Tag Archives: Christmas

Let’s Paint a Winter Storm at Night!

The Chicago area has been hit by two significant snow storms since winter started. I love snow. Not only is it soothing to watch as it descends, but it dresses the winter trees in their formal attire. How beautiful. Each and every one dazzles.

So, let’s paint a winter tree during an enchanted nighttime snow storm!

I do not have a reference photo but the technique will work with any deciduous winter tree.


Step 1: Draw your tree on a 140lb coldpress watercolor paper with a pencil. My paper size is 6×9. The focal point is the tree itself so in the composition law of thirds, I wanted the tree to fill 2/3 of the paper.


Step 2: Using masking fluid, paint where the snow would land on the branches. I covered the tops of almost every branch. Let completely dry. If you do not wait until it is completely dry, you will ruin your brush. You can make sure it is dry by lightly touching it after about 10 minutes.


Step 3: We are going to paint the sky wet on wet. Using a 1″ flat brush with clean water, wet the paper in the area of the sky and the tree. Brush right over the dried masking fluid. Make sure you do not skip around and leave dry spots. When the shine on the paper disappears, paint ultramarine blue on top and bottom of sky and mauve in the middle. Let the colors blend and touch. You’re literally laying down a few brush strokes and stepping away. Do not over work this.
While the paper is still wet, sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on the paper and let completely dry. When dry tilt your paper and discard the salt.


Step 4: Paint the tree starting at the bottom and work your way up. I used a medium round brush. If you look at the base of the tree I started with a mixture of sepia and ultramarine. As I work my way up, I added mauve to that sepia/ultramarine mixture, then viridian green, lastly at the top alizarin crimson.
Using a small round brush, paint in smaller branches repeating the colors we already used.


Step 5: Rub the masking fluid off with your finger. Paint shadows under the tree using the same sky color on top.


Step 6 Final: Using a small round brush paint a light mixture (meaning less pigment and more water) of prussian blue where the snow touches the branches, making a fine line. This is the shadow color of the snow on the tree.
When everything is dry, take a #3 black micron pen and draw tiny branches/twigs coming from the small branches. Outline the trunk and main branches of the tree to make it stand out.

I hope you enjoyed this free step-by-step demonstration of how to paint a nighttime winter snowstorm.

If you would like to purchase a greeting card ($4.95) or archival print click below. Thank you!
Art Prints


New Appreciation

Today I read over the story of Christ’s birth in the book of Luke.

I have never before thought of this, but when I read…“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7, I couldn’t help but think how disgusting that must have been.

Have you ever been within a block of stables?

It stinks.
Real bad.

Sometimes when we hear carols of the manger…we think, “Oh, how cute.”
A manger is not cute. It’s a feeding trough for animals. Feed, animal slobber, it’s not at all cute.

I can’t help myself when I wonder…did Mary get depressed? I would have been thinking, “Hey! I thought the angel said I would bring forth a Savior and now I can’t even get a clean room!” Is God paying attention? I would have been mad, angry, hurt and depressed. All the wrong kinds of attitudes, I would of experienced.

However, maybe Mary did not express those feelings but just prayed for a sign? Because at that same moment an angel visited nearby shepherds and told them how to find the Savior…“And this will be a sign to you: You will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, laying in a manger.” Luke 2:12.

When they arrived, they told Mary and Joseph all that the angel told them and then…“Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19.

I would have been in tears. People didn’t go around having babies in barn stalls, with dirt and animals and germs. Mary kept it together and just waited for God. But God had a purpose, our Savior was made lowly to serve us.

The beginning of His life in a smelly stable, the end of His life hanging on a cross.