In The Studio: Just Paint 21 “Working Without Power”

This painting is all about getting texture in your brush work and merging the paint on the paper creating a nice sparkling feeling of light and implied details.  Nothing is really finished but it has an overall feeling of representational finish.  Really lay that round brush on its’ side and use it like a tool not a precious treasure.

Plan for your cloud pattern and make sure you leave your lights where you want them or else you will be struggling with a lifting brush to get those lights back in the painting.  I used a mix of cobalt and cerulean for the majority of the sky with a little ultra at the top and cobalt violet at the bottom.  I cleaned up the clouds with a damp paper towel

Using the side of a number 16 round I rough brush the foreground leaving the light for the little creek.  I worked at keeping the edges of the shapes textured to give that feeling of light. Don’t overmix your paints on the palette just a little mixing and the straight to the paper and then mix a new color and put it right up next to the previous color and let them merge.  I scraped with a variety of knife marks, really work and a variety here or they will look like chicken scratch.   Colors are raw sienna, olive green, burnt sienna, new gamboge, hansa yellow, and a few I can’t remember.  Actually the colors are not as important as the brush work.  If you get the colors right but the brush work is uninspired than the painting will not have the desired effect.Paint the trees using the side of the brush leaving lots of texture and openings to establish the relationship between the sky and the trees.

Paint the buildings using cadmium scarlet, burnt sienna, and ultramarine blue for one and ultramarine blue and burnt sienna for the second.  Remember to leave some highlights and light at the bottom of the foundation again creating a nice relationship between the objects and the the light in the painting.Paint in some dark accents in the trees and a little shadow underneath the trees.  Put the shadows on the building by just darkening the colors that were used for the light side.  Use the side of the brush for these shadow, stay away from the point.  Paint the water with just a little bit of the color of the weeds textured across the top to seal the deal on the light.

detail of shadows, notice the rough brush and the light at the bottom of the buildings.

Trees also have lots of texture and the feeling of light.  Using the side of the brush to get this effect is absolutely required.

detail of the water.  Notice that I used just a few pieces of sky color, leaving some white paper with just a hint of the green from the weeds.

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  • PatMay 12, 2013 - 3:48 pm

    Wow-thanks Steve for showing us so many techniques for such grand effects! (And the painting is wonderful too) 😀ReplyCancel

  • MercedesApril 12, 2014 - 10:01 am

    Super account of how paint a light-filled scene. Thank you for helping us to understand. It is gorgeousReplyCancel