International Artist - August/September 1999

Painting Lesson from Passion + Planning = Productivity (page 23 - 29)

Underpainting.tif (64593 bytes)

Underpainting and first line-in

I begin by covering a gesso-primed canvas with a thin coat of Cadmium Red.  After this is dry, I plan my composition.  To avoid placing anything of importance smack in the center I place a dot in the middle of the canvas.   Then I draw the horizon and path lines, using a small bristle brush and alizarin purple.  I have to stay within these initial lines because I'm painting over the red ground, wet-into-wet.  For example, If I decide as an after-thought to extend a tree into the sky, the white in the sky will change the hue and value of the tree where it goes over the sky.

Blocking in Shapes.tif (63579 bytes)

Blocking in shapes

Using a large round bristle brush, I roughly block in the sky with Ultramarine Blue and a touch of purple.  As I move closer to the horizon, I add more white with a touch of green.  My paint is thin and transparent mixed with painting medium so that the red underpainting shows through and unifies the composition.

Next, I block in the tree, with a #8 bristle round using Sap Green and Ultramarine Blue to cover the red.  It's important to paint in the direction that objects grow.  Since trees and grass grow vertically, I make sure to use vertical strokes.

Continuing the Block In.tif (70380 bytes)

Continuing the block in

I continue adjusting colors in the sky and landscape so that the whole composition holds together.  I also add some lighter hues to the trees using Sap Green and Yellow Ochre.

Creating form.tif (65220 bytes)

Creating form and texture

I keep dark colors thin, but light areas (clouds, flowers, and road) thicker.  When glazing, I sometimes apply paint with the side of the brush so that it doesn't disturb the under-layer.  The roads are painted with Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, white, and a touch of green to dull the red.  I'm careful not to cover all the red edges with paint because that red is the unifying factor.

Refining values.tif (168582 bytes)

Refining values, connecting shapes

I add new colors here and there, while making sure all the colors continue to relate well to each other.  I continue to paint the road and its shadow areas, using Yellow Ochre, Purple, and Cadmium Red Light.  Then I add the purple flowers to visually connect the distant shore with the foreground.  My green highlights are made with Green Earth and Cadmium Yellow.  I add finishing touches using the boats to break the distant horizontal shore line, while at the same time providing a stop so that one's eye is not led out of the composition.  "Summer in New England", oil on masonite, 16 x 20" (41 x 5 1 cm) is finished.


Paintings Shown in this Article
Monique's Palette Discussed in This Article
Second Opinion About The Artist
Passion + Planning = Productivity Article