You Asked – How to Paint Falling Snow

Today’s question comes from Marie:

Marie Writes:

” Is there a way to produce an oil painting that has FALLING SNOW in it. I saw some paintings in Key West where the artist had falling snow in almost all of his work, however upon questioning the dealer there no one could tell me how this affect is accomplished. Can you?”

Do you have any information that might help Marie?  Please leave your response in the comments box below.  Thanks!


  1. says

    i have seen falling snow done by thinning down the paint with thinner, using an old tooth brush and ‘flicking’ your finger or thumb across the bristles while holding the brush at an angle so it flecks the area you want to show falling snow—hope this helps!
    decidedly different design
    ‘taking dreams and wrapping them in reality’

  2. Adriana says

    I only known about watercolor, but you could try it with a fine strainer and a toothbrush. You get even smaller drops.

    Happy painting, Adriana

  3. says

    Hi Marie, I have painted several paintings with falling snow and it is probably a bit harder than one would think, but not too difficult that you shouldn’t attempt it. It does take a bit of courage because your initial painting is at a little risk because even if it is totally cured, you will have a difficult time wiping all the “snow” off if you don’t like it, so just be bold and go for it! Here’s how I did it. Like the first commenter suggests, initially spatter paint from at least a foot away with the toothbrush (with your painting laying flat I may add). I did this in two passes, one with very thin paint and one with thick. This gives you two types of “snowflakes” one that tends to spread a little and one that stays nice and crisp. This will start to look right, but the problem is, you have a lot of similarly sized flakes and uniform even in their randomness. Now comes the tedious and actually kind of hard part…you must get a small, round brush and “dot” on larger flakes. This is kind of tedious and because of the tedium you will tend to develop a sort of rhythm which is not good as it will cause uniformity and what you really want is randomness. You have to concentrate on making your larger flakes random and what worked for me was randomly targeting some of the smaller flakes created by the initial spatter and “dotting” on top of them. Additionally, go back from time to time and put in larger flakes here and there with thin paint so that it “bleeds out” a little. Lastly, go back with a cotton swab wetted with thinner and wipe some of the small spatter off of some of your subjects that are closer to the viewer in the picture plane but paint in the larger ones over it to give the illusion that the smaller flakes are farther away whereas the larger ones are closer…I hope this helps! If you want to see examples of what I did, here are a few:

    Good luck,

  4. peggy says

    Liquin is product that is clear its put on an oil painting first then allowed to dry. Then liquin with a little (white)snow color is put on the picture it give a 3 d effect.

  5. John Ulman says

    You could try watering down the white paint, than put a Toothbrush in the paint and rub your finger on the bristles at the painting surface. This should apply small dots like snow. Possible spraying device could also be used. Both of these suggestions require trying on a surface to see if you like the effect.

  6. Jim Jordan says

    Marie, this is the technique I use when painting falling snow
    Very seldom does snow fall straight down. So this is for blowing snow, your painting must be dry before attempting this procedure. I use an old tooth brush, thin down white and blue paint. Then with the tooth brush dip the bristle into the mixture and with your thumb or finger test it off on a paper towel not your canvas. when the specks of paint test off to the size of snow flake that you would like. At the angle of the blowing wind, stroke the bristles across the bristle toward the canvas. before the snow has a chance to dry use a clean dry brush and lightly stroke the dots in the direction the wind is blowing. Use an old canvas to practice creating blowing snow.
    Best of luck

  7. says

    I have found that watering down white paint and using a fan brush in one hand tap your palm lightly in a clapping motion with the other hand and this helps in creating big snow flakes. I use this concept in creating starscapes as well, work with acrylics can’t see why it can’t work with oils as well.

  8. says

    Paint a wash and then when it it’s a little dry sprinkle some salt on it. Theres a painting on my blog of birds on snow covered branches with the snow falling in the background.
    .-= Bill Brunelle´s last blog ..Sky King =-.

  9. mindy says

    It sounds like a good idea to spatter it from a distance, and I love the effect of using thin and thick paint for a crisp effect. I wouldn’t try doing falling snow just yet, I am nowhere near that level of skill.

  10. Barbra says

    I have painted with acrylics for years and find that white paint thinned and
    dipping a toothbrush in it and using your thumb to splatter it works better
    Than anything else I have found, although, I did see in one of my painting
    books where they took an old sling shot, cut the band off of it and nailed a
    piece of ordinary screen to it and pulled the toothbrush across it. It works,
    and it keeps your thumb free of paint?

  11. Barbra says

    Try taking an old sling shot and cut the rubber band off of it and nailing a piece
    of ordinary screen on it and pulling the toothbrush across it…keeps your thumb
    paint free! Just rinse it when your done.

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