practise oil-painting techniques including scumbling, dry-brush and fat over lean

The reference photo for this project: The River Ribble, Sawley, Lancashire

Painting snow is a joy and, as with everything, in learning to paint you can’t beat observation from life although it is a hardy soul that ventures out into a snow-covered landscape to paint en plein air. Quick sketches and photographs are a good starting point if you can’t face working in very cold conditions but, of course, we artists are supposed to suffer a little for our art!

As with all painting, there are some basics to understand. Is snow white? We always refer to snow as white, but in fact snow is seldom white. Instead it is many pastel colours and shades of off-white, and we can only be successful using pure white where the sunlight is catching the edges of ridges or similar features. Even then, if we look closely, we will see other colours in what we took at first glance to be white. Snow in shadow is definitely not white, but contains many of the cooler colours on your palette: blues, shades of lavender-blue and greys even.

A heavy fall of snow has the effect of ‘tidying up’ a scene. The untidiest gardens for example look much neater after a fall of snow. It lays over the top of everything, levelling it out. This subject is therefore one of the easier sorts of pictures to invent, but only after careful study of real snow-laden scenery, noting how the snow lays after it has been blown in on the wind, which side of the window ledges it has built up on, and which side of the trees has snow up the As always, the light is directional and needs to be kept consistent, and the snow may be built up on the shadow sides so, of course, will not be white.

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to the April issue of Leisure Painter. From experimenting with watercolour and gouache to paint a winter landscape and a beginner's guide to acrylic painting to sketching animals from life and drawing trees using ink, this issue is packed with practical advice and information for the amateur painter. There is a plethora of demonstrations to paint in watercolour, acrylic, water-mixable oils, pastels and more to help build confidence and skills along with projects from photographs, tips and techniques and inspiration. Enjoy your month of painting with Leisure Painter.