December 20, 2012

The Nature of Snow

"Snowed In" oil on canvas, 24X30"

Snow - what a lovely subject matter to paint.  Leaning the nature of a subject matter takes some careful observation.  I am still learning how to paint snow well, but here are a few tips I have picked up in my observations thus far:

1. Snow makes very voluptuous shapes, like the curves on the female figure, or the distant hills that arch up towards the sky.

2. Edges are soft and rounded and decrease in tonal value as they turn away.

3. The white surface reflects the blue of the sky, but generally not a pure blue - there are a lot of neutralized blues in a snow scene (blues that have a little yellow and red mixed in with them)

4. There are many, many plane changes within a single snow bank or the mass of snow on a branch.  With every undulation comes a temperature change and a tonal change.  Watch for bounced light.

Little things.  Important things.

I wish all of you much joy in all of the little things - the important things, whether you are gathering with friends and loved ones, or having a quiet time on your own, may your Christmas be peaceful and bright.


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