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How to Paint a Snowy Landscape in Acrylic with Charles Evans

Posted on Thu 17 Jan 2019

Follow Charles Evans step by step to paint a snow-laden landscape with figures and dogs.

You will need:


  • Canvas 20x30in. (51x76cm)

Daler-Ronwey Aquafine brushes

  • Flats 11⁄2in. and 3⁄4in.
  • Round No. 8
  • Rigger No. 4

Daler-Rowney System 3 Acrylics

  • Raw sienna
  • Cobalt blue
  • Titanium white
  • Naples yellow
  • Payne’s grey
  • Burnt sienna
  • Hooker’s green
  • Raw umber
  • Deep violet

Step 1

1. Pre-stain the entire canvas with raw sienna then allow to dry before painting the sky.

2. Use the 11⁄2in. flat wash brush to apply a mix of cobalt blue and titanium white from the top all the way down in the sky, progressively adding more white.

3. Wash the brush out thoroughly before picking up some fairly thick titanium white on your brush and add daubs here and there for the start of the clouds.

4. Add touches of Naples yellow in the white then a little Payne’s grey mixed with deep violet at the base of some of these light areas. Roughly block all the colours in; don’t worry about detail at this stage. The brush should be just damp, not awash with water.

5. Put down the brush and use your fingers to roll, stroke and move the paint around, merging colours together to create the clouds. Allow the sky to dry completely before making a fairly basic outline drawing.

Step 2

1. Using a fairly dry 3⁄4in. flat brush, which you have split, simply stipple a mix of Payne’s grey and deep violet to create a distant bank of woodland.

2. Whilst this is still wet, use the same technique over to the right-hand side to add a little raw sienna then Naples yellow.

3. Make the dark violet and Payne’s grey mix a little stronger and stipple on to make the central section a little darker.

4. Use the same technique to add raw sienna above this.

5. Using the same grey and violet mix, but a little stronger, pull up a few tree trunks in the distance using a No. 4 Rigger brush.

Step 3

For this section, use the Rigger to add more trees, which are coming further forward so are a little bit stronger. Begin to add a little Naples yellow to the left-hand side of some of the tree trunks.

Step 4

1. To finish the distant section going back to the 3⁄4in. flat split brush, stipple a little titanium white here and there, followed by cobalt blue mixed with a lot of titanium white.

2. Now using the Rigger, drag up areas of white into some of the trees.

Step 5

Now the background is complete, draw the figures that you’d like to add. Make the pencil line strong so they are easy enough to see. You can paint these figures in any colour you like but for flesh tone a useful mix is burnt sienna and Naples yellow.

Step 6

1. The large areas are completed using the 3⁄4in. flat, split. To both sides stipple on firstly raw umber, followed by touches of burnt sienna, a little raw sienna then Naples yellow (this goes especially to the right-hand side). Finally for the deeper darker areas, use Payne’s grey.

2. Let this settle before using the Rigger and Payne’s grey to drag up a few tree trunks hidden among the trees to the left.

3. Once this has dried, go back to the 3⁄4in. brush and stipple on a little titanium white followed by cobalt blue and titanium white mixed.

Step 7

Now for the large trees. With the No. 8 Round brush and Payne’s grey, simply drag upwards, making sure the trees become thinner as they go further up. The very large one is bigger and thicker than you probably feel comfortable with but, trust me, it will work. Using the Rigger brush and a mix of raw umber and titanium white, paint the trees in the middle distance. Then add a little Payne’s grey to the right and Naples yellow to the left.

Step 8

1. Add onto the dry Payne’s grey of the large trees a few touches of raw umber followed by burnt sienna to the main trunks. Add a little Naples yellow to the left-hand side and especially to the tops of these trees.

2. Once dry, paint the snow on the trees. Apply titanium white to the left adding cobalt blue to the white as you come across to the right. Remember that in a snow scene there is very little that is just white but lots of tones and, especially where the snow goes to dark areas, there are lots of blues.

Step 9

1. Now make big broad strokes using the 3⁄4in. flat brush, filling in either side of the path with just titanium white.

2. Fill in the path with a slightly more watered white, carefully painting around the dogs.

Step 10

1. Back to either side of the path add cobalt blue and cobalt blue mixed with titanium white here and there to create a few shadows in the snow before creating the grasses, which are done using the 3⁄4in. flat brush.

2. Simply flick upwards using mixtures of Hooker’s green and raw sienna followed by Hooker’s green and burnt sienna then just Payne’s grey here and there. Notice how this becomes weaker and lighter as it goes further away on the right-hand side.

3. If you’ve got black labs as I have, now is the time to paint them using the No. 8 Round brush and a mixture of Payne’s grey and burnt sienna to make black. This mixture is fairly weak to begin.

Step 11

The dogs are now finished by using a stronger dark mix here and there on top of the dry weaker mix. Two shades of black, one on top of the other, will always help to give the shape and sharpness of the creature.

Step 12

1. Create a little area of grass along the centre of the track and a little bit of mud showing through the snow on the path using a little well-watered raw umber here and there.

2. A few footprints always come in handy. Add these with a little Payne’s grey and the tip of the Round brush; just a few spots here and there.

3. Add a little area of shadow using Payne’s grey and cobalt blue mixed, a little cast to the right-hand side of each figure then all the way across the path from those big trees. Also add a weaker shadow cast by the grass down the centre of the path.

Step 13

Check through to see if you need a little more snow here and there. With the 3⁄4in. flat brush split, stipple a little white into the grasses followed by a little cobalt blue and white into the darker areas. Perhaps add a few daubs of just white here and there in the path, but be careful not to overdo the final strokes.

The finished painting

Snow in Acklington Park Farm, acrylic on canvas, 20x30in. (51x76cm)

Charles Evans

Find out about Charles, his work, demonstrations and workshops by visiting

This demonstration is taken from the March 2019 issue of Leisure Painter

Click here to purchase your copy

How to Paint a Snowy Landscape in Acrylic with Charles Evans


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