Painting snow…

Posted on January 31, 2015

I woke up this morning surrounded by snow. While I have painted several hundred snow scenes, I feel I  never quite cracked the color dilemma snow plays on my psyche. Maybe my eyes are going from so many years squinting and observing color? I tend to dive into my knowledge base while painting, but I am not convinced. When I look out the window – I see grey with pockets of whiter than white,  white. How to achieve this whiter than white? White is dull and bluish – so add some Cad Orange or high yellow to brighten it up!

I see a lot of violet. A high key of ruby red and cerulean blue mixed with a warm white. Lots of clean strokes and soft transitions. Edges.


How light effects the subject outdoors

  • Objects diminish as they recede,
  • Objects start to group together in mass, losing individual identifications.
  • Light becomes less intense, more grey

The effects of atmosphere on color

  • Color starts to cool as they go back in space
  • Yellows drop out first, leaving red as the warm activating value
  • Blue is the predominate value in spacial color relations as it recedes.
  • White gets Warmer as it recedes.

On reading about snow – I find it also gets yellower in the distance, and purple in the mid ground, downright bluish in the foreground. The opposite of the ground when it has no snow. Reflected light can take a century to master – especially if you might be color blind!


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