Creating Abstract Watercolors in the Snow

Icy Conditions

Icy Conditions for Painting

Since living in Central Oregon I have gotten to experience snow. We don’t get much snow where I am from so any accumulation brings out the kid in me. I have had a lot of fun this winter playing in the snow.

One day I decided to do a little experiment with snow and watercolor. I wanted to see what would happen if you tried to paint with watercolors in the snow. I knew the painting technique would need to be pretty quick because of the cold and the fact that the temperature was below freezing. The snow was about a foot deep and it was in the 20’s.

In preparation, I mixed jars of liquid watercolor. I wanted to limit the colors for the paintings in order to keep the colors vibrant. I did this by placing paint from watercolor tubes into the jars and adding water. I wanted the paint to be a medium value so I added water slowly to the jar so as not to dilute the color too much.  I mixed a yellow, purple, orange, blue, and red.

My idea was to pour the watercolor on the paper and allow the snow and cold to create designs or textures on the paper. So I placed the paper on top of the snow and poured the liquid from the jars onto the paper. I let the paint move around and blend as much as it could. I tried to use a paintbrush to move some of the paint on the page but the brush froze and was of no use. So I picked the papers up one at a time to let what was still liquid move around on the paper.

Snow Paintings

Snow Paintings

After the paint was uniformly across the page, I threw snow on the paintings. I then carefully picked up the paintings and placed them on my covered front porch. This would give the paintings a chance to dry slowly as the snow evaporated.

After a few days, the temperature rose above freezing and the paintings started to thaw out. Much of the snow had evaporated already but some melted and made puddles on the page. I tilted the paper slightly to allow the puddles to drain without disturbing the rest of the paper. The paintings stayed outside on my porch for several days until they were almost completely dry. Then I brought them inside and dried them with a blow dryer.

The texture that the snow made with the paint is quite unique. I have not seen similar textures using techniques such as plastic wrap or salt. I will use these paintings as an underpainting for something else. I am not sure what yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Below is one of the finished abstract paintings. If you have tried this technique or have any comments or questions please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for stopping by.

Abstract Snow Painting

Abstract Snow Painting


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