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Oil Paent g
The Art of

The Art of





2003 , 2011 Walter Foster Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved .

Artwork on front cover and pages 1,3 ,4, and 16- 29 2003, 2011
Robert Moore. Artwork on pages 30-37 2003, 2011 Jo hn Loughlin .
Artwork on title page and pages 38-45 2003 , 2011 Michael
Obermeyer. Artwork on back cover and pages 46-59 2003, 2011
AniLa HamplOn. Anwork on hal f-L iLle page a nd pages 60-67
2003 , 2011 William Schneider. Artwork on pages 68-93 2003 , 2011
Tom Swimm. rLwork on Lable of conlents and pages 94-103
2003, 2011 Caroline Zim merm ann. Anwork on pages 104-111
2003 , 2011 Kevin Short.
DigiLal edilion : 978- l -61059-818-7
ofteover edition: 978-1-56010-751 -4
This book has been produeedLO aid Lhe aspiring art is t.
Reproduclion of the work for study or finish ed art is
permissible. Any art produced or photomechanically
reprodu ced from this publi cation for com mercial pur pose i
forbidden without written con sent from the publisher , Walter
FOS le r Publishing, Inc.


Tools and Mmerials

Color Theory
Drawing Techniqucs
Painting Techniques


Mission.Style Villa
The Dulcimer Player
Carmel Sidewalk
Hawaiian Harbor
Naulkal Still Life





Creating Lively Florals

Re nde ring Seasonal Trees
CaplUring Water with BrushSlrokes
Understanding light
Conveying Mood with Color
Focusing on Faces

Tropical l'alm
Rustic SlilIUfe
Martini SlillUfc





Boulders in Snow
Birch Trees
New Engl:md B;IY



Fall Landscape
Desert Casita

Spri ng bndscape
CaMomia Coast
Ponr,.it of a C hild
Hendry Beach







Chicago Streci Scene

McPherson's Pond









Europc:m Street Scene

Nighllimc Caft
Ponon no Ha rbor
Sun llt Palh
Roc ky Shoreli ne








Sunset Beach
California Coast



What 15 Plei n Air P:lillli ng?

Plein Air Suppli(s
Cloudy Skies
W,u cr and Rocks
COllage and Garden
Beach al Dusk
Foggy Harbor
Eucalyptus Trees

Knife Paiming Tools

Mountain bke
Forest Glade

11 7
ll 8

F. POWELl.,.,. 128

INDE X , . " . , , ,.,





The rich, ver atil e art or oil painting ha captivated artists for centu ries and continues to be a favorite artistic medium. O il is a very
adaptable medium that lend it elf to many painting tyle - from
the precision of pho toreal ism to the freedom or expressionism. The
projects in this book are a collection o( lessons from some of the finest and most popular oil painting books publ ished by Walter FOSle r
Publishing. Each artist shares personal techn iques and insights for
mastering the medium. And because all these fine artists have developed their own special approach to painting, there are countless
lessons to be learned from their individual and distinct perspectives.
Learn [rom these artists' wide range of experiences and styles as you
fo llow them through a diverse presentati.on of subject matter and
instluction. Above all , have fun painting in oil!



hnc an: so mall\' items to (hoose
frum in an supply SlOres, 1\'5 casy 10
gel carried away and W;ln\ 10 bring home
one of everything! However YOll only
need a few materials to gel staned. A good
rule of thumb is 10 always buy Ihe best
products you can afford. And think of
your purchase as an invcstment-if ),ou

take good care of your brushes, painlS,

and raICHe, they can lasl a long lime, and
your paintings will stay vihrant for gennatio ns. The basic items you'll need He
de.<;crihed here, hUI for more information,
you ca n Tern 10 Oil Painting MlIIcrials (Iud
Their Uses by William F, Powell in Walte r
Foster's Artist's Library series.

There arc several different grades of paiot

available, induding students' grade and
artists' grade. Even though artists' grade
paints arc a lillie more expensive, they
eomain beller-quality pigmell1 and fewel'
:ldditives. T he colors arc more imense and
will Slay true longer.

Selectln, Support.
The surface on whic h you paint is (ailed the
"suppartM -generally canvas or wood. You can
stretch canvas yourself. but it's simpter to pur
chase prestretched, preprimed canvas (5tapled
\0 a frame) or canvas board (canvas glued \0
ta rd board). tf you thoose to wo,k with wood
or any other porous material. you must apply a
primer fir5t to seal the surfate so the oil paints
will adhere to the support (instead of soaking


Oil painting brushes vary greatly in size, shape, and texture. There is no uni\"cT5:l1
standard fo r brush sizes, so they vary slightly among manufaelUrers. Some brushes
are sized by num b!. and others are siled by inches or fractions of inches. JUSt get
the brushes IhHtllre lIppropri~ue for Ihe size of your painlings Hnd lire comforwb1c
for you to work with. The six hrushes pictured below arc a good starting set; )ou
can always add to your collection later. Brushes arc also catcgorized by the mau'rial of their bristles; keep in mind lhat natural-hair brushes arc best for oil painting.
Cleaning and caring for yo ur brushes is esscntial- always rinse them Ollt well with
turpentinc a nd Store them bristle sidc up or fiat (nevcr bristle sidc down).

Fan Brushes can be useful for treating foliage

and texture 0' for gtaztng with thin paint.

Basic Palette

Lrm(ln ydiow

rrd li!;hr

)".110 ... Ii):",

F"t Brushes can be used (0 create soft. blend

ed strokes 01 can be turned sideways to make
thin lines.

Ali2"fln {"n,SOn

TUQI,iuon "hilt

Virramannt blut

Small Soh-hair ROllnd Brushes tome 10 a fine

point, making (hem ideal tools for rendering
smaller areas and detailS.

11umr umber

Crrult"" blut


I "-.I

Medium Round Brlslle Brushes are ideal for

dabbing in thick p aint or (reating thin, wavy


The nine colors shown above are a good

basi<: pakue (including a warm and (Qol
version of each of the primary colors).
Each artist featured in this book has some
uniqw.: colors in his or her palelle, so
these lessons will give you an opportunity to try OUI some other (Qlors. Keep in
mind thaI t here is always more than one
way to mix a color---once you understand
the basics of color theory, you can get a
better feel for the art of mixing color. ( For
more 011 color, please see pages 8-9.)


Medium Brisht Brushes are fiat with shorter
bristles and are perfect for scrubbing in foliage
or ueating texture.

Bristle-hair Filberts can hold a considerable

amount of paint and are generally used for
blocking and painting in larger a,eas.


Mediums and thinners are used to modify

the consistency of yo u r pain l. Many different types o f oil paintin g mediu ms are
ava ilable-some Lh in oul the pa in l (l inseed oil) and OLher peed dryi ng Li me
(co pal). Sli ll olhe rs aller the fi nish or lexLU re o f the pa int. Some artislS mix a s mall
quantity of lurpentine with their medium
LO th in the pain l. You'll wan tLO purchase
some type of oil medium , sin ce you'll
need somelhing lO moisle n the pai nl
when it gels d ry and sti ff and to thin it for
glazing and underpaintings. Turpen ti ne or
mineral spiri lS can be used LO cl ea n )'ou r
br ushes and for initial washes or underpain li ng, bU Lyo u won'l wa nL to us' Lhem
as mediums. They break down [he paint,
whereas Lhe oil med iums you add actually
help preser ve the pain t.

Adding Mediums
In ad dition to the medium or thinner
you choose, be sure to purchase a
glass or metal cup to hold the additive. Some contai ners have a clip built
into the bottom that attaches easily to
your mix ing palette.

