How to paint a tree in snow
Dogwood in snow
30"x30" oil on canvas
available at: https://www.facebook.com/ArtWithPanacheGallery/?pnref=lhc
How do I paint a tree in snow?
That is a question I have been asked many times over my years as an artist. A little background for you: I am the nephew of the Canadian artist who was widely respected as Canada's "Master of snow", Jack Reid.
Jack was a master watercolourist and for forty years was the much sought after and go to artist for instruction on how to paint snow. I was one of those as I spent the first 35 years of my life painting in watercolour. Those watercolour years instilled in me a deep understanding of snow effects such as shadows and colours of snow. For example, one common mistake by beginning artists is to assume that shadows in snow are grey or black. This just isn’t the truth if you stand and look at snow shadows as they actually are.
The colours I see when I study a snow scene are Cobalt, Prussian and French Ultramarine. These colours make up the basic shades of the shadows in snow. The lighter colours that occur beyond the shadows are not white, as one would assume, actually, they are titanium white with a touch, just a touch of Cobalt blue, Paynes Grey or on the much lighter side, just a very slight touch of Azo Yellow deep. Snow is a reflection of the light around and above it. You can even see green shades from the pines and spruce that hang above it.
Then we come to the trees in snow.
Trees are often painted as an after thought. Not much detail is put into them beyond some bark detail and one or two shades of brown. In my foreground trees I like to dab my colours. This is done in short strokes and using many shades and colours that accent dramatically against the snow. Van Dyke Brown, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Azo Red Deep, Quinacridone Rose and even some Azo Yellow deep. These colours are what I affectionately refer to as Compelling colours, rather than Repelling colours. My effort is to render snow with a warm feel rather than a cold feel. In my experience snow paintings are quite polarizing with art lovers, they either hate them or love them, never in the middle. So what I try to do is take the "chill" out of how they appear and make the viewer fell.
In the attached video and at www.robertmcaffee.com you can see examples of how I employ colours into the snow paintings I have rendered over the years.
Have a comment on this blog? leave them in the comment section, I'd love to know your experience and questions. Has this blog been helpful to you? Please share with others.
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The Artists Journey
This is my blog page and it is where I get to be the opinionated man that I really am. The views are my own.
I invite your replies and comments, on my virtual welcome mat.
This sketch above became this finished painting below
The Pine Tree Painter.
How did I become known as the Pine Tree Painter? You could say I paint a lot of Pine Trees, that would be true. I paint a lot of other things too, but Pine Trees, Spruce Trees, Birch and others seem to be a continuous string in what i do. I just like the way they stand there like a custodian of the land. or a greeter to nature. So, I continue down the path with the Pine Tree Painter name on my head, It's ok.