Tag Archives: snow

River Thames in Winter


Snow at Marlow, oil painting by Roy Connelly

I painted this last winter.  I have posted it today because it features in an article I wrote on plein air painting in winter that has just been published in The Artist magazine.

Its quite big for a plein air painting, 20 x 36 inches on stretched linen, and it was painted in a single rather cold session.

Winter painting by the Thames at Marlow. Roy ConnellyAbove: A very early stage in the painting.  I have very roughly blocked in the main areas of the composition.

Below: My Plein-air painter’s guide to winter article in The Artist magazine.

The painting above is for sale at £2,000. Contact me for more details.

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Plein Air Snow Paintings

Above the Ridgeway, Oil on board, 12 x 16 inches

Black Jack Lane, Oil on canvas, 16 x 32 inches

Snow at Marlow, Oil on canvas, 20 x 36 inches

After a busy few days out painting the snow I have finally got round to photographing a few of my plein air paintings.  All of these pictures were completed on location in one session.  It’s been a great having such wonderful subject matter but the snow is now melting.  I cant wait for the next cold snap.

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Snow at Marlow

Snow at Marlow. Oil on linen, 20 x 36 inches.

This series of photographs was taken over a period of two hours on 21 December – the winter solstice.

The first stage was to apply an imprimatura of raw umber and ultramarine blue to the canvas.  Then I very roughly marked out the composition with thin paint – also using a rag to draw into the wet paint.  A glaze medium was used to ensure the thinned paint was not underbound.

I was lucky that the quality of light changed very little through out the afternoon so I was able to keep painting for a couple of hours.  I will look at it again in a few days but I think it is finished.

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More Snow – A painter’s guide to staying warm.

I have been painting out in the snow again so thought I would pass on a few tips to keep you warm on your winter plein air painting trips.

The key to staying warm when you are painting in the cold is to dress in layers.  Several thin layers will trap more warm air than one thick layer and can be easily adjusted to suit changes in temperature.  Start with a synthetic (or silk)  base laser with long-sleeves –  I use Paramo‘s excellent and seemingly everlasting thermal clothing.  Next, a number of thin mid-layers, fleece jumpers etc, and finally a water/wind-proof outer layer.

A lot of heat is lost from your legs, so fleece-lined trousers like those made by Craghoppers and Rohan will really help to keep you warm.  Otherwise, get some long-johns.  A pair of waterproof over-trousers can be useful too if it is raining or windy, or just as an extra layer on very cold days.

Don’t forget to wear a hat!  Mine is fleece lined and waterproof, with a peak to keep the low winter sun out of my eyes.  Most importantly it has ear flaps!

I usually wear gloves to paint in winter.  I use thin liner-gloves. These are designed to be worn inside mittens or over-gloves but they are warm enough to be worn on their own and thin enough not to interfere with brush handling.  If it is very cold I will wear another thin pair over the top.

A thermal neck warmer is a great asset.  If your neck gets cold you tend to hunch up your shoulders – making it difficult to paint.  Avoid scarves if you don’t want the end to dangle in your paint!

The secret to warm feet in the snow? Make sure your boots really are waterproof.  If the damp gets in your feet are going to get cold.  I use Muck Boots which are completely waterproof and have a good solid sole.  Avoid ordinary wellies, they might be waterproof but they are not designed to keep you warm.  If you wear leather walking boots make sure they are regularly treated to maintain their waterproofness.  Thermal socks are essential and it’s important to make sure your boots are big enough – you should be able to wiggle your toes even with a thick pair of socks on.

As well as having the right equipment it is also important to make sure you have food and drink with you.  A flask with a hot drink can be a life-saver, but don’t forget that even just drinking water will keep you hydrated which in turn will help your circulation and keep you warm.

After an hour and a half working on this picture my feet were just as warm as when I started and if it wasn’t getting dark I would have carried on with another painting.

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Painting in the snow again…





I spent the yesterday painting the snow at Harefield, Great Missenden and  somewhere in the Chilterns (above) – warming up in the car as I travelled between locations.

The wet snow was mixing with the paint on my palette.  Titanium white soon resembled ice cream and my brushes froze but it was a good day.

I will post some photos of the paintings later.

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Snow in February

Painting in the Chiltern Hills
Painting in the Chiltern Hills
Last month’s snow was a gift to landscape painters. As I have been painting outside throughout the winter, it was good to see a snowy landscape at last.
This is my typical set up when painting out on location. I use a half box French easel to hold the small boards or larger canvases. The drawer of the easel stores my paints and the folding palette fits on top of the open drawer.
Everything I need – boards, brushes, palette knives, thinners, rags, storage box for wet paintings and, most importantly, my lunch – goes in the bag.

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