Sunday, March 3, 2019

More Snow Painting

Path to the Shed
9x12 oil - $600 unframed - available


Perhaps I was inspired by my own article on painting snow in the recent (February 2019) issue of PleinAir.  Or maybe it was the fact that the Southwest has had record-breaking moisture this winter, and the snow was piled up a foot deep at times between Christmas and Valentine's Day.  Whatever the cause, I've found myself going out to paint snow this winter.

I've included three of the paintings here, but you can see all of the recent ones, both oil and pastel, here:  http://www.mchesleyjohnson.com/southwest-snow-paintings/

While painting these, a few thoughts occurred to me that might be helpful to other painters. (That is, if you're not tired of the snow already!)

  • To help with getting the values right when painting a large expanse of snow, first paint the cast shadows.  Assume that the white of your canvas or paper is the lightest value.  Key everything down from this white or maybe go just a little darker.   Save painting the darks for the end.
  • Paint distant, sunlit snow cooler, such as a tint of red-violet.  Paint closer, sunlit snow warmer, such as a tint of yellow. Save pure white for the lightest highlights, which are often cool.
  • On a clear, sunny day, the nearer cast shadows on snow tend to be blue-violet. These cast shadows get lighter and warmer in distance.  On an overcast day or a day with clouds, the shadows tend to be warmer because light bounces off the clouds and into the shadows.
  • Find variations in the topography of the snow field and use subtle shifts in temperature and value to indicate changes in this topography.  Use cast shadows to help define it further.  Look for edges in snow, both hard, soft and lost.

Looks like spring is almost here, but I bet we're not done with the snow yet.

Snow and Rocks II
9x12 oil - $600 unframed - available

Still Standing
12x6.5 Oil on 2" cradled birch panel
(no frame needed)
$600 - available

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