David Bellamy – Five Tips for Painting Snow Scenes in Watercolour

We’re coming to the end of a rather strange year, and like many of you I am so thankful for being able to immerse myself in art, to take away the pain of lockdowns, social distancing and lack of travel opportunities. In my painting mind I’ve travelled to many fascinating places while in my studio: the Bavarian Alps (well, I did actually go there in February), Yemen, East Africa, Jordan, Egypt, Oman, Lebanon, Italy, and many other places. I hope you have had similar reflections on past trips while you paint.

With winter upon us it’s a good idea to prepare for any snow scenes, and as the snow doesn’t often last long in the UK we need to be prepared to move fast. This watercolour of Exton village shows only two thirds of the composition, as otherwise some of the features I discuss would appear too small. When working on snow scenes I have 5 tips to share with you:

    1   With much of the paper left untouched to show the snow areas, throwing cast shadows across this will add interest, break up the flat whiteness, and can show up any contours in the ground;

    2   Pull out highlights in cast shadows with a damp brush while the shadow wash is still damp, as seen in the foreground of the painting;

    3   Introduce warm colours to alleviate the coldness of the snow, as I have done here with light red in the left-hand roof and the bushes, even if little colour shows in the scene;

    4   Flecks of white in bushes and trees will enliven the painting, but avoid over-doing this;

    5   While you can use masking fluid to enable you to create white on branches, fence-posts and the like, you may find white gouache or acrylic easier to render.

Enjoy your painting, and if you can’t get out then do as some of the Impressionists did and work from the comfort of an accommodating window, or of course a car. Monsieur Monet, however, quite undeterred by intense cold would put on three overcoats and take a stove with him to work in the snow!

 Anyway, Jenny and I wish you all a Happy Christmas wherever you are, and may all your Christmas stockings overflow with paints, brushes and all manner of art materials.

    See you in 2021!

12 thoughts on “David Bellamy – Five Tips for Painting Snow Scenes in Watercolour

  1. Lovely blog, gorgeous painting, your amazing trees that I love and some useful tips, thank David. I am really enjoying your new book with beautiful pages. Wishing you and Jenny a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I really hope you have a Christmas Bubble with your lovely family !

  2. HAPPY CHRISTMAS, DAVID AND JENNY . Let’s hope 2021 will be a better year for everyone.
    Love the snow painting, thank you for all the helpful hints throughout the year.
    Wendy and Colin – Australia

  3. Dear Davis, thank you for all your valuable tips and words of encouragement which have brightened up this difficult year. Your blogs always remind me of painting holidays with you and Jenny and the fun and laughter we all had!

    Have a Happy Christmas and let us hope 2021 brings colour back into all aspects of our lives like your blogs! Love Beverley.

  4. Best wishes to you and family David. Iv always enjoyed and admired your paintings, and looking forward to next book regards David Tighe

  5. Thank you, everyone for your kind comments and best wishes. I’ve tried to keep the blogs going regularly, but was unwell in October so things went a little pear-shaped for a while. Things are back to fairly normal now (apart from lockdown of course). Enjoy the festive season! David

    • Happiest of Christma sto you and Jenny in the circumstances! 2021 will have a bumpy start, but we can only hope the road will get steadily smoother.

  6. you were in the Bavarian Alps in February? Thats where i live. It’s a shame that I didn’t know that beforehand…
    I’m passing the time in lockdown with your new book, which was a Christmas present from my husband. Knowing to paint snow scenes is essential in Bavaria near the Alps because snow lasts here almost too long for my taste.

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