So far Washington’s snow is staying in the mountains where it belongs. But in my warm studio I pulled out some photos from years back when the white stuff blanketed the Trail near my house. I played with the composition, in fact, turning the path into an icy stream just for fun.
Starting with the sky, I painted down into the trees, then brushed in a dark blue and gray background (ultramarine blue and bits of burnt sienna), careful to keep the tree trunks white. The painting was half done at that point because the lower half of the white paper would represent the snow. Next I tweaked some warm sienna shadows onto the sides of the tree trunks.
Finally I loaded my brush with dark blues and sepia and painted the stream, softening an edge here and there, emphasizing some water edges, and then pulling out paint for the white reflections of the snow banks. The figures and cast shadows were painted last.