Setting up a Work Station

How you set up your workspace will depend on whethe r you
are right- or left-ha nded. It's a good idea to keep your supplies
in the same place, so that each t ime you sit down to paint, you
don't have t o waste time searching fo r anyth ing. If natural light
is unavailable, ma ke sure you have sufficient artificial lighting,
and above all else, make sure you're comfortab le!


Wh aLever L)'Pe of mixing palene you

choose-glass , wood , plastic, or papermake sure il'S easy LO clean and large
enough for mixing your colors. Glass is
a great su rfa ce fo r mi xing pain lS and is
very durable. Palette paper is disposable,
so clea nup is simple , and you can always
purcha e an airLighl plasL ic box (or paint
seal) to keep yo ur leftove r paint fresh
between paintin g sessions.

Finishing Up
Varnishes are used to protect your
pa inting-sprayon varnish lemporari
Iy sets the paint, and brush-on varnish
will permanently protect your work.
See the manufactu rer's insl ructions
for app licalion guidelines.

Cleaning Brushes
Pu rchasing a jar that contai ns a screen or coi I ca n save some time and mess.
As you rub the brush against the coil, it loosens the paint from the bristles
and separates the sediment from the solvent. Once the paint has been
remove d, you can use brush soap an d warm (never hot) water to remove any
resi d ual paint. Then reshape the bristles of the brush with your fingers and
lay it out to dry.


Paper towels or lin t-free rag are inval uable ; yo u will use them lO clean your tools
and brushes , and they can a lso be used as
pain ting loo ls LO scrub in washes or soften
edges. Some type of paint box is also useful LO hold a\l yo ur materials, and you
may wa nt charc oal or a pencil or sketching. In audition to Lhe ba it: lools, yo u
may also want lO acqUire a silk sea sponge
and an old LOo lhb rush La render special
effecls. ven th ough you may not use
Lhese additional ilems for every oil painting yo u work on, il' a good idea to keep
them on hand in case you need them.

Selecting an Easel

Using Painting and Palette Knives

The easel you choose

will depend on where
you plan to paint. You
can pu rchase a studio
or ta bletop easel for
painting indoors, or
you can buy a portable
easel if you are goi ng
to pai nt outdoors.

Palette knives can be used either

to mix paint 0 n your palette or as a
tool for applying paint to you r sup
po rt. Painling kn ives usually have a
smaller, diamond-shaped head, while
palette (mixi ng) kn ives usually have
a longer, more rectangular blade.
Some knives have raised handles,
which help you avo id getting wet
paint on your hand as you work.

CheckUst of Basics
At right is a list of the materials you'll need to
purchase to get started painting in oils. (For
specifics, refer to the suggested brushes and
colo rs on page 6.)

Thinner (mineral spir its or turpenti ne)


6 brushes and palette kni fe

Containers for thi nne r and medium


Med ium (copal or linseed oil)

Pal ette and palette paper

Paper towe ls

9 basic oil colors

color wheel can !>t- a handy visual rcfcn:ncc for mixing wlors. AlIlhc colors o n lhe colo r whed arc (lc rivcu from lhe
three primm)' colors (yelluw, red, and bl ue). The saom/ur)' wloTs
(purple, green, and orange) are each a combination of two primaries, and Icrlill'Y colors arc mix[ures of a primal)' and a secondary
(red-orange. yellow-orange, ye llow-green. blue-green, blue-pu'lJle,
and rcd-purple). Complflllfll/CUY ('olors arc any two wlars directly
across from cach Olh er on lh e (olo r wheel, and (In(l/ogous colors
arc an)' three colors adjal:cnt on the color wheeL When diswssing color theoT)" lhere arc sc"crallcrms that arc hclpfullU know.
Hue refers to the color iLSelf, such as red or yellow-green; [meUS!ly
rdeTS to Iht sirength of a color, from its purc Sl:ltc (right OUI of
the tuhe) 10 one Ih:ll is grayed or diluted: and value refers (0 the
relalivc light ness or darkncss of a tolor or of bl:lck.

(Added White)


rrd IIghl



Color Wheel

Knowing the fundamentals of how colors relate 10 and interact with one
another will help you create feeling-as well as inlerest and unity - in your
oi l paintings. You can mix just about every color from the three primaries,
But all primaries are not created alike, SII you'U eventuaUy want to have at
least two versillns of each primary, one warm (containing more red) and one
cool (containing more blue). These two primary sets will give you a wide
range 01 secondary mixes.


Cad"'ium rrd IIghl

Alizarin crim5011

The v:lriat ions in value throughout a painting are the key to creating thc illusion of depth :lml form . On thc color wheel, yellow
has the lightest value and purple has the darkest v:llue. You can
change the value of any color by adding white or black (sec the
chart at left). t\dd ing white 10 a pure color results in a lighter
value [inl of that color, adding black results in a darker value
shade, and :ldding gray results in a wile. (A painting done with
tilliS, shades, and tones of only one color is called a IIlOllochro
malic p:linting.) In :l painting. tht vcry lightt'st \'alues arc the
highlighls and the very darkest values arc the shadows.

Bumt umMr

Tints and Sh ades

The chart above shows varying tints and shades of different colors, The
pure color is in the middle of each e~ample; the tints are to the left, and the
shades are to the right.

As st:lted above, complements arc any two colors directly opposite each other on the color wheel. such as red and green. yellow
and purple. or blue :lnd or:lnge. \Vhen placed next to e:lch Olhcr.
complemcnt.1Ty colors create visual interest, but when mixed,
the}' neutr,llize (o r "gray") one :lnother. For example. to neutralize a bright red, mix in a touch of its complement: green. By mixing varying amounlS of each color. you ('an create a wide range of
neutral grays and browns. (In painting, mixing neulrals is prefer.
able to usin g them straight from a tube; neutral mixtures proVide
fresher, realistic colors that aTe mOTe like those found in n:ltUTe.)



Colors on the red side of the color wheel are considered to be

uwarm ." while colors on the blue side of the wheel are thought
of as ucool. " 'Warm colors can convey energy and excitement.
whe reas cool colors can cvoke a calm. peaceful mood . Within all
famili es of color, there are both warm and cool hue. For example. a cool red (s uc h as alizarin crimson) contains more bluc, and
a warm red (such as cadmium red) contains more yellow. Keep
in mind lhat cool colors tend to recede, while wanner colors
appear to pop" forward . This is es pec ially relevant for pa inting
landscapes, as you can use the contrast between warm and cool
colors to he lp ponray a sense of distance in a scene.

Successfully mixing colors is a learned skill , and , like anything

else, the more yo u practice, the better you will become. One of
the most important things is to train yom eye to really see the
shapes of co lor in an objeCl-the varying hucs, values, Lint ,
ton es, and hade of the ubjecl. Once you can ee them , you can
practice mixing them. If you're a beginner , you might want to go
outside and practice mixing some of the colors you see in nature
at dilTerem times of day. otice how the colors of things seem to
change as the light changes; the abi li ty to discern th e variat ions
in color under different li ghting conditions is one of th e keys to
success ful color m ixing.




































































J. J.. . '"






Caamiu", yello\\' lighl

red ligllt

Alizarin Cl'i lll on


Ullmmarinf blile



Using a Limited Palette

You don't need to purchase dozens of tubes of paint to be able to mix a vast array of hues. Instead you can use a li mited number of pai nts and
mix the other colors you need. The chart above shows j ust some of the col ors that can be ma de us ing the nine colors found in the basic palette
listed on page 6. You may want to create your own chart using the colors from your palette; this is an excellent exercise in learning to mix color.

rawing is ,m an in itself. It is also aver)' importanl pan of
pll inting---cvc n ui l painting. Yuu' ll often need a light guideline of Ihc shape and form of thc subject 10 SIan an o rganized
o il painting. (An unorganized form of palming would be the
free flow of color in nOlln::prcscnt:nional masses.) Your drawings
don't need !O be lighl and precise as far as geometric perspective
goes. but they sho uld be within the boundaries of these rules for
a rcalislk portrayal of the s ubject.

