Is Snow White?Snow has relatively less pigment than its surroundings. It is rarely pure white, though. If you use pure white paint you will get an unbelievable big white blob.
This effect can be useful if the painting has a planned surreal quality. An example is seen in Kawai Gyokudo's 1955 color on paper scroll, Snowfall.
|Haystacks: Snow Effect,|
Claude Monet, 1891
oil on canvas
Colors to Use to Paint SnowPainting snow is painting the light. The light is reflected off of surrounding forms, landscape and sky. For a cohesive painting, incorporate pigments from these surroundings.
Artists use pigments of the same or similar value to add variety and interest to snow. This is seen in Monet's Haystacks: Snow Effect where he uses complements blue and orange effectively.
How to Paint SnowAvoid painting an amorphous blob.
- Use another pigment to tint the white
- Use similar values (different pigments)
- Intersperse brushstrokes to create snow
- Keep brushstrokes crisp
- Do not over mix the brushstrokes- you will end up with a muddy blob, if you do.
- Caution: Black can give you dirty snow if you are not careful. Use black to knock down another pigment a notch, that is, extremely sparingly in a mixture.
Study BrushstrokesLook at other painters original artwork in person as much as possible.
I wrote about an online brushstroke resource here: Best Brushstroke.
David Carmack Lewis' blog features several artist's rendition of snow here: The Art Out There: Winter.