In this demonstration I shall introduce you to my way of capturing the magical effect of a snow-covered winter landscape. Follow the stages step-by-step to produce your own snow scene.
Paint a snowscape in watercolour with William Wheeler
ABS brushes – Filbert, Flat, Comb and Pointed Rigger
Paper – Tiepolo watercolour paper from the Hahbnemühle range.
Using a 2B pencil carefully draw out a simple outline of my composition.
Use a grey water-based masking fluid to protect the areas of the paper that you wish to keep white.
Using a filbert brush, wet the sky and mountain areas and then paint them in using washes of ultramarine blue and cobalt blue. While the paint is still wet gently remove some of the colour from the mountain area with a very soft tissue. This will give the effect of snow. Leave to dry.
With thin washes of cobalt blue, paint snow shadow areas into the landscape, using a flat brush.
Once dry, paint in the distant and middle distant trees and hedgerows, etc., using a comb brush and thin glazes of burnt sienna, Winsor blue, raw sienna and ultramarine blue. Again, leave to dry.
Remove the masking fluid by gently rubbing it with the tip of your finger. Then with your comb brush, (which I find quite amazing for painting trees/foliage) use a thicker mix of the colours listed above, and paint the trees, hedgerows, fence and posts etc. in greater detail – making sure to leave the areas of white paper to give the effect of snow.
Apply a glaze of Naples yellow to the walls of the barn, leaving small areas of white paper for the snow. Make sure you place some of the colour in the base of the large door opening to suggest hay within the barn. Apply a thin glaze of cobalt blue and crimson over parts of the roof to give the colour of the slates.
When this is dry, use the same colours as those described for the roof of the barn, and paint in the roof shadows. Then apply a thin glaze of this colour to the front walls of the building using a flat brush.
Apply a thin mix of raw sienna and transparent yellow to parts of the roof area. Then, adding a little burnt sienna to this mix, indicate the stone texture of the barn walls. Leave to dry.
Using a strong mix of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna, paint in the dark areas of the large door opening and windows. Then strengthen the line of the roof edges using the same mix. Thin the colour a little and make some parts of the path edges a little stronger.
For the final touch to complete the painting once it is completely dry, use a sharp blade to gently scrape back the dark colour of the trees and expose the white of the paper underneath. This gives the impression of areas of snow on the trunks and branches.
Particular emphasis is put on the application of glazes to give subtle colour and light quality to the work. Glazing is a technique whereby a thin layer of transparent colour is laid over another dry colour, which produces luminous effects.