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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

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



This is such a lovely painting and an interesting technique. I don't paint in pastels but love the effect!

Brigid Cee said...

Thank you! Can't wait to try it. Beautiful painting.

robertsloan2art said...

Wonderful technique and a gorgeous painting.

Susan Jenkins said...

Awesome!!! Thank you so much Karen. My snow always looked so uniform. This is a great tip!!
:) Susan

Adriana Guidi said...

Great thanks Karen! Have always wanted to know how to create snow with pastels!

Unknown said...

I love your snow pastels, Karen! Thanks so much for sharing this technique. I can’t wait to try it out!