When you're painting a scene in which it's snowing, it's impossible to leave hundreds of tiny specks of white across your
watercolour painting. The secret is to take the salt from your kitchen and use it
to create the effect of snow in your painting.
Have some table or crushed salt to hand as you need to sprinkle it onto a wet wash to create snowflakes in your painting. The salt soaks up the paint, creating a little star around each bit of salt.
Apply the wash or scene you wish to have snowflakes in. Place the
watercolour painting down flat. Watch it drying and just before it loses its shine sprinkle on the salt.
Leave the watercolour painting flat to dry thoroughly. Be patient! When it's completely dry, brush the salt off with your hand or a clean, dry brush.
When you apply the salt is crucial. If the wash is too wet, the salt will absorb too much paint and melt, creating snowflakes that are too big.
If the wash is too dry, the salt won't absorb enough paint and you won't get any snowflakes.
Don't use too much salt as it ruins the delicacy of this effect and don't try to arrange the grains of salt, snowflakes should be random.
To create a blizzard, tip the
watercolour painting a little so the paint and salt slide to one side.
The second method is to mix plenty of white paint and using an old tooth brush, dip it in the paint and hold over the area
you want to cover and gently flick a finger across the top of the bristles. You may need to try this once or twice on a scrap peice of paper until
you are familiar with how to direct the flow and flecks of paint in the area you want covering.
Are you ever stuck for something to
paint and don't know where to look?
There are various sources where you can
find photographs that you can use, either because the
photographer has granted permission for this, or because they're
For starters, there's the collection of
artist's reference photos on Painting.About.com. While these
photos remain the copyright of the photographer, the
folder for sharing reference photos on the
Another good source of photos is
Flickr, but be sure to use the
Search Tool that enables you to find those photos labelled
Creative Commons Attribution License. This license allows
for copies and derivatives to be made from a photo (which a
painting would be) and commercial use (which you'd be doing if
you then sold the painting or exhibited it in a show) provided
you give credit to the photographer. To check what copyright
applies to a particular photo in Flickr, look under "Additional
Information" in the column to the right of a photo, and click on
the tiny CC logo to check the Creative Commons License.
Then there's the Public Image Reference
Morgue File, which provides "free image reference material
for use in all creative pursuits". And
Stock.Xchng where some photos can be downloaded for free.
When you do a search, the free photos are listed first, and the
ones you'd need to pay for below a bar saying "premium results".
Jim Meaders says he uses
eBay as a source for finding old black-and-white and
sometimes colour photos and that this can provide very
interesting subject matter. He says: "Almost all of the photos
I've bought are snapshots by individuals. I find the fact that
they're black and white to be a positive thing because it allows
me to create whatever colours I want in my paintings (even
abstract colours) without being influenced by the colours in
Reference Photos for