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Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Simple Technique for Painting Falling Snow with Pastels...demo

'On the Way to Grandmother's House'             9x12          pastel         ©Karen Margulis
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Want to paint snow with pastels?  Forget about trying to paint every snowflake. I have a quick and easy way to create a snowy landscape.  All you need is a very light value pastel and something with a sharp edge. I like to use a palette knife.  A piece of glassine or tracing paper is helpful but you could do without it in a pinch. Read on for details.

I am using a light gray piece of Canson Touch paper that I also coated with some clear gesso for a bit more texture. I used only my softer pastels, Terry Ludwigs and Diane Townsend lights. I blocked in the darkest shapes with some blues and purples.

I block in the sky with pale pink and pale yellow bringing it down into the trees.

I finished the snow covered foreground and mid ground using blues for the shadows on the snow and pale yellows and pinks for the snow color. I don't use pure white at all.

I refine the trees by using the sky color to create some airy and lacy branches. I also lightly draw in some branches with the sharp edge of my pastel. I refine the trunks and aadd some bits of color to the trees. Now I am ready for the falling snow.

I lay the painting flat. Using my flat palette knife and a pale pale pastel (not white) I shave the pastel over the painting where I want some snow to fall. I dig into the pastel stick to create some larger snowflakes. Once I am satisfied with the amount and placement of the snow I put down the piece of glassine paper and press down with my palm all over the paper to push the pastel dust into the paper. I also use the palette knife to push the bits of pastel into the paper. I also use the palette knife to draw in some branches like scratch art.

Voila...now you have falling snow!  Easy and a lot of fun!


Sue Marrazzo said...

Simply BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

Gloria J Zucaro said...

Love this one, Karen. Thanks for the tips!

Enid Goyers said...

This is great and sooooo easy!! Thank you.

robertsloan2art said...

Lovely technique! This painting is so gorgeous. Thanks for mentioning you don't use pure white at all! Most artist grade brands of pastels have sets of near white tints, very pale tints and those are better whites than the simple white stick in a small set.

White as itself isn't always needed at all. If I did something like that and had a white rabbit in it, I might use some pure white on its highlight to make it stand out. But without a focal area for that detail, there's no real place to put pure white. I don't like to use it on more than one feature or area.

Adriana Guidi said...

Thanks for sharing that Karen! Great idea!