How to Paint a Snowy Winter Pinecone

When I was planning my Funky Winter Flowers painting a few months ago, I was toying with the idea of adding a few snowy winter pinecones. 

While I was playing around with the composition, I ultimately decided that the pinecones made the floral bouquet look a little more rustic than I wanted. 

First and second attempts at Painting Snowy Winter Pinecones The Social Easel

I still want to add pinecones to a painting one day. Until then, I will teach you all to mix it into your own paintings. They are also super cute on their own, like I will show you today. 

Materials Mentioned

Sadly, the Funky Winter Flowers painting workshop has ended. But don’t worry! We will be adding the lesson to the shop soon! Make sure you are on our mailing list, and we will let you know when All the Funky Flowers lessons are available!

How to Paint a Pinecone

I like to use a flat or a filbert brush for painting the pinecone. The Filbert is similar to a flat brush but has a slightly curved tip. The curved edge can help get the pinecone scales’ shape, but I have used both, and you can use whichever brush you have. Learn more about the Filber Brush here. 

The first thing we want to do is apply a dark base coat, building the shape of the pinecone. This dark layer will be the shadowy inner parts of the pinecone. 

Practice Snowy Winter Pinecone on scrap paper The Social Easel

I have a bit of brown and black paint on my filbert brush and use a dabbing motion to apply the paint to the canvas. 

Do not pull your brush across the canvas, making a stroke. Lift your brush on and off of the canvas in a dabbing motion.

Create a basic shape of a pinecone that looks like a rounded triangle. Then dab in a few extra brush marks along the edges for that jagged look.

Close up of practice painting pinecone and pine needles The Social Easel

Next, add a less densely packed second layer with the same dabbing motion and a new light brown paint created with burnt umber and white. You don’t need to let the dark paint dry before adding this layer. 

You can already see a pinecone!

While these first two layers on the pinecone dry, start on the pine branch. 

How to Paint A Pine Branch

Now is an excellent time to paint the branch that the pinecone is on. I like to use a small detail paintbrush to create all those thin pine needles. For the base layer, I use hunter green paint mixed with a bit of black.

Start with the main branch running across the bottom of the canvas, just below the pinecone. Then with a very light hand, use tiny strokes beginning at the branch and flicking the wrist out to create the tapered line of the pine needles. 

use a fine detail paintbrush and a flick of the wrist to paint evergreen pine needles The Social Easel

The needles don’t stick straight out either. They come out in a bit of an angle, creating like a v-shape.

Practice those thin brush strokes in your mixed media pad a few times before taking it to your canvas. Test out how dense you want your needles and how the pressure you use determines the needles’ thickness. 

Without rinsing your brush, mix a bit of white paint into the green, and quickly add just a light second layer with the mid-tone green. 

With the darker color as the base, then this mid-tone, you can instantly see the layers add more dimension and transform your whole painting.

Layers of greens to paint evergreen pine needles The Social Easel

Once you have the layers of green pine needles, it’s time to add some white snow. Use a clean brush and quickly drag a few light flicks of white paint across the evergreen needles. 

You can decide how snowy to make everything, and you can always change your mind. 

Just because you put something on the canvas doesn’t mean it has to stay. 

I added a little too much white, so I dipped back into my mid-tone green and broke up that white a bit. You can even add in more dark green if you get too carried away.  

Finishing the Pinecone 

The current stage of the pinecone is great for any simple rustic painting. But, we need a few more layers of paint to take it to the next level and make it a snowy winter pinecone.

Darkening the shadows on my Snowy Winter Pinecone with black paint The Social Easel

Grab the filbert brush and mix an even lighter mid-tone brown to add to the tips of the pine cone scales. Even that quick of a thing immediately takes this pinecone up a notch.

Then, load a clean brush with white paint to add some snow with the same dabbing technique. I added more snow on the top side of the pinecone, where the snow would naturally lay.

Using a Filbert Paintbrush to Paint a Pinecone with The Social Easel Online Paint Studio

For even more contrast, add a few scattered dabs of black paint underneath some of those lighter tones.  

Finishing Touches

You know I can’t resist adding metallics!! I added a few touches of gold paint to the pinecone with a small detail brush here and there. Bronze could be pretty too.

With each element so snowy, we need to add some falling snow. 

how to paint a Snowy Winter Pinecone and Evergreen Pine Sprig The Social Easel

I like to use the end of my brush handle to do this! Simply dip the tip into white paint and add a few spots here and there. This technique is so much cleaner than watering the paint down and flicking it everywhere. LOL

How to paint a snowy winter pinecone The Social Easel Online Paint Studio

It is also safer than using the bristles because you don’t have to worry about your pressure. If you use your brush bristles and press too hard, you could end up with a big blob of paint.

Watch Christie’s Full Snowy Winter Pinecone Painting Tutorial

Just practice, practice, practice in your mixed media pad. It may take a few pinecones before you find out how you will like yours to look. 

This snowy winter pinecone is just a few strategically placed dabs of paint. With all of them pulled together you see it take its shape.

If you want to keep painting, check out this small Winter Wreath painting tutorial. 

Visit my FB painting community and share what you create!

Layers of dark, medium and light tones to paint a snowy winter pinecone The Social Easel Painting tutorials
Close up Acrylic Painting A Pinecone The Social Easel
All the paint layers to create a Snowy Winter Pinecone The Social Easel