Wednesday, 11 November 2020


Well, the answer is yes, snow is white, we all know that....but creating an image with snow, whether in paint, or enamels or glass, means catching the nuances of colour which are created by the prevailing weather conditions.  And boy, are there lots of nuances!  I will just say this, for the sake of brevity:   warm light = cool shadows.  This is an important little sentence to remember, always.  And the other side of the coin, is that cool light, such as an overcast day, can still provide subtle shadows, but the colour will be quite different.  You need to observe carefully, and try to use the information in your work.  I will provide here some examples, in various media, just to demonstrate, as we are visual artists, so I will work with visual images:


Here we have a bright, eye-hurting day, when the sky is a wonderful turquoise blue, the sunlight is warm(ish), the contrasts are strong.  The white snow is in fact a riot of colour:  warm cream where the sun hits, and cool blues in the shadows.

Here are two detail pictures, which may give you more information:

notice how the sunlight hits the trees on the right of their trunks, outlining just a little, and there it "warms" the trunk colour too.

In this next scene (also GLASS), the sky has a very pink hue, as in a sunset, and the distant snow is reflecting some of that pink.   There is no direct sunlight, so no long shadows and the foreground snow remains whiter, with touches of cream, pink and small areas of blue, for variety. 

Here is a detail picture, to show the variety in the colour in the snow.  I used layering, with frit and powders and some stringers for the thin trunks.

ENAMEL ON COPPER.  This little square is a bank of snow, against a dark tangly woodland background.  No direct sunlight, just the impression of turquoise depths in the snow with hints of a lavendar-grey, to link visually with the background. 

Here is one of my PASTEL PAINTINGS,  I still enjoy it, and in particular, the beautiful colours in the shadows.  See how the top edges of the snow clumps are creamy white, from the sun, but there are so many subtle blues and lavendars in the shadowy areas.

Although snow and ice may be white, try to find these beautiful colours to use. They will add so much atmosphere - black, white and grey can look very cold and sterile.  Blues, purples, pinks, apricots - they can all be found in snow scenes.  Particularly when the sun shines.  The sunshine will PAINT the snow with cream, gold  pink and orange - depending on the time of day.........and the shadows will be blues and lavendars and purples.   Your work will come to life if you don't just think " ah, it's snow, snow is white".

For my tutorials, some practical, some more informational to support your work, please visit, and go to the tutorials pages.

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