Come join me while I Oil Paint a Winter Mountain Hide-away.

rose bush

Today I felt the urge to share with you the painting of a winter scene instead of telling you about my Rose garden.

The Rose garden will have to wait for another day.

Oil Painting is something I started doing in 1970 when I took lessons for a brief time from Ralph Hall, a well-known artist from Yates County.  Ralph was in retirement and had a studio in Branchport, NY where he gave art lessons.  Ralph is famous for his paintings of the Finger Lakes area and especially the large boats that were used on Keuka Lake in the 1800’s.  Over the years I have wanted to get serious about my painting but was too busy with life. 

Now that I am retired, Beloved has set up a studio for me in our basement.  So now I have the time and the place to create and play with oil paints.  I have switched from the time consuming method of painting that Ralph Hall taught  to the fast wet-on-wet technique that Bob Ross used in those famous TV programs from the 70’s and 80’s.  With this method of painting I can sit down and do a painting in 3 to 5 hours.  I have a lot more to learn about painting but I’m willing to share the basics with you as I know them today.

In order to paint you need quality brushes.

My collections of brushes are ready to get to work

oil paint brushes
tubes of oil paint

Next you need quality oil paints.  I keep the tubes organized in two old cake pans. There are many different brands of oil paints in the market place but I use the Bob Ross oil paints, brushes and supplies.  They have been specifically designed for the wet-on-wet technique of oil painting.  Even though Bob passed away several years ago at a very young age, his oil paints and supplies are available at

oil paint palette

So, here I have my pallet with the colors that I will be using for this winter scene. 

I started out yesterday by coating this canvas with black gesso and allowed it to dry.  Today, I coated the canvas again with a thin coat of black paint mixed with a little blue to make the canvas wet ready to paint.

coated canvas
painting clouds

You always start painting the farthest object away, thus, the sky.  White paint on the wet black paint makes a nice sky of variegated shades that you would find in clouds.  Have you ever sat and studied the beauty in clouds?  They are all different and they are constantly changing into other forms.   Layers and layers of billowing white pillows climbing ever so high.  It is impossible to capture all that beauty in a painting, but I give it a try. 

The next closest thing is the mountains.  This painting was requested by a family member and they wanted mountains and a cold winter scene.  So, I’m building tall majestic mountains covered with snow and a cold mist surrounding the base of the mountains.

The next closest item is an Evergreen forest at the base of the mountains.  It’s very hard to see in this snapshot.  In person, you can see tall evergreens way back in the background at the base of the mountains in the mist.

painting mountains
painting evergreens

Now it’s time to build evergreen trees up closer and start the lay of the land and the snow.  From here I just look at the painting and use my imagination of what I see in my mind that this country scene should look like.  A tree here and there and white paint to create the snow covered hills and knolls.

Oh, someone needs to live here.  I need a cabin on the knoll up there by the big old pines.  Are they home?  Yes, I see l lights in the windows and smoke coming out the chimney.  There must be a path from the front door off to somewhere.  Having a cabin in the painting gives it a personal feeling that someone lives here in this winter wonderland.  Otherwise it would remain just a cold winter scene.

adding in a cabin

What am I going to do with this ravine? Let me think about that ….

I think I’ll add a rail fence up by the woods and have it come down into the ravine and up behind the cabin. Yes, that looks very natural.

?  MMmm.  Maybe a stream running down through it. Now where is the stream going to run too?  I need a pond.  Voila!  A pond!  Now put some rocks and frost covered bushes along the stream and around the pond. Add some bare branches growing here and there.  A few more snow covered evergreens and, of course, birds in the sky.  All that is left undone is to sign the painting.  I paint under my maiden name and I always date them.  So, for this painting I scratched into the wet paint, Marilyn Hayes, March 2020. The Painting is complete.

finished winter scene oil painting
Majestic Mountains oil painting by Marilyn Hayes
used paint palette

This is what my pallet looks like when the painting is finished.  Now it’s cleanup time.  Oil paint is quite expensive so I don’t like to throw it away.  You can’t put paint back into the tube so I save what I can in old prescription drug containers. 

saving expensive oil paints
dirty paint brushes

I use odorless paint thinner to clean my paint brushes, pallet and everywhere else that paint may have landed.  To extend the life of my special paint brushes I clean them very well.  Cleanup is as important as painting the whole painting.  If you want to use your pallet and brushes again they must be cleaned and well taken care of. 

So, that’s how I create an oil painting.  I hope you have enjoyed going on this adventure in my mind to this wonderful peaceful winter hideout.  Grandma

5 thoughts on “Come join me while I Oil Paint a Winter Mountain Hide-away.”

  1. Charlie and Joyce

    I knew Ralph Hall and his sister Stella as well. My Sunday school teachers when I was a kid way back in the two years ago. Ha, ha. They were great people and yes Ralph was a great painter.

    1. Hi Joyce, I’m still learning the “how to’s” about this website. I’ve answered your comment 3 times and nothing showed up so here goes again. Ralph was a very kind and gentle man. I wish I had taken more lessons from him. Hope you and Charlie stay well. Marilyn

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