Drifting into snow

Snow is another really easy thing to paint in watercolor. After all, the paper is white already! Although Eskimos have a hundred different words to describe all kinds of snow, I break it down into two kinds: falling snow and fallen snow.

Falling snow

Figure 10-5 shows four methods you can use to create the illusion of the white stuff drifting through the air toward the ground. (The methods are described in detail in Chapter 4.)

1 While the paint is still damp, sprinkle a few grains of salt on the paint (see Figure 10-5a). Salt is somewhat unpredictable, and if it doesn't work the first time, you can try one of the other ways of making snow as a backup. You also can use salt to simulate other natural textures: Stars, leaves, and wildflowers in a meadow are just a few ideas.

1 Spatter masking fluid on your paper before painting on watercolor

(Figure 10-5b). Remove it when the paint is dry. Masking fluid takes some planning and requires extra drying time.

1 After the watercolor is dry, spatter white paint (Figure 10-5c). The white paint here is Chinese white watercolor. Paint is a good last resort and can be used in combination with one of the other techniques.

1 While the watercolor is still damp, spray water droplets (Figure 10-5d). Water drops are also a bit unpredictable, and this sample shows some sizable differences.

As you can see, the technique results are similar but have subtle and not-so-subtle visual differences.

Fallen snow

Snow already on the ground is defined by shadows. Because snow is white, it's the reflection of all colors and can have a number of colors in the shadows. This gives you an opportunity to unify your painting by including the colors you're using elsewhere in the snow.

An easy way to make a mound of snow is to paint a curve of ultramarine blue with a flat brush. Leave one side hard-edged, but quickly soften the opposite side for a soft edge. A snow scene can have as many mounds of snow as you wish.

Watercolor Masking Snow

Figure 10-6 has white highlights that were saved by masking fluid and mounds of snow painted in blues and purples. The sunset includes sun rays that were lifted in the dark tree background.

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