Painting Demonstration 1
Snow has wonderful shadows, in rich purples and blues. I begin with cobalt violet with a touch of cobalt blue and cobalt teal. Definitely a cobalt rich palette!
Painting Demonstration 2
I continue this wash of cobalts. I use a little more blues, washed into bluer shadow areas.
Painting Demonstration 3
Next step is a wax crayon. I go around the painting dashing in a few extra whites where I want to be sure to reserve them.
Wax crayon does not ever come off. Ever. So please only use it where you're sure you want it white.
Remember, you can always use some gouache to add back whites.
Notice how the wash is pulled into the backlit white of the dog's fur.
Artist's TipsThe greatest danger is turning the snow to green. Snow shadows should lean toward purple, not green!
Painting Demonstration 4
While the shadows are still wet, I add some leaves and trees. I want a lot of interesting texture against the smooth snow.
I'm using quinacridone rust with a touch of cobalt blue and yellow ochre.
Don't forget a bit of splatter for more texture!
Painting Demonstration 5
I continue building up the background until it's full of mid tone interest.
Now it's finally time to start painting my dog!
I begin with a dryish wash of ultramarine blue and quinacridone rust. I want lots of hit and miss strokes.
Painting Demonstration 6
It's so difficult not to go ahead and paint Scout's shadowed eye, but you really can't see his black eye against the black fur in the shadows. So I just paint a blur of dark fur and shadow.
Keep the details down. You only need a few of them to say DOG.
Painting Demonstration 7
Notice how a little of the warm browns pulled into the fur make a big difference. Do just little touches of this. Too much will look forced and heavy. Subtle reflections are much better for this painting.
I've been saving this photo to paint for a while. Scout's such a happy dog to me.
I think we all know I love my dog by now.
But the purple shadows and the dark slightly reflective fur and the highlights are perfect for a painting.
I know who you really want to paint is your own dog, your faithful companion. Each person's dog is the most beautiful to them, and that's how it should be. I hope you tell me your dog stories and show me your paintings.
I hope this watercolor painting tutorial inspires you to paint your own dog, hopefully playing in the snow like a puppy.