White Christmas – Oil Painting

White Christmas

The second in the series of Christmas card subjects. This is an amalgamation of three scenes with a sprinkle of snow to produce a Christmas subject. Each piece would be recognisable in isolation, so it will be ‘familiar’ to many people from this part of the world. But this does not matter, its the ‘feeling’ of Christmas that’s important. I’ve been thinking about what are the essential ingredients in the effective Christmas scene. Time, or the passing of time is important. To quote John Lennon “Another year over. And a new one just begun“. Its the time we stop and think about how quickly things move on, leaving so much behind. Like childhood, parents, grandparents, ancestors.

The above photo does not convey the very subtle colours in the colouring of the snow. It will be a challenge to print this scene as a card, but it will be Ok, I hope. As you will see in the video in the next post I don’t mix these colours on the palette. Instead I place layers of colours where the snow will be. These are thin washes (in solvent) of paint. When the solvent evaporates, pure white is rubbed into these colours picking up and mixing with what’s there. The more the paint is manipulated the deeper the resultant colour. The shadow areas have a ‘blueish’ tinge and the lit areas are a warmer yellow/brown. The final highlights are ‘blobs’ of white with little or no blending or mixing. There is one little problem with this method. The ‘blobs’ are three dimensional and sometimes very much so. With the textured paint I allow the ‘skin’ of the paint to dry and flatten down the paint with my finger tip. Featureless ‘spikes’ I will shave off when dry enough.

The colours used are: Burnt Sienna (red), Raw Sienna (yellow) and Cobalt Blue. No medium, solvent only.

I will have the video in a day or so, see you then.

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25 thoughts on “White Christmas – Oil Painting

  1. I like the way the photo appears here. Sorry but it takes on a sort of purity; as if one is enveloped in winter. I think sometimes less is more. Though I am sure it is spectacular with the subtle colors more pronounced as well. Great Painting(s).

  2. You have captured the light and mood of a snow filled landscape right on. I know the recipients of your cards will be as blown away as I am – another brilliant painting William…

  3. HI William, thanks for Liking my current still life.

    I’ve run into a problem with the white bowl- it is so hard to nail the ‘color’ of the shadows in it and underneath it. I used a lot of colors for the darks but still didn’t like it. I don’t want to mix greys on the palette, the easy way out. So I will try your method, it sounds perfect for getting nuanced shadows on a white china bowl.
    Love the painting.

    • Thank you Sarah. I love your work. You remind me of Cezanne. His approach was different from the other Impressionists. It might be a help to research his working method. Hopefully there is some information available which you could experiment with.

  4. Liam, thank you so much. You are right, when starting this still life I was very much focused on Cezanne having seen a few of his paintings ‘live’ recently. He is amazingly precise in his brushstrokes despite the general loose impression his paintings give.
    Your tip did rescue me for the time being, thanks. I hope to be spending more time here with the wealth of teaching information you’ve so kindly made available.

  5. Pingback: How do you know when a painting is done? « Art Calling

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