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Snowdrops tutorial

Even though February can be one of the coldest of winter months it is when the first signs of spring start to appear. One of my favourite sights at this time of year is snowdrops poking their heads through the frost and snow.

They seem to be telling us that things are going to get better and hold the promise of warmer days to come.

Here I show you a simple way to paint snowdrops in a loose style. Try not to worry about getting them perfect - just let the paint and water do what they do best with minimal interference.

Step 1

Lightly sketch your snowdrops.

Focus on the petals and don’t worry about the stem or leaves.

3 is always a good number.

Step 2

Using a large brush and clean water paint all around the flower heads.

You can see below I add a lot of water.

Step 3

Load up your brush with your selected colour and drop it into the water and let it flow. It will only go where the paper is wet so the flowers heads are safe.

I used a purply pink (Daniel smith rose of ultramarine) and a turquoise (DS phthalocyanine turquoise).

Let them mix together, you can encourage them by tipping the paper but don’t be tempted to start brushing them together.

Step 4

Whilst the paint is wet you can lift out some paint with a tissue to suggest flowers in the background.

Also add a little green to suggest the tops of the flowers and some leaves - don’t worry if it spreads into the background.

At this stage you can start to add the shadows into the petals by pulling the wet paint into them.

Leave some areas as the white of the paper and look carefully at your reference photo to see where the shadows are.

Step 5

Add a sprinkle of salt.

This can be a bit unpredictable - I find it best to add when the paper has lost it’s sheen but is still damp, but you can experiment.

This suggests snowflakes to me.

The patterns appear slowly as the paint dries.

Step 6

Allow the paint to dry.

At this stage you can add more details.

More shadows, suggestions of stems and leaves, pick out the background flowers.

You can take your time at this stage and add whatever details you feel like.

But don’t do too much , this is supposed to be a loose painting.

You can also add some spatters of paint by picking up the paint on your brush then tapping the brush on your finger to create spatter patterns that further suggest snow and bring some energy to the painting.

And there you go - finished.

Please let me know if you try this tutorial and how you get on. I would love to see what you paint x

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