In The Studio: Just Paint 60 “Alaska Marsh”

For better or for worse I am putting up my first oil demonstration and I want you to know I am still learning to handle this medium and make no claims to being any shining beacon.  The importance for me is the trying to do something challenging and expressive and perhaps help you along the way.  By the way I did enjoy this painting and it comes from my recent trip to Alaska and it is a quick painting one take 2 hours and for me that is a long attention span.

The goal here is to keep this really busy scene as simple as possible by thinking of only big shapes first and keeping the painting organized to a maximum of four values.  Also I used a fairly simple palette of Cobalt Blue, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Red Light, Ultramarine Blue, Titanium White and a little Cadmium Yellow Lemon.  Most of it is painted with a number 8 flat and just a little use of a palette knife at the end.  I will try to explain this but I am really flying by the seat of my pants, and I think this is my 13th oil.Block in the dark forms with a thin mixture of burnt umber, cadmium red light and ultramarine blue.  Scumble with the side of the brush to keep it without details and the forms simple.

Add in all of the value shapes darks, middle value darks, light middle with a very broad brush mark.  You are looking to create the feeling of the local color in a representative value for the shape.  Don’t think details.

More color refinement in the the middle values thinking warm and cool, and complementary contrast with this close value range.  I then spotted in some light planes for the tops of the rocks.  I needed to do this now in order to keep this little critters in place.

Laying the brush on the side I began to put in the lightest passages of the painting.  Remember in oils or acrylics when you begin to apply the light use the brush horizontal with the surface of the paper, this keeps a really light touch and reduces the chance of mixing a bunch or stirred up muddy passages.  Skip over the paper.

With a small angular palette knife I applied the details of lights and texture, this final pieces need to be kept to a minimum and are really varied in quantity, angle, and spacing.  All rules of design apply here.  I hope you get something out of this demonstration, it makes me nervous to put it up when I am just learning but that might be the best way.  You will learn more.

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  • Laurie GoldAugust 5, 2013 - 11:12 pm

    can I just say u r amazingly talented?ReplyCancel

    • SteveAugust 6, 2013 - 7:21 pm

      I am happy that you say that although it is not always the case, sometimes I just get lucky by painting so much. I am so happy that you are still watching me paint. It has been many years since you were in my class I hope your world is wonderfulReplyCancel