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Old 12-30-2012, 09:09 PM
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What colors for snow?

I am starting a commission of an almost white dog in the snow bank with snow covered trees in the background, It is actually a lovely picture but I don't do a lot of white dogs or backgrounds so wondered what colors others use for snow and white dogs. I am using a blue paper as the snow is imparting a blue tone to the overall photo. I was thinking the cool greys and cloud blue but what else?
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:50 PM
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Re: What colors for snow?

Post the photo reference for more help. Depending on time of day, snow can contain blue, aqua, violet, purple, peach, yellow, pink. Translate anything that looks gray to a color, as gray will just look dirty. And your whites should actually be the lightest shades of other colors you can use: pale peach, pale celadon green, pale aqua, pale lavender. Save white for the brightest highlights. Make sure you keep your shadows dark enough to create the look of sunlight and shadow through contrast.

It is also best to use layering to make the colors you want, as snow reflects the spectrum. Violets shadows can be made by laying red and blue (it can be tuscan red and indigo for deep shadows and vermillion and electric blue for light shadows.) Experiment on a scrap of similar paper.

I have done one true winter scene in c/p . . . it is on white rag mat, and is an early work complete with all the mistakes one makes early in learning the medium. Hopefully it will help illustrate what I am talking about, however, even if only a little:


Fresh Powder, 16" x 20" colored pencil on white 100% cotton rag

Here is another colored pencil I did on dark blue paper, so you can see how I handled the colors of snow at sundown. You know that the snow is white, but it would have been inappropriate to use white in this lighting:


Alpenglow on the Tatoosh, 5" x 7", c/p on blue Canson Mi Tientes
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:36 PM
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Re: What colors for snow?

There are no such things as white snow, dogs or clouds.

draw the colors you see, which when dealing with "whites", it is the hardest of all scenery to draw.

There are many many many snowscapes here on WC. Go to "Landscape Forum" and just start at page 1 and look at anything that has snow. Spend 2 hours at this task and you will have a good idea of what is being done.

There may be a tutorial or thread on drawing snow somewhere, perhaps you can locate it or someone else may dig it up.

Go for it!!!!

greggo
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:34 AM
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Re: What colors for snow?

Quote:
Originally Posted by birdhs
draw the colors you see, which when dealing with "whites", it is the hardest of all scenery to draw.

Isn't it because you're dealing a lot with negative space?
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:55 AM
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Re: What colors for snow?

Color Theory. The less difference in hue and value, the less the eye can discern differences. The reflected colors off frozen water is affected by the local color- sky, trees, color of fur of the dog.

A blanket of snow is not truly negative space.

Study some of the snow paintings on WC, we have some of the best examples available - for free
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:12 AM
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Re: What colors for snow?

Peggy?
Have you looked at the RIL yet? here's a link to the "winter" pics in the Landscape section: http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showgallery.php?cat=52

Take some time and look at the ref pics there. I bet you'll get some ideas of how to handle the colors of the snow and the doggy.

Hope you'll share it as a wip!
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:43 PM
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Re: What colors for snow?

Artsaveslives, what wonderful paintings!!!!

Thanks for the ideas with the colors. I never thought about grey making things look dirty. I don't have the experience with white that I do with other colors and I think I have avoided lighter colors cause I really like the deep dark colors. I love doing black but never use just straight black but this is easy for me.

Tess, thanks for the link, I will check it out. A WIP?? Well maybe, but I am not confident with the snow to post but maybe....

Thanks everyone.

Here is the reference photo. The dog is actually a rare Tornjak, a guardian breed from Croatia.



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Old 12-31-2012, 04:23 PM
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Re: What colors for snow?

While the dog is a "black and white" you are going to need to make his fur using (Prisma names) some of these:

Cream, beige, peach beige, goldenrod, jasmine, beige sienna, ginger root, and some of the lighter umbers and brown-tones.

Toward the side his fur becomes cooler, so I would look at some pale blue-greys. Do not skip the darkened area of his collar (cooler) or the staining of his fur around his mouth.

The snow is reflecting back some of the dog's warm fur hues to the left and down just past his paw to the right. Notice the difference in value between the snow and his fur: this may mean you have to delve even more deeply into related colors for some darker hues for the fur so that you can get the snow to appear lighter. Compare the entire reference photo to the white of the screen surrounding it -- there is no pure white in this photo. You will want to save any white you use for just the edges of highlights.

I apologize for nixing the use of greys, but it appears that because there is no direct light source evident (save in the background on a bit of the snow, where it seems to be coming from the right) you will want to explore some grays . . . I can see some cool greys (bluish) and some French greys. There will also be some light lavenders and blues in the snow.

The background will need to be kept out of focus so the dog will pop forward. Use lighter shades for the foliage than you use for his dark fur. The dark fur should contain some reddish browns and black where it goes deep. The darkest and crispest edges will be on his head, as they are in the photo.

Overall, though, the dog's furs is orange-yellow (pale) and the snow is blue-gray. That is how you will contrast the two, but it is subtle.

This photo has great potential! He is a handsome fellow. You can create a useful tool for determining and matching colors to the photo if you wish by cutting small (2"x3") pieces of white card and punching a hole in each. Use one on the photo and one on sample swatches of color you have made on practice paper. A grey scale will also become invaluable as you work the subtle value shifts int his image. Below I have posted the one I use the most. But you can just Google Image and find a huge variety of scales to choose from.

I might suggest some trial runs to find the colors you will be using and then re-posting them here. A few more sets of eyes can help in fine-tuning your selections. I would just do some lightly applied layers of colors, warm down one side and cool down the other, in various values, and then begin your selection.

Best of luck. Hope this has been helpful and not overwhelming. And have fun!





A couple more:







You can even punch holes in the grey scale to help you assessing the values in your photo.




Annie . . . I just looked over some of the works you have posted in W/C . . . you will do just fine. I should have looked before responding, as you handle colors, and the medium, quite nicely!
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Last edited by ArtSavesLives : 12-31-2012 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:55 PM
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Re: What colors for snow?

Thanks again Artsaveslives, I also use the greyscale comparison when doing a painting. I never thought of punching holes in the greyscale though, good idea.
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