Painting snowy landscapes presents a number of challenges to plein air painters, beginning with the fact that the outdoor temperatures are low and can make it difficult for cold fingers to manipulate stiff or frozen paint. Then there is an issue of mixing a range of whites or reserving sections of watercolor paper in ways that convey the depth of the scene, the warmth or coolness of the colors, and the stark contrast in values.
“We naturally tend to think of snow as being only white because the local color or value of snow is white,” says Utah artist George W. Handrahan. “However, it takes on many other colors as influenced by reflected light and shadows, with only the highlights actually being a warm or cool white. Pushing or exaggerating these colors can make a winter painting more interesting.”