Snow is a wonderful medium on which to paint. It is such an intense white, that even the watered-down tempera paints show up nicely.
Look at this series of pictures showing a child painting with the magenta paint. Notice how the color expands.
How much of this painting is a conscious effort to explore color and how much is it an act of affecting his environment---the snow---to change it? In any case, it looks like he is about to add some red to the magenta.
The reason for long handle paint brushes to slow down the process of adding color to the snow. If the children were simply to pour the paint on the snow, the activity would be done in no time. With the brushes, the children apply smaller amounts of paint. Watch how this works. The child has lined up his paint pots so he can add the paints with the brushes to the bowl of snow.
Mixing snow and paint from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
What does he get? He gets some vibrant snow, for sure. Is it a color investigation or is it a mixing exploration?
At some point, though, the addition of paint to snow becomes just a mixing exercise. Watch the short video below to see the child stirring snow, melted snow and all the colors together.
Mixing melted snow and paint from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
What does he get? A cold brown concoction.
With a set up like this, there are other things to paint besides the snow. There is the incline apparatus.