!'ractice is the o nl y way to improve yo ur drawing and to polish

your hand-eye relationships. !l's a good ide;! to s ketch el'eryt hin g
you see and kecp all yom draw ings in a s kw: h book so you ( an
see the impro\'e m e n l.
[n oil painting, there arc sel'e ral approaches to sketc hin g. Some
artists use cha rcoal to s ketch d irectly o n the can vas. some
" dnl\l'~

their composition o n Ih e support w ith a brush and pa int.

and OI hers transfer th eir s ketch

Drawing is a(wally simpk; jusl sketch thl' shapes and tht; masses
rU li sec. Sketch loosely and freely-if you disco,'cr something
wrong with the shapes, yo u can refe r to thc rules of perspective
to ma ke corn.:clions.



c an l'as using transfer paper or

a projcClor.
Fo llOWi n g arc a few exercises 10 introduce the basic elements of
drawing in perspel:tiy e. Begin with the one-point exercise.


In one-point perspective, the face of a box is the closest part

In two-point perspectiyc, th e corne r of the box is closcst to

to the viewer, and it is parallel to the horizon line (eye level).

the viewer, and two VI's arc needed. Nothing is parallel to

Th e bo tt om, top, and sides o f the face arc parallel to the pic-

the horizon li ne in Ihis vicw. The vertkal lin cs are parallel to

ture plane.

the sides o f the picillre plane.

A. Draw a horizontal line and label it

~eye level" or "horizon line:' Draw a
box be low this line.


A. Establish the horizon li ne (see "One'

Point f'erspective" at left), ilnd then
place a dot at each end and label
them VP. Draw a vertical line that
represents the {Orner of the box
du~~~llu Ih~ vi~w~r.


B. Now draw a light guideline from the

top right torner to a spot on the hori
Ion line. Plate a dot there and label
it VP (vanishing point). All s ide lines
will go to the sa me VP.

B. Draw guidelines to each VP from
the top and th e bottom of the verti
cal line. Qraw two more vertical tines
fo r the bac k of the sides.



Ne~t, draw a line from the other tOrner as shown; then draw a horizon tal
lin e to esta blish the batk of the bo~.




D. Finally darken all lines as shown,

and you will have drawn a perfect
box in one poi nt perSpective. This
bo~ may betome a book, a thest. a
building, ett.

A. Qraw a bo~ in twopolnt perspective

C. Draw two lines to the VPs. as



shown, to establish the top of the

box. Now darken all the lines and
you will have drawn a perfe(\ box in
twopo int perspective.

B. find the center of the face bV drawing diagonal

tines f,om corne r to corner; then draw iI vert ical
line upwa rd through the center. Make a dllt for
the roof height.

C. Using the vanishing point, draw a line for the

angle of the roof ridge; then draw the back of the
roof. The angled roo f lines will meet at a third VP
somewhere in the sky.



There are four basic shapes you should know: the cube , the
cone, the cylinder, and the sphere. Each of these shapes can be
an excellen t gu ide for begi nn ing a co mplex d rawi ng or painting.
Below are some exam ples of these shapes in simple use.

To create the illusion of depth when the shapes are viewed

straight on , shading must be added. Shading creates differe nt
value and give the iIlu ion of depth and form. The examples below show a cylinder, a cone, and a sphere in bo th the
line tage and with hading for depth .





n ellipse is a ci rcle viewecl at an angle.

Look ing across the face of a circle, it is
foreshortened, and we see an ellipse.
The axis of the ell ipse is conStan t, and
it is represented as a straight centerline
thro ugh the longest pa n of the ellipse.
The height is constant ro the heigh t
of the circle. Here is the sequence we
might see in a spin ning coin.

ocrmo ~

To VP. _

. -----~C~~
Notice the use of eyelevel VPs to
establish planes for the ellipses.



As defined in Webster's dictio nary, to fores honen is " to represent the lincs (o f an objec t) as shoner tha n they ac tually
are in orde r to give the illu ion of proper relati ve size, in
accordance with the principles of perspective." Here are a few
examples of foreshorten ing to practice.

When there is only one light source (suc h as the su n) , a ll shadows in the pictu re are cast by tha t single ource. All shadow
read fro m the same vanishing point. T his point is placed directly
under the ligh t so urce, whether on the horizon line or more forward in the picture. The shadows follow the plane on whic h the
object is silti ng. hadows also follow the comou r of the plane on
which they are cast.
UgI" so~"ce

... idtlt

Light rays travel in straight lines. Whe n they

strike an oiljert, the oilject illoc ks the rays from
continuing and creates a shadow relating to
the shape of the block ing otJject. Here is a
simple examp le of the way to plot the cor
rect shape and length of a shadow for
the shape and the height of the light.

Shadow lIP
VP ~--_ _ _ _ _ _-,'C-_+-_+-_~t-

_____ --,V.p

t7~J FomilOr/rllea ,'iew

I f the light is ra ised, lowered, or moves to the side,

the shape of the shadow
woul d change accordingly.

OU (:In paint wiLh a variety of lOols and tcdmiqul's. and there
arc many difkrcnt ways to approach a blank suppor t. Some
artists begin by lOlling the support, or covering il with a thin
wash of color. This underpainting provides a base to build colors
on, and it is sometimes even allowed to show through in places
in Ihe final painting. Using a loned support can help you avoid
ending up wilh "holes" in the nOli! pieu: thaI somehow didn't
gel paillLed . Generally a lOlled background is a fairl y neutral
color; warm colors wor k well for carth-toned subjects. and blue




To create thick texture, load the edse 01 a painting

Mpull w off the knife. You can also use this effect to
blend wh)rs directly on your support.

To punctuate highlights or add texture, apply very

thick layers of paint to the suppon (called Mimpas_
toj. This te~turizing technique creates th ick ridges
of paint; Ihe dramatic brushstrokes are not blended
together but remain visib le.

Swmbling is an exceUent technique for rendering

mist or haze to help CGnvey distance in a I<lndsc.ape.
Wilh a dry brush, lightly apply semi-opaque tolor
over dry paint, aUowing the underlying colors to
show through.



for realistic rocks or mountains, use a palette knife

to lightly smear layers of color over another color or
directly onto the support. Your strokes should blend
the wlo'5 stightly. but overwolking the area will
ruin the texture.

To effectively render rough te~tu res such as bark,

use a palette knife and quick, venital strokes to
scratch off color. Use the side of the knife, leaving
grooves and indentat ions of variGUS shapes and
revealing the underlying color.


Stilmp iInd Llh


Rocks and mountains have jagged, jutting planes

and edges. By making angutar strokes that follow
th e direction of the different planes, you can create
realistic rocky te~tures. Use a bristle brush Of pat
ette knife for best reSults.

This is a quick and easy way to create background

foliage_ Using a round bristle brush IGaded with
pain t, push the brush onto the canvas, and then pull
it away to stamp a bush. Stroke up wilh the brush as
you lift to create tall gr<lsses.

