Step by step snow scene

With Barry Whitehouse of the Artery, Banbury

Step By Step Snow Scene

 You will need:

  • Watercolour paints – Cerulean Blue, Cadmium Red, Burnt Sienna (I used Mondeluz artists quality)
  • 300gsm Cold Pressed (NOT) surface watercolour paper (I used A5 Bockingford)
  • Brushes – Size 18 round, size 4 round, size 2 round, size 1 rigger (I used Aquafine)
  • Water
  • Palette

The inspiration for the scene was a barn I spotted out walking near Thorpe Mandeville in Northamptonshire. This little snow scene would be great on Christmas cards. The key to a good snow scene in watercolour is having plenty of white paper, but peppered with hints of subtle shadow tones so it looks like you’ve deliberately left it white and not just forgotten to paint it. The shadow tones also help give greater depth to the scene. Here is how to paint this scene:


Step 1. Draw out the scene.

Step 2. Wet the sky area using the large brush. Mix together the cerulean blue with a touch (a pin head amount) of cadmium red to make a purple grey. Add this colour in random areas of the wet sky area so they spread. Mix a variety of tones of this colour combination to give a wider variety of cloud colours.

Step 3. Use a dilute mix of the cerulean and cadmium red ‘grey’ on the snow areas using a dry brush technique. Brush in the direction of the contours especially the lane as it will make it look indented.

Step 4. Mix a slighter darker grey for shadows closer to the foreground.

Step 5. For the barns mix a little cerulean blue with burnt sienna. Avoid painting the rooves as they are snow covered. When dry, add the same mix over the darker areas. The light is coming from the right.

Step 6. Add a touch of cadmium red into this mixture onto your palette and stipple it on to create background bushes and trees.

Step 7. Add more burnt sienna and a touch more cadmium red for the bushes around the barn. This will bring the barn forward from the background.

Step 8. Mix some cerulean blue and burnt sienna to make a greeny grey. Use this to paint the larger tress on the right. Always start with the trunk and move outwards for the branches so they naturally taper at the top. For the very fine branches, use the brush on its side and ‘bounce’ so it hits and misses with the texture of the paper.

Step 9. Use this greeny grey colour for some grass poking through the snow in the foreground. These are best painted with the rigger and flick upwards.



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Step 9