Matroosberg Snow Experience

My family and I visited the Matroosberg Nature Reserve last weekend and what an experience it was. I felt like a child again and could not believe the energy generated within me when I stepped unto the snow. I felt alive even though my hands and nose were freezing.

I could not believe the beauty that lies in-front of me, a beauty the will disappear when the sun shines, a beauty that needs to be captured before it melts away. I was so grateful for the opportunity to experience pure white snow and just knew that I had to capture this amazing picture on canvas.

Painting snow is as big a challenge as painting water, I decided to make a study on how to paint snow. I came across this 10 tips on how to paint snow, the first point made me laugh but it is maybe the most important point.

  1. Wear long underwear.
  2. White warms as it recedes. Just have a look at a far eastern sky with the big plumage of clouds over the prairie. The top of the clouds are very white but as you move down you will see that they begin to warm into a yellow phase, then to a pink phase and at the horizon to an orange phase.
  3. White that is near you tends to take in a blueish hue and in the middle ground it has a touch of purple.
  4. Look for reflections. Snow reflects what is around it, be it the sky, the wall of a barn, or other patches of snow in sunlight. Larger masses of snow will most likely reflect the sky so if the sky is grey, your snow will be grey.
  5. Keep it clean! White is a tough colour to keep clean, so remember to keep it from getting contaminated by the other colours in your painting.
  6. Be aware of the planes. Look for what catches the light directly, what’s in shadow, and what reflects the light. You will see a variety of values and colours in snow, but you will almost never see pure white. The refractive index from snow makes it whiter than white. To achieve this illusion add a dot (and when I say a dot I mean a tiny bit) of Cadmium Orange. You’re not trying to make the snow orange but trying to borrow a bit of the Cad Orange’s chroma to brighten up the white.
  7. Shadows in the snow are full of light, probably due to the snow’s reflective quality. Look for reflective light and variety in your shadows.
  8. Dropping the value of your sky a step will make your snow look brighter. No one knew this better than Carl Rungius
  9. White greys colour. It will not brighten colour. To make white whiter see #6
  10. Don’t be afraid to use some paint. Not sure why but thick light colours tend to come forward and not recede like most darker colours.


With these 10 points and my beautiful pictures below, I am now going to start my snow painting and will keep you posted on how I progress.



Here is a list of answers to questions that I am often asked:

Continue reading “FAQ’s”