Dragging is perfect for rendering sunlight glistening

on the water; pull the brush lightly across the can
vas 10 leave patterns of broken color over another
color. Use a "hit and miss~ technique so that the
highlights appea r to "dance Macross the water.

knife with color and place the side of the blade on

the support. Then draw il down, letting the paint


or :mother cool hue suits 1110st other subjects. Anothe r approach

10 oil painting is 10 build up grad ual layers of pain! by applying
successive glazes (very thin mixtun.:s of diluted pigmenl). The
paint is thinned with medium and then applied with a soft brush
owr an area that's alread y dry. Other artists prefer to apply thic k
ap plications of paint directly to the support, sOinetillles blending
and reworking the painting liS they go. No matter how yo u bl'gin,
it's the finlll application of the color that will delermine the feel
of your painting.

To achieY(! a SGft, gradual blend, Iry dabbi ng tolor

onto the suppon. Using vertical tapping strokes wilh
a brush or your fi nger. apply Gr gently blend Ihe
color. You dGn'1 need 10 apply very much pressure;
the lighter your louch is, Ihe sorter the blend will be.


The energy of your slrokes williranslate

dirn:t1y 10 your painti ng. The way you
hold your 1001. how much paint you load
on iI. Ihe di rection you tu rn iI. and Ihe
way you manipulate it will all determine
the effed of your stroke. ror example.
yOIl may use thick paint and broad. angular slashes to re nder the sharp edges of a
cliff, or you lIIay create soft. light, dabbing
slrokes with Ihin painl to create foliage.
The Iype of brush you usc also has an
effect; bristle brushes are sliff and generally hold a generous amount of paint.
BriSlle brushes arc excel len I for covering
large areas or for scrubbing in underpaintings. Soft-hair brushcs (such as sables) arc
well suited to soft blends and glazes, and
they can also be llsed to create fine lines
and intricale details. The more yo u work
with your too ls. Ihe more fami liar you will
becollle with Ihe effects you can achieve
with them. The examples he re illustrate
some of the le(hniqucs you (an usc 10
re nde r realistic lextures and suhjeets with
oil paint.



A sponge is a simple texturizing tool. You can use a

natural silk sea sponge (readily available at most ilrt
and (faft stores) or even a piece of a clean kilChen
s~nge. Here differen t colors are sponged on in layers. creating the appea rance and texture of stone.

Spattered paint produces tiny dots that can provide

a realistic appearance for rocks or sa nd. To spatter.
load a brush with paint and tap your fi nger against
the handle to let the color loose. (You can also use
an old tooth brush to creale the same effed.)



Alt hough a brush is a Sianci.-lrd tool fo r

lIrtiSIs. Ih(Te lire many Olher 1001s you (lin
use 10 creale special effects in oil painting.
A palcue knife. a mg. a sponge. ;lnd even
your fi nge r (:111 be used 10 (Teale texture
and highlights in a painting. Spccial tec hniqucs in oil Ciln help YOll ;lccom plish a
variety of exciting variations with your
paints, including realistic textures for
rocks and sand, complex pa!!crns for
starry skies o r tangled foli age. and even
n;l1ural-looking objecls like clouds and
trees. Experiment wit h them all to discover Ihe ma ny ways in whic h ~'o u um
enhance your pailllings.



For reflections or highl ights, use a st iff bristle brush

and hold it very straight, bristle side down. Then
dab on the color quickly, crea ting a series of small

Use the ti p of a pa lette knife to su ap.? color away.

This can create an interesting texture or represent

W1pa Away

Soft Blend

To create subtle highlights. wipe paint air the sup

port with a paper towe l or blot it with tissue or
newspaper. To wipe off paint to lighten the color or
to ~erase- miSlakes, use a rag moiSlened with thin
ner or solvent.

for a soft blend, lay in the base colo~ , and lightly

stroke the brush back and forth to pull the colors
together . Make sure that you don't overwork the
area ; overblend ing can muddy up the color and
erase the contrasts in value.

BI, ndlrtC Lall' Ar"'

A hake brush is handy for blending large areas, such as backgrounds and skies. While the area you want to blend is still
wet. use a dean, dry hake to lightly stroke back and forth over the color for a smooth, even blend. These 50ft brushes
often leave stray hairs on your canvas. so be sure to remove them before the paint dries. And never dean your hake in
thinner until you're sure you' re done blending for the rest of the painting session; these brushes take a long time to dry.





This woodgrain effect was created with a drybrush
tech nique. load a dry brush with thick paint (no
paint thinner) and lightly drag it across the canvas
to create broken, textured strokes.

Dark over Light

This example and the one at right show the same
colors on different backgrounds. Colors appear
darker on the light background because there is
more contrast.

Light over Dark

Here the same colors used on the left are painted
on a darker background. Notice that these colors
appear lighter than those in the previous example.

Thick Paint
To make this loose blend, load the paint onto the
brush and apply it fairly thickly, continuously chang
ing color mixtures and stroke directions.

Sawtooth Blend-Step One

For a smooth, even blend, pai nt two colors next to
each other; then use a flat brush to pull the two
color together in a zigzag motion.

Sawtooth Blend-Step Two

After maki ng the sawtooth pattern, move the brush
horizontally back and forth to blend the colors even
Iy. Use t his blending technique for large areas.




To create the appearance of bushes and foliage,

load a flat brush with paint and gently push it
repeatedly in an upward motion. Paint the darke r
values first; then add the lighter colors.

Puddles in a road or pathway are excellent land

scape el ements. Use the warm high lights on the
sand to contrast with the cool tones in the wate r.

To pai nt realistic cloud forms, allow some of the

bac kground sky color to mix into the shadow areas
to create depth.




To paint this ro ck formation, use a dark brown to lay

in the overall masses. Mix white, yellow, an d crim
son to create the rough texture and add high lights.

To imitate bark texture, paint the t ree trunk with

dark brown . The n use white, yellow, and crim son in
short, vertical strokes to add the ill usion of dappled

The point of a round brush can be used to draw

details such as leaves, branches, and grasses. For a
bushy texture, lay the brush on its sid e, and use a
stamping motion.



You can create the

illusion of atmosphere
and depth by add ing
sky co lo r into the green
values of the distant
trees. Use loose, softened brush strokes
to paint them. For the
foreground trees, apply
darker mixtures, esta b
lishing the general
forms first. Then paint
details over them,
simulating leaf and foliage shapes.

Th is is an example of
glazing. or stroking
ove r a dry layer of paint
with a thinner layer to
bu ild up color. Thin the
paint w ith med ium, and
d rag a soft brush lightly
ove r t he area.


The colorful paintings of Robert Moore clearly communicate hi

deep respect and apprecia tion for nature . A one-time aspiring lawyer, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Oregon
Slate College. His increa ing desi re to pursue fin e art broug ht him
a full cholar hip to the Art Center College of De ign in Pa adena,
California, where he majored in illustration and graduated with
honors. Much of his initial study included color theory classes that
transformed his color blindness into a positive and distinctive element in his work and teaching. Living along the Snake River in
Idaho with his wife and children, Robert is surrounded by the arne
scenic beauty that first captivated him as a child. Using vivid colors
and high-key values, he prefers to work on location to best capture
the immediate impression of each subject. Robert teaches workshops twice a year out of his studio/gallery in Declo , Idaho.

ost fo lks want to paint flowers
be 'aus' they're taken by the freshness and bti lliance of the colors. To capture th eir shon-l ived beau ty on canva
almost seems to defeat time. Oil paint is
an ideal medi um for creating flowers' colors, whether delicate or vibranl. It is also
excellent for depicting the varied textures
o f soft petals and crisp foliage. lysclf, l
like the compositional challenge o f painting bouquets and setting up imaginat ive
still Hfes.


