Friday, 12 December 2014

Oak Shadow

Oil on Board, 10x14 inches

Here's a snowy painting, upon request from Iona House Gallery in Woodstock for their Winter Exhibition next month. 

Painting snow holds great attraction for most artists, me included. It's not that easy to paint either - as I always say in my demos, we all know that snow is white, but to paint an effective and convincing painting, we have to observe both the colour and tone, and that is where so many budding painters fall at the first hurdle. Snow is only white when you look at it face on with the sun shining on it. Otherwise, it only appears white because of its surrounding colours and tones - our brain tells us it's white, even though  a lot of it here is quite a dark blue/mauve colour.

There is actually no pure white at all in the snow in this painting - the only bit of pure white is near the top left, depicting the blinding sun, and even that will appear darker than the surrounding white on your screen! The photo doesn't quite pick up all the colours accurately, but the entire picture was painted with my usual three colours, Cadmium Yellow Light, Permanent Rose and Cobalt Blue, plus Titanium White of course.

A little nuance I did like, was the gorgeous light underside of the big branch in the upper centre of the picture plane, receiving reflected light from the gleaming snow beneath.


  1. AAAAAAAaaaaaaawesome !!!

    This does you long for snow doesn't it?
    You tell you use Cobalt blue, ... what's wrong with Ultramarine? I still have the idea that I can mix Cobalt blue with Ultramarine blue dark, ... but I know it should be a little colder then that.

    What a painting!

    1. Thanks Rene! Yes, I use Cobalt as my default primary blue - I just find it a little more useful than Ultramarine, which I mainly use to mix darks. Each to their own, but for me, Cobalt does it!

    2. Could you explain a little more about what you like that much of Cobalt Blue?

    3. I like the 'blueness' of Cobalt against the slightly more purplish blue of Ultramarine. I love it for skies, but I gues you can use Ultramarine just as well for trees and grasses, but I love Cobalt's subtlety for winter trees when mixed with Permanent Rose and Cad Yellow Light.

  2. Very beautiful, I love your paintings!!

    My hobby is to make photos of the beautiful nature of my country (Holland)
    You can see them here: /

    Greetings from Anja Helmink

    1. Thank you Anja! Just had a look at your website - you've taken some beautiful photos of widlife and fauna - bravo!


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