Positive negative

It just keeps on snowing in Montreal. The positive is that I keep on painting snow scenes. The negative is that I have to keep shovelling and cleaning it off my car.

Painting this scene was a positive/negative scenario too. I don’t use masking fluid so I had to paint around the snow on the foreground branches, leaving those bits of white paper which required some careful painting, stopping the background trees at strategic spots and then starting them again. Even though I don’t use frisket, I do sometimes add dabs of Titanium White watercolour at the end, which you might be able to spot. By the afternoon much of the snow on the road had melted so I’m glad I did this early in the morning. Hopefully I’ll be able to get another snow scene in tomorrow. Painted on Saunders Waterford, 15″x 11″.


15 Comments on “Positive negative”

  1. joantav says:

    Great job on the snow sitting on the branches. I know how hard it is to leave the whites but you did it really well. I like the way you showed the tree bark texture. I hope you get to do another painting of the snow. I’ve had several opportunities lately with this winter that doesn’t seem to want to stop. Enjoy!

  2. timdada says:


    I’ve always thought that the “rule” depicting white in watercolor was what made watercolor painting harder than oils or acrylic. In watercolor, you really get only one shot at every stroke. That white should always be the unpainted paper is an impossible discipline to maintain. With the snow scene being the obvious portrayal of it’s absurdness. And it’s funny how when watercolorists “admit” that they used white guache here and there that it is with a sense of guilt. And even watercolorists in California have to bring it out every now and then. Of course, there’s always scraping away with an exacto blade. That seems more appropriate especially on nice stiff wc paper.

    Always enjoy your emails.



    • Tim, you really made me think. You are so right about this. Watercolorists are almost embarrassed to add a few drops of white, as if it is some sort of failure that we didn’t leave enough whites. When I went to see the Sargent show in Brooklyn a few years ago I couldn’t believe how much opaque stuff he threw on top of his watercolours, yet most of us feel guilty about a drop of opacity her and there. Thanks for writing, as always.

  3. Alison says:

    Impressive! And an accurate depiction of the white stuff that just keeps on coming!

  4. TonyU says:

    Sorry to hear about the weather …. but loving the paintings!

  5. andre savard. says:

    Beautifull, the snow climbing along side of thje tree and branches loaded.
    The house in the backgraound complements it all.

  6. -N- says:

    I don’t like frisket, or use it, either. A bit of white paint is a better choice, I think. Part of not using frisket is the mental / artistic challenge of looking ahead, and that is a bit of the fun, too. Well done!

  7. Trevor Travis says:

    Beautiful. Just like a lovely bouquet of snow.

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