A word of caution abol1l spending a lot

of time in the planning stage: Some ti mes
the best composiLions are the accidental
ones-coffee cups on the kitchen table
',vith a jar of posies. Don't strive for the
perfect setup or the pel-feet painting.
Even if you admi re the work of anothe r
anis t, you don't want to pa il1L exact copies. A pai nti ng is an expression o[ your
own individu ality, so paint [or yourself
and no t for the approval of others. Think
about what you are painti ng-the beauty
of the fl owers-and don't wony about
how the pai nting wil l turn o ul. It will be

just nne.

Whe n I am euing up a slilllife, I try not

to overcrowd tile flowers in the vase; I let
them d roop and sprawl. If the arrangement is tall , I'll pu t something at the sides
for ba lance (rruit , a dro pped blossom, or
favOlite crockery) so it's not too venical.
I move the vase around so my viewpoint
i interesting, not necessaril y rraight on,
bu t perhaps looking down or looking up
at the arrangemenl.

Adding Movement
I chose a view looking down al the setu p 5 0 there wo uld be plenty of movement (from the teapot up to the
bou quet and down agai n to the flowers on t he table). Note all the di fferent flower pOSiti ons; no two are
angled exactly the same .

Painting the " Puzzle Pieces" of Glass

A glass contai ner will distort the shapes of
objec ts behi nd it and in it. So don't think
of it as a glass vase with flower stems in
it. Instead think of it in te rms of shapes,
colors, values, and inte nsity. Look for t he
high lights and darks that give dues to the
shape- how the rim or the curved bowl
catches the light, or how the elliptical base
is a darker curve on one side. It's like a
jigsaw puzzle where the individual shapes
don't make sense until you cover the entire
area an d step bac k. Voila- glass!


Starting Lean
When I pal nted these
leaves, I started with
a "lean" layer of
relatively th in
paint to establish
a good base color.


Building up
I used my palette
knife to build up
"fat' color with
stro kes of very
thick paint, being
sure to leave
hard ridges at
the edges for extra

Once I have my nowers displayed to my liking, I look for patLerns , not individua l peLals. Otherwise, iL'S too easy Lo get bogged
down in Lhc deLails and 10 e the "whole piClUre." Fir LI roughly
paint in the omline of the entire shape of the anangement. Next
I block in th e basic circle or oval shapes of the blossoms. I usu'llly start wiLh la rge areas of thin color, gradually building up thicker color and finer details. This process
called painting "fat over lean " (see he captions fo r the leaves on the opposite page).
Anothe r technique, callcd "i mpa LO " ( ce
page 12), can also be used to add ridges
lO lhe edge of a pClal or leaf. J don't work
thickly right away, tho ugh, because thick
paint takes a long time lO dry.

Noting the Negative Spaces

When painting pa le flowers, I find it helpfu l to
paint the dark shapes surrounding t hem. If I
accurately render the "negative" shapes, the
flowers seem to emerge-a positive resu tt!

Working Quickly
I pai nted t his alia
prima, or all in one
session, si nce fresh
pansies don't last long.
Painting this way gives
a fresh and spontane'
ous feel.


enjoy painting trees because there
are so many dirf' rent type and they
change dramatica lly wit h each season.
Experiment pain Ling a VarieL)' of Lree
shapes-spreadin g oaks, columnar poplars , conical firs, twis ted olives, and
fanlike p'llms. Choose one or several of
yo ur favorites and make them the focus
o f your painting. You will d iscover that

oils are the perfect medi lim for rendeling

trees because Ihe paint ca n be slippled
impressionistically to suggest dense foliage or layered thinly to leI cach successive color sh in e through.

Spring Palette

",/tite. alizarin

Middle value:
w/,ile alld aliZalili

(rhn501l, alld violel


Light values:
",hilc. violel , aJl(i
ali<(Jril. crimsou

Spring Cherry Orchard

Whe n I'm painting spring trees in bloom,
such as these cherry trees, my palette is
predominantly pink, with mixes of alizarin
crimson, violet, and white .

Summer Palette

Autumn Aspens
For the fall foli age here, I used mixes of burnt
sienna, cadmium yellow light, an d cadmi um yellow
med ium, with touches ofviolet.The warm colors are
dazzling, but I think that the peeling bark is just as
interesting. To paint the bark, I used a flat brush to
make short, horizo ntal strokes t hat fo llow the curve
ofthe trun k.

O"rk v,,'ues;
buml sielllw, cobalt blue,
vilidiOlI green, alld quinacrl
dOllc violel

Middle values:
yellow ochre, burlll sirlilla .
,.iridian green, and
cadmiulII )'elloll' lIle,UIIIII

Autumn Palette

Dar/, yaille :


pltls spedlS oj
(Iii ~al'in crhn5QII.
C{Jdmiullt u'OIlg ,
alld violel

Middle Willi es:


"llIs a pc II
oj l.ilGllitllll

pillS a sped/


oj yiolel

l..Igll! yalues;

yellow liglll and
yellow lIIedilllll

yellow light
Summer Cottonwoods
Th e huge canopies of these trees almost hide their trunks and branches! Summe r
leaves are painted w ith a lot of greens and blues, with yellow an d wh ite for high

light values:
cadmium yelloll" li~ht
plus w/lil, (/u<l


WInter Cotton Wood

The bra nches are not
just painted with boring
browns straight from
th e tube . To make them
look reali sti c, I added
ultrama ri ne blue for t he
sh adows and yellow
oc hre for the highlights.

Winter Palette

Ughl "nlun:

mi,IIII(."due ,,,I,,rs
pili' a ,p<'~ m",~

cadmium ""''''gf
and lif<lni u,n "'hilt

Middle mllU'$.
bum! Sienna,
yell,,><, IXh,t. (1",1

cwlmillm ,,"(In);'



blum sienna
Wid i"ory black

.... inllnlSnow
Snow reHeets the (olor of its surroundings - so if it's a brigh t, sunny
day, as it was the day I painted the scene be low, I add yellow in the high
lighte d areas. t apply pale blue in the shallow indentations and a darker
blue gray in the dee pe r footprints. Since the snow surface is not Hal, t
vary the size, shap.e , and dire<tion of my strokes to emu late the drifts.

Deciduous trees arc wonderful subjects to paint thro ughout the

year. The ( hangi ng of (OIOTS in the fa ll and starkl), sil ho uellecl
branches in wi nter are obViously striking. Floweri ng trees in
spring and fru it-heavy trees at harves t time plll on an equ~l1 y
nash)' show. There arc subtler changes 100 in how the pale yellow-greens of spring deepen 10 the bluegreens of summer.

To pai nt realistic trees wi thotll painting every lear. I fi rst look fo r

the individual diffeTt:nces, and then 1 take OUI any ext raneous cle
ments. The main things 10 look for arc the tree's size, the shape
of its silhouelle, its w lor, and its leaf densit y. Also notice how
Inost trun ks are not uniformly straight and how branches droop
or bend , Observc how some edgcs arc soft ;lI1d blurred. while
OIhers are crisp and detailed. Too many hard edges will outline
the Lree and make it look flat. (Blending we t paint into a wet
backgrou nd is one sure wa y to soflen your edges!) If you observe
closely and follow the shape of tbe tree's canopy and the order of
its branches, r am sure tbat yo u will ha vc great SUC(CSS pai nting
convi ncing trees!

varied in mood and form, water can be both expressive and
imrigu ing-and oil painL is part icularly well- uiLed for capLuring its multiple persona lities. By varying the size and d irection of
m)' bru h Lroke and apply ing diffcrelll Lhickne es of paint, I can
convey many of the fasc inaling qualities of water. For example,
when I apply thick paint with de li berate, swirli ng strokes , I can
create the turbul ence of a fast-moving river; when I make short,
choppy strokes with a bListle brush, I can depict the anger of
a stormy sea; or when I smooth ly blend with a so ft-ha ired nat
brush, I can mirror the serenity of an alpine lake.


