This painting was done using the three paints in the Golden Heavy Body Acrylics Uncommon Blues promotional pack (which is now discontinued) and the Matisse Structure Titanium White. I’ll refer to these colour names during the demo but you should be able to find the equivalent colours in whatever brand you use. This painting is on a 10.2 cm X 10.2 cm Mont Marte Canvas Panel.
Make a watery puddle of Smalt Hue and apply it to the canvas with a flat brush, using feathery strokes to create texture. Make a puddle of Cerulean Blue Deep of the same consistency and repeat the process, varying your strokes and allowing the Smalt underlayer to show through. Allow this to dry, and then add one more layer of Smalt in the same manner. By now you should have a reasonably dark and mostly-covered canvas, though it’s okay if you still have a few pale areas showing; this adds a bit more texture. Allow to dry.
Get some thick paper and draw two snowflakes: one big and one small. The easiest way to do this is to draw the circle with a compas, then use a protractor to make sure you draw the snowflakes’ six arms evenly spaced (you’ll be starting with a circle divided into six quadrants). Draw the pattern for your snowflake along one side of one line, and then trace it and transfer it to the other side so you have one complete arm. Now trace the whole arm and transfer it to each of the other lines so you can quickly and easily complete your snowflake.When you draw the second snowflake, try to make the patterns different for the sake of variety (eg. perhaps have one with sharp, angular shapes and another with more gentle, rounded shapes). Cut out the snowflakes. If some bits are hard to cut out, like the holes in the snowflake, use a scalpel rather than scissors so you don’t have to bend the snowflake too much. After you’ve cut out your snowflakes, blot over them both with a kneadable eraser to remove any loose greylead pencil; this will prevent any pencil being transferred onto the canvas, which could muddy the white paint that will be used in the following steps.
Use a tiny bit of kneadable eraser to stick each snowflake onto the canvas, positioning them so that some of the snowflakes extends past the edge. Using Anthraquinone Blue straight out of the tube, brush this dark blue over the snowflake, creating an outline around your cutout. Try to feather it a little as you move outwards to avoid creating a solid, hard outline around the snowflake. It’s probably a good idea to hold the paper snowflake down as you do this to reduce the chance of paint getting in under it. Allow this to dry.
Leave the paper snowflakes where they are for now. Make a slightly thinner puddle of Anthraquinone Blue and pick some up on your brush. Hold the brush tip over the canvas and flick it a few times to create spatter. Do the same with some Titanium White, to create the effect of more distant snow falling in the background. Now remove the paper snowflakes; there should be a hard inner outline of dark blue. Paint in the snowflakes with white paint so you have thick coverage; this may take two layers.
Make a very watery puddle of Smalt Hue and wash this over the snowflakes. Sprinkle table salt over them and leave it to dry (rock salt is better if you can get it, as the grains are bigger and produce a more pronounced effect). The salt will absorb some of the pigment from the paint and create an interesting textured effect. Once this final wash has completely dried, sweep the salt off the canvas and add your signature. The snowflake painting is now complete.
I hope you enjoyed this snowflake demonstration. Keep an eye out for my review of Golden Heavy Body acrylics!
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