This is a step by step demo of my painting of Sorensen Falls in the Sierras.
For this painting I am using my extended palette which is Viridian, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Permanent, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Lemon and Titanium White. My canvas is a16x12 SourceTek oil primed linen canvas on birch panel.
1. I begin by establishing my drawing.
2. Once I have everything in place I start blocking in the big shapes. Here, I am careful to mix the colors as accurately as possible. I constantly compare each large shape to the other shapes around it for tone and temperature.
3. My usual plan is to work back to front and large to small but the light is changing so fast I decide to paint the water since it will soon be in shadow.
Water has three attributes: Movement, Transparency and Reflectivity. When painting water it is good to let one aspect dominate with the other two qualities playing subordinate roles. The obvious choice in this case is the movement with some of the transparency in the foreground playing a secondary role.
4. I work to finish the water trying to get all the nuances between the foam, spray and cascade. After establishing the big differences between light and shadow I refine the shapes in smaller and smaller increments. I am careful to keep the sense of movement and cadence. To do this you must be careful not to freeze frame the elements like a camera would.
5. With the water finished I can focus my attention again on the rest of the painting. Again I turn my attention to the things that seem the most transient in this case the lower trees in the background and the rocks. The spray being kicked up is softening the look of the background elements and so I don’t want to over develop the distant trees or cliff.
6. I finish the rocks in the foreground by modeling their forms and adding some highlights. At this point I have stopped looking at the scene for more information and I focus on the painting. I adjust anything that detracts from the concept and focus, the power of the rushing water.
7. The finished painting, Sorensen falls, 16x12. Total Painting time 2 hours painted completely on location with no touch up in studio
Last edited by dpaint; October 1st, 2012 at 01:00 AM.
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this is so great
Very nice, I would have been frustrated at your second step. Way to go!
Awesome painting, dpaint.
I know you gave an example regarding artistic expression with colours with an example of a desert (making it appear dustier/ dryer than it was etc). How about this one?
I notice the distant trees are purple in the painting, but not so much in the photo (except for maybe that distant pine tree furthest right).
Now, is that because it's just a photo and has changed the colours to what they were, is it literally what you saw, or an exagerration based on theory? I know the further something is the cooler it becomes.
Thanks for asking. Those pines are a dark reddish brown color. I exagerated lightened and shifted the hue of the color too play off the yellow green trees in front of those trees and the overall yellowish tone of the water and rocks. My strongest darks are in the foreground . It doesn't look like it in the photo but those trees were only maybe 30 yards from where I was standing so I really pushed things for a more dramatic effect.
Ahh, that makes sense! Thanks
Hi, great work. Something that I would suggest is to use also black in the palette. Also you could try egg tempera, its drying faster but still keep saturation.
to make it you use the yellow part of the egg, your oil medium and water
Thanks for the tutorial Dpaint, I've been meaning to get back into oils, this is good inspiration. You've really captured the sense of movement in the water, I especially like the froth in the foreground so many colours.
Thanks for the egg tempera tip Danilo gonna try that.
awsome painting love the tutorial very helpfull for a beginer like me
Right now I'm using a bogen manfrotto tripod with a quick release pistol grip head; it is a solid tripod but a little heavy compared to the newer carbon fiber models like the gitzo traveller, which I got my eye on...
The setup wasn't too bad the rock was just big enough for me and my gear; my buddy was painting two rocks over to the right.
Here is a new alla prima demo of a cafe scene
Village Square Demo
First I made a relatively careful drawing of the scene. Scenes like this one require a more careful approach than your usual outdoor landscape painting. I decided on the placement of my larger shapes and marked those on the canvas.
Next I placed the elements in relation to my initial drawing.
Since most of the scene was in shadow I started blocking in my darkest shapes so I wouldn’t paint the rest of the shadow planes too dark.
I then proceeded to work around the canvas to establish the big color shapes of the various elements. Usually I just focus on the value and colors aspects at this stage having already locked in my drawing but in this case because the drawing was so complex I am correcting small errors in size shape and angle as I go.
As the lunch crowd arrives I place them for interest before going on with the rest of the painting. While patterns of light move through the scene I pick and choose their placement to enhance a sense of movement.
I finish with the trees and background buildings and tighten up the people. I let edges go where I think it is appropriate. The complete painting time is three hours. This painting will be the basis for a larger studio painting of the same scene.
thanks for sharing your art steps with us!
These are so helpful to a plein air, alla prima and all around painting beginner like myself, many thanks. I love how you capture the light in both your paintings.
My Website I am available for work
Another recent demo painted at one of the galleries that carry my work. This is painted alla prima from a field sketch. Around four hours because I was talking to people as they came in the gallery etc.
This is the sketch is 8x10
and the studio demo is 20x24
Do you have any works in watercolors?
I'll try and remember to shoot some step by step process shots of my watercolors next time I paint with them
Last edited by dpaint; August 11th, 2011 at 09:46 PM.
wow dpaint, those watercolors are beautiful. All three are wonderful, but the third one especially stands out. I would really appreciate if you could share more of your watercolor pieces.
Bluebells are starting to peak around the Piedmont here and I had to get out and paint them while they last. They usually come and go in about 10 to 15 days. My two favorite spots are at the old stone bridge at Bull Run in The Manassas Battlefield and Riverbend Park on the Potomac in Great Falls. The Bull Run patch is much smaller than Riverbend Park but provides an intimate setting within the trees along the river. The painting time for this 16x20 was two hours.
In this scene everything is backlit, the sun is low in the sky and is moving from left to right as the sun sets. In a scene like this it is important to lock in shadow patterns and stick to them from the beginning as they will change in a matter of minutes.
1. I establish my horizon line and big anchor points first in the correct tone and color.
2. My goal is to cover the entire canvas in the first few minutes to get the color and value relationships that will be constantly shifting later as I paint. While I am willing to incorporate some changes that occur later it is important not to deviate too much or the strong sense of light and shadow is ruined.
3. Once I have the big shapes established, I start adding elements by designing them into the scene not just trying to copy their placement.
4. I want to use the colors of the bluebells and there leaves and the game trail that is leading away from me to weave back through the painting breaking up the verticals of the trees and the angles of their cast shadows.
5. I continue to add elements and refine the larger masses of the painting.
At this point the light has changed enough that I focus on the painting looking up occasionally for information from nature to resolve any passages that haven’t been resolved to my satisfaction.
6. The finished painting, Bull Run Bluebells 16x20 Oil on Linen
Last edited by dpaint; April 1st, 2012 at 03:14 PM.
It is interesting that at the beginning the colors are dull and muddy and in the final stage it lightens up so much.
I would have thought you'd start with light and add the darks later!
Thank you so much for this thread dpaint, it's so great to learn from this.