Water rel1ects the co lors and images of the clouds, sky, and surrounding landscape. There arc also waves, shadows, and the
colors of the water itself to contend with. My advice for painting
water is to edit and simplify it; don't attempt to faithfully render
every ripple. Another tip is LO paim with a larger brush than you
would usually use, because it will force you to paint in a very
loose, interpreti e way-just what is needed to capture the freedom and movement of water.

Painting Reflections
Moving water reflects; it does not mirror precisely. When I painted the reflec
tions and sha dows of the waterlilies, I did not exactly match the colors and
shapes of t he actual plants. Instead I painted the reflections with blu rred edges
and darker co lors.

Painting Sun on Water

Using both brush and palelle knife fo r
this sample, I've portrayed ripp li ng
water using brisk strokes of w hite,
ca dmium yellow light and medium,
and ultramarine blue "grayed" with
cadmium red medium and cadmium
yellow med ium.

Creating Depth
I was fortunate the day I painted this ocean scene. A mist shrouded the deta ils and left the trees and rocky coastline outlined -nature had simplified the shapes for me. I avoided overblending the blue and white of the water close to shore, so
that the ridges of paint would appear to be waves.


Oil paint dries slowly, a q uality I ofte n lry to use to my adva ntage when painting waterscapes. I can "push" the paint aro un d ,
ligh tl blend ing together adjacen l wet <.:Olo rs. Thi work e pecially well when depicting wave ac tion in the distance, where the
co lo rs are mu ted and the wa ter is smoot her. I blend the pain t

less in the foreground because 1 want the colors and b rushstrokes to remain clear and vibrant. Of course , when moving
pa in t arou nd, lhere i also th e risk of churn ing up the underlying colors, whic h is somet hing to be avo ided as it makes for
muddy colors.

Still Water
I wanted th e
cloud re flectio ns
in the la ke to be
Ihe focal poi nt of
my painti ng, so I
framed the m with
the curve of the
shoreline and the
foliage in the fore
ground. The viewer
sees more of the
dark undersides
of the clouds and
only a glim pse of
the light tops in
the water reflecli on. Th e water
appears t o be still
and glassy, in
part beca use the
refl ectio ns of the
sky an d trees are
u ndistort ed.

Discovering the Colors of Water

We most often think of water as blue, but it can
also be turquoise, brown, green, gray, or gold.
Color comes not only from refl ections but also
from objects and particulates in the water itself.
The mou ntain stream in the paint ing below is
redd ish-brown from decayi ng leaves. It also
reflects the go lds of the surrounding Irees and
reveals the browns of the roc ky riverbed. For the
shadows, I used a mixtu re of burnt sienna, viridian green, cobalt blue, and violet. I mixed yellow
ochre , burnt sienna. viridian green, and cobalt
blue for the green reflections in the water, and
I used a combination of yellow ochre, burnt
sienna, cadmium orange, and white for the
reflectio ns of the trees.


Three-quarter Lighting

I is the impression of light Ihal brings life 10 an oil

painting. So often I find lh~1\ it's nOI Wh ll\ I paint
that grabs my allcntion bUI how Ihe light falls on that
object. I don't need 10 pack up and move \0 the south
of France to be enraptured by light. E\'CIl ordinal),
objccLS arc transformed , A slack of hay bales in Ihe
slanting afternoon light is suddenly a thing of beautyI am seeing the world with ~ ncw " eyes.

This wall of hay bales has all the

solidity of a building. The strong
angled lighting illuminates one plane
of the hay ~wall,H leaving the front
in shadow, and creating a sense of
dimension. As you (3n see in the
sketch at right, the light source is to
the .ight, so that's where I place the
highlights on the hay
and snowdrifts.



The direction and intensity of light innucnccs how

the form is seen and how we perceive the mood of a
Sl:cnc . When light is hilting the subject head-on, there
arc minimal shadows and colors take on a special
Vibrancy. Light coming from behind the subject tends
\0 nallen forms into silhoueucs and 10 illuminate their
edges. gh'ing a halo effec!. Three-quarter and side
lighting (reate strong shadows and bright highlights;
contrasts are inlense , and perspective is accentuated,
making rorms look vcry thrt:e-dimensional. I like the
cOlllroi l get when using a spotlight indoors; but nothing can compete with the splendor or sunrise, sunset,
and the cfkcts of nalUrallight Oll tdoors!

Back U.htln.
Because you can't see the strong highlights when the subject is backlit, it's
SQmet imes difficult to tell just whe.e the light sou.ce is, The sketCh at .ight shows
that the light is coming in from the window behind the noral still life. can you
see the subtle -halo" effect around the flowe.s? I especially like the way the
back lighting casts shadows across the foregrou nd. giving this arrangement stat
ure and drama.

Li ght

so urte


Ligh! can be focused and

intense or diffused and soft.
It can also bounce, and when
iI d ocs, it cn~ates wonderfully
luminous reflectio ns. Reflected
light can come from lhe sky
or fmm a nearhy light-colored
object. T he lighter in color and
shinier an object is, the more
light it will throw. Rdlected
light is a vcry important factor;
when recorded in an oil painting. it enhances the overall
atmosphere and form of the
subjec t dram:lticall)'.

Side Ul hllnl
The strong side lighting, illustrated in
the drawing below. reaches into the
Shadows and allows me to Show the
colors of refletted light as it strikes
the forms of the trees. The birch on
the far right reflects the cool blue of
the sky and the crooked trunk on the
left shows the refle<ted colors of sun
lit leaves. These subtle touches really
bring the subject to life.

Front Ughling
A direct f,ontallight source (see the
diagram below) illuminated the baby's
blanket and created lovely highlights
on the mothers face . bringing these
elements to the rorefronl. Front light
ing also eliminated virtually all <ast
shadows, which accentuated the col
Drs of the variouS fabrics and kept the
mood of this mother and child paint
ing light and tender.




olors lire oflcn thought of as happy (yellow) 01 sad (blue),
but the rc's mm;h murc to it than IhaL Have you evcr (orne
acruss a painting of ydlow sunflowers and, without thinking,
found you juSt had to smile? Or perhaps ~'OU in\'oluntaril~' shiv.
ered when looking at a l:mdscapc rendered in various shades of
blue. These aTC vcry real cXlIrnplcs of how color affecls us. In lhe
paintings on these two pages. I'l'e used color 10 convey panicular
muods. Look at cll(;h wor k [lnd think ~Ibuut how it makes you
feeL I'll hel it has something \0 do with lhe colors!



As mentioned before (see page 9), colors are co nsidered to be

dlher warm or cuol. \Vann colors evoke excitement, passion.
or even danger; cool colurs arc calm and serene. So choose yOllr
colors to fit the mood you want to con\'cy. You would not want
to paint a sad subject in cheery colors, nor II lighthearted scene
in a somber palette. Feel free 10 change colors (0 fit the mood;
paint II brown (onage 11 bright red. for example. YOll can !llso
make your eolnrs less or rnnre vihrant: Mix some hlue inlo a hot
red and it will appear coolcr: or add yellow to grccn to givc it
warmth. Experiment and sec huw different colurs affect you.

