Even though temperatures may be less than conformable, there is just something beautiful about the winter season. Pure white snow, evergreen trees, and beautiful sunsets make for the perfect winter landscape. But painting a winter landscape comes with some unique challenges – keep reading to learn some simple tips for painting a winter scene.
1. Don’t Just Use White – While snow may look white to you, it actually reflects the colors around it. In a winter landscape, the white of the snow will warm as it recedes, transitioning from white to yellow, to pink, to orange – all in a very subtle way. The snow closest to the foreground should have a slightly blueish hue to it.
2. Use Additives to Create Dimension – A winter landscape is the perfect opportunity to add some dimension. For acrylic paint, try using gel mediums to add some texture and depth to your paint. You can also find fake snow to paint onto your landscape for a three-dimensional feel. If you are using oil paint, try using a pallet knife instead of a brush to create dimension.
3. Pay Attention to the Background – When creating a landscape, you should depict things that are in the background as well as the foreground to make your scene realistic. Start by washing your canvas with a single color (a light hue of gray works well) then layer in the different colors for the sky and the background. Once the background is set you can start working on the foreground.
4. Use Masking Fluid – When painting a winter scene using watercolor, masking fluid is going to be your best friend. Masking fluid is a liquid made of rubber latex that you can paint onto your paper to protect an area. When the masking fluid dries you can paint over it without affecting the area beneath. When your painting is finished, rub the fluid away with an eraser to reveal the area underneath.
5. Paint Realistic Trees – During the winter, many trees lose their foliage which means that you have to pay attention to the anatomy of the three to make it look realistic. Use different shades of brown to paint layers onto the tree and make sure that the arrangement of the branches isn’t too perfect. Your trees should lean a little bit and they don’t need too many branches.
6. Sketch the Shape of Snow – If you are painting snow-covered evergreen trees, it might help you to sketch the shape of the snow clumps before you paint them on. Paint the outline of your tree and lightly draw in the snow clumps before painting them. If you want to add branches and foliage, do it carefully and work with the snow clumps to create a realistic depiction.
In the end, it is really up to you to choose how you depict a winter landscape. Just don’t be afraid to get creative with your materials and colors – you never know when an accident or an experiment might yield something truly unique and beautiful.