Help with snow

  • This is more of a painting than an illustration I guess, but I'm trying to improve my ability to do backgrounds and understand light by painting scenes. Snow is tough and now that it's finally melting here in western NY, I'm losing my reference!

    I was trying to do a very snowy early morning when the sky is heavy with snow and what little light there is from the dawn just breaking behind the house. I made the snow in the foreground whiter to try to make it look more snow-like but now it feels like the direction of the light is unclear. Any help on how to make snow look like snow on a gray snowy overcast morning? Or any other suggestions in general? I don't feel like it's quite coming together like I wanted.


  • You have a good start but I noticed a couple of things that will help. I would have another layer of trees pushed farther back to help the atmosphere look heavy. I would also lighten the BG trees that are there because their value is very close to that of the foreground tree but that is hindering your attempt at creating depth. Your snow in the foreground seems inconstant because one deer is standing but the others seem to be sitting(?) and in deep snow but that would mean the grass is very long. I would paint out a lot of the grass and just have it in a few clumps.

  • 0_1522525539724_test.jpg I find in the snow unless you have a strong light source most of the shadows are not present because a lot of the light is diffused (I think anyway)... I did a quick paint over which adds a little more snowy atmosphere. And I made your animals bigger to fill the page a bit. I also added some colour into your tree and background trees... I may have gone overboard with turning all the lights on in the house but it adds a little more interest. Hope it helps a bit anyway 🙂

  • @jason-bowen I like the additional snow and you are right about the shadows. It's funny that you enlarged the deer because that's how I originally had them but then had second thoughts and shrank them -- should have gone with my first instincts. The additional lights in the house look nice artistically but since it is a painting of my actual house, my reaction is, "Who left all of those lights on? I've got to pay that electric bill, you know!" 🙂

  • @rcartwright Good point about the values of the foreground and mid-ground trees. I'll work on that some more. (The grass really is that long -- my yard borders a field -- but I always forget that I don't have to paint what is really there.)

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