Contrasting Colors
This landscape, with its icy, rutted road catching the colors of sunset, uses a com
plementary color scheme (see page 8) of yellow and purple. The yellow of the sun
provides the only bit of wannth in the chilly lavender expanse of the scene.

Warm Color Paldte

Here I've used warm colors almost Hclusively because the au tumn subject
matter called for them, and because the rich golds and russets make the cotton
woods Slow with excitement.

Cool Color Palette

With its predominately cool shades of purple and gray against a dark violet and
blue background, this stillli!e with flowers and tea service conveys a soothing,
peaceful feeling.


Painting with different values (lights, mediums, and darks)

01' only onc color is a wonderful exercise. I espccially enjoy
painting people this way. Although the eolor palette is \'ery
limited. a monochrom:llic painting still convcys a definitc
Illood: one with mainly low (dark) values creales a foreboding
or mystcriOllS effect, while onc with primarily high Oight) values is hriglll and hopeful. (See page 8 for more on value, tin ts.
a.nd sha.des.)

Establlshln s th e Form
To ueate a serious mood for my pain t
ing 01 a Civil War soldier, I chose a
monochromatic blue color scheme. I
~gan by outlining the general sha~s
and masses to help me place the light,
medium, and dark values.

BIM klnsin Values

Next I filled in the large masses with
di fferent values of ultramarine blue,
starting with the darks and working
towa rd t he lights. At this stage, the
face is nat and featureless. but it still
"reads" as a man with a cap .

Serlouslv Blue
I continued to use different vatues of
ultramarine blue to create depth and
add detailS. Hotice that the whites
of the soldier's eyes are not painted
white. They are shaded by the hat.
so pure white would be unnaturally
bright. The overall mood 01 this mono
chromatic portrait is somber-intentionally so .


've saved the best for last. The human face is a natural focus
for o il painting. with no two cX[lclly alike. And the spcdal
appeal of childrtn is univcrs..11-yoll had bctln catch them while
rO ll can; they grow up so fasl! Whether you choose 10 pain!
someone you know or a model, achieving a good "likcncss ~ is no
diffcrCIl1 than painting a land scape or a still life. Closely observe
the subject, get the proponions correct, and pay attention to the
shapcs. planes, ~md shadows. NOl hard atH]]!


In ponraiture, you want \0 capture the physical qualities , the

mood, and the personality of yo ur subject. To do so takes a lillie
forethough t, Do yOll want yo ur subjctl looking diTC!:lly at you?
liow much of the head and shoulders will you put in? And do
you want to include the hands as a balance to the bee? Think
about thc background. If you arc painting a portrait of your
grandmother and her fa\'orite 1"00111 is the kitchen , by all means,
pose heT the re.


Compared to the oval adu lt

face , a ch ild's round face
will have a larger forehead
(t he brow is at the halfwllY
mark ), wider-set eyes, a nd
a shorter nose.


Choosing the Pose

I painled this shy todd le r reaching for a flower as an informal portrait. I chose to
downplay her facial features and instead emphasized the pose-one that cap
tures the (uriosity of youth .
~kasllring from Ihe lOp
of the head 10 the ch in.
the eyes aTe at Ihe halfway
mark. Place the bottom of
the nose halfway hetween
the tytS and thc rhino


'-_ .L___ Chln

TelUns a Story
I like to paInt portraits that are a ~sli(e ollife~ - Ireezi ng the moment a nd the
movement midstride.1 used delicate (olors for the young girl's and baby's doth
ing to stress the ch ildren's youthfulness and innocence and to help keep the
overall mood of the painting light



F1nlshln, Tou ches

To finish,l appl ied
white for the high.
lights on the lore
head , cheekoone.
nose, and tower
lip. Limiting the
patene does not
limit the painting.
I find that monochromatic portraits
have great mood
and deplh and are
e~cellent study
pieces lor artists 01
all abilities.

Cenain prop.onions are useful to know

when painting faees _Generally. the
middle of the eyes are at the horizo ntal
halfway mark of an adult's head. The top
of the ears line up horizollIally with the
top of the eyes. a nd the ooltom of (he cars
line up with the hOllom of lhe nose. The
pupils of the eyes align vertically with the
corners of the mouth . BtIl everyone is differelll, so notice how the features of indi\'iduats depart from the norm. Remember
that patience and practice are the keys to
success in painting!


Palnlln& a face lit Monochrome

This is the best way to start pa inting portraits.
Without the need to mat(h skin tones. you can (On'
u'ntrate on t he essential proportions ofthe face.


The value scalc shows the diffe rent values of ult ramarine blue
I needed to mix and where I used them on the face. I find it
easier to mix a range of colors I think I'll need before I pain\.
That way t don'( bave to Stop painting and mix my paillls
e\'ery time I need a new tolar.

Findln, the Shape Throu,h Shadows

After roughing in lhe guidelines, I blocked in the
shadow planes of all the facial features.




John Loughlin, a New

ngland artist, lived in incoln, Rhode

Island , and was known [or his oil paintings, wa terco lor pain tings , drawings, and fine art prints. Specialized in capturing the
natural beauty o[ the

ew England countryside, John 's work is

included in many corporate and private collection throughout


ast Coast and naLiona ll y. John was a member of the Guild

of Boston Anists and a recipient of the Great Gatsby Memorial

Award from the Rockport An Association. He won numerous
other awards in regional and national exhibits , including a
Medal of Honor for oil painting and election into the American
Watercolor Society. John passed away in 2004.






I begin with a mj~tufe of Mars violet and black

Using a round brush and a thicker version o f the

undercolor mixture. I block in the basic shapes of
the rocks. Then I block in the dark woods, thor
oughly shading the entire area. I also indicate the
dark areas of the large tree on the right and some
shadows on the underside of t he rocks. Next I paint
the sky Iletween the trees with a mix of cerulean
blue and white. USing the same cerulean blue and
white mixture, I add a few small patches of snow in
the dark wooded area.

After painting in New England for many years, I've

thinned with turpentine to IDne the entire canvas.

making sute I achieve a balanced mid-value hue

overall. [Iflhe undercolor is too dark, subsequent

dark'lI3lue (olnrs won't appear dark enough in

contrast: if it is 100 light, subsequent light-value

applications won't read well.) Arter the wash is dry,

I skeldl the composition over it. I concentrate on
blocking in the areas with the ligh test highlights as
well as the darkest shadows.

Und ercolor
6lack. Ma~ violr( ,
and wrpcn!inr

learned thai snow is never actually whi te. It always

reflects other hues, and it changes in value depend
ing on where it's illuminated and shadowed. Here I
pain t the snow on the rocks and in the foreground
using a mix of white, cerulean blue, and cobalt via
let. I deepen the mi~ slightly for the fo reground, as
this area is shadowed by the rocks.


Whiu. a .... Ie"" blur.

mId {OIlal! "ialr!



Blach and
)dlo ... light

,-':"ple'>tll" ..
light and ch",



I develop the textures

of the rocks. ((ealing an
overall mottled elfed by
mixing several different
colors. I apply one mix of
black and Naples yellow
light and another mix of
Naples yellow light and
chromium oxide green.
varying the direction
of my brushstrokes to
create a rand om. natural
looking blend of color
and allowing small areas
of the toned canvas to
show through. I apply
colo. to the da.kest areas
o f the woods with mixes
of alizarin purple . burnt
sienna. and black. and I
introduce some colorful
foliage with a combina
tion o f cadmium orange.
Naples yellow light, and
burnt sienna.

To de~elo~ the textllre of the rocks, I use white
to lighten the rock mixture<; from step 'ou r
and then apply the colors using short, choppy
strokes. I leave areas of darker gray showing
through here and there to emphasize the
mottled (olor. I also add more veUow lea~es
throughout the composition. Then I retouch the
sky and make il more colorful wilh addilional
touches of phthalo btue and white.

Now I step back from my painting so I can see
where it needs more depth and detail. I deCide
to add some lighter branches to the trees using
a mix of burnt sienna, black, and white. Then I
highlight some of Ihe trees wilh a light green
mix of chromium oxide green and yel(ow ochre.
Finally I punch up the ~iolets in the dark areas
with a combination of cobalt violet, alizarin
purple, and a little white.






I use a mix of Mars violet and black thinned with tur-

I use a small round brush and a mi~ of black and

Mars violet with very lillie turpentine to paint over
the outlines of the birches. I also indicate the small
er branches of the other trees with qulck,loose
strokes. I then block in the dark leaf shapes and the
darker areas of the foreground.

Now I block in the blues of the sky around the dark

shapes. for the upper third. I use a mi~ of cobalt
blue, cobalt violet, and a little white. for the middle
third. I use a ligllter ml~ of cobalt blue and white.
for the lower third, I use a mi~ of Naples yellow
light, viridian green, cerulean blUe. and white.

pentine to tone Ihe entire canvas. Once this underpainting is dry. I sketch the composition with soft

vine charcoal, which allows me to erase and (orrect

my (oml)Osition as I draw.




Now I'm ready to pain t Ihe lighter va lues -Ihe high

I don't wait fo r t he thick paint of the highlights to

dry befo re painting the shadowed side of the birch
eS.lnstead I blend the light and dark values with
crisscrossing brushstrokes to create the natural.
waVV, irregular appearance of light. With a mi~ture
of cobalt blue, cobalt violet. and white, I add the
shadows to the left sides of the three trees in the
foreground, applying a lot less paint than I used for
the light sides.

Once I've blocked in the strongest darks and ligllts,

I'm ready to lay in the colors. I create several slightly
varied mixtures of yellow ochre. Na ples yellow light,
cadmium orange barium. cadmium re<llight, and
alilarin crimson. For the leaves at the bottom left
and throughout the shadowed background, I create
three darker mi~lureS - one with a liltle Mars violet.
one with burnt sienna, and one with cobalt blue.
Then for the highlighted leaves on the right and
in the foreground, I progressively lighten the mix
with Naples yellow light and white, I am continualty
changing my mixtures because I want to create a
rich variety ofvalues in the autumn foliage. This cre
ates more depth in the painting.

lights on the tree trunks. My light source is coming

from the upper right, falling on Ihe right side of the
three t rees in the foreground. t use Naples yellow
tight and white to cut into the right sides of the
trees, painting (hoppy. irregular strokes to make

Ihe light look as though it's filtered through leaves

and branches. I appl" the paint thickly, using an
impasto technique be<ause I want the paint to be
more opaque and therefore true to bright. strong
light in nature, Many artists like to create the rough.
teJ((ured look of impasto with the flat side of a paint '
ing knife, but I find that my small filbert brush works
well here.


Now I step back and

evaluate the birches.
I decide t he light sides
of these trees could use
even more texture and
that I want to add more
warmth with a mixture
of Naples yellow light
and wh ite. I also want
to make the lighting a
little more dramatic, so
I darken the shadowed
sides of the trees with a
mixture of cobalt violet,
cobalt blue, and a little
white. As a fina l brightening touch, I add some
lightcolored leaves to
a few of the trees and in
the foregrou nd. I make
these lightest leaves
a brilliant yellow that
contrasts with the dark
oranges and browns
and enlivens the entire



I begin by (overing the canvas wilh a very ligh t wash of
cobalt blue and burnt sienna thinned with turpentine .
I use vine charcoal pencil and approach my sketch as
a basic outline for where I want to place the colors. I
concentrate on capturing the areas where the values
(hange throughout the sky, outlining the shapes of the

douds, Next I indicate the two distant lighthouses on

the horizon. Then I block in the dark, large shapes in the
landscape, lightly shading these areas wit h the side of
Ihe charcoal.

Once I'm happy with my sketch, I retrace the Outline of
each shape with a sma ll round brush and a thin mixture
of black and Mars violet. Then I apply all my darkest val
ues. At this stage, I'm still working on my underpainting,
filling in the rocks in the foreground and the rest of the
land in the distance. Even though the rocks appear to be
pure IJlack, I add Mars violet to the mixture to keep the
color from becoming too inky and nat.

Dal1l Values

BIMk mid

Mars ,-jolrr



Now I paint the sky wilh a mix of cobalt violet and while.
stroking horizontally with a small filbert bristle brUSh. I

mix (Nulean blue, viridian green, and white for Ihe lower
patches of blue sky and Cleat!! the brighter blue patches
of the upper sky with cobalt blue, a very small amount of
phthalo blue, and white. For the grays in the upper part
of the sky, I mix cobalt violet and white. Then I blod in
the Clouds with a mix of while and Naples yeUow light.

Upper Sky

Now 1IJl0ck in the ocean, (overing most of the water area with a mixture of viridian green, phthalo blue,
and cobalt violet. I add a few dark patches of cobalt blue, cobalt violet, and viridian green. To suggest
movement in the water,l add light blue streah of a cobalt blue and white mixture. I paint the surf
around the distant headland and foreground using pure white. varying between thick and thin brush
strokes to create a realistic impression of texlu re and motion in the tide.

C"ll<lh 1,1"~ ",,d

C<>bah blue

cabal! "jo/(,

"lid ... hue

Lower Sky


Viridian I:rall

Cuball ,-iolel
and ,,-hil,

and arul,an blue


Now I add highlights and details to
the rocks and distant land furms. With
a mi~ture of Naples yellow light and
yellow othre, I work in the lighter tex
tures of the foreground areas. Then I
mi~ Naples yellow light and cadmium
orange barium for the hIghlights of
the middle ground and the land in
the background. I lighten the farthest
plane of land significantly to empha
size the sun's high midday position
and the illuminated horizon.





"'('plr~ )tlluw

light (1",1
om"J:t barium

liglu ""d
)'tllo,.. .xhrt

Whe n I step batk and assess Ihe painting,. decide 10 adjust some of the colors.
Although I'm happy wilh the totors I chose i n the sky, I want 10 sharpen the
wntrast by changing some of the values. I deepen the darkest values by adding
more pigment, and I add more white to the lightest values. I also decide some
of t he va lues in the ocean are too light and tha t the surf needs to ~ brighter,
so I add deeper shades of the ocean mixes and then brighten t he surf with pure

FOr Ihe finishing
touches, I use my
small bristle fil~rt
to add a little more
detail to the dis
ta nt headland and
in the foreground.
for the details in
the distance, I use
Naples yellow light
with a louch of
cadmium orange,l
mi~ Naples yellow
light, yellow ochre,
burnt sienna, and
black and lightly
brush on some
fi nal touches of
lHtu re to the fore




A native of southern CalifolTlia, Michael Obermeyer received a
Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in lllusnation at California State
University, Long Beach. Some of his paintings are featured in collections in the Smithsonian Ins titute and the Pentagon in Washington ,
D.C. He recently received the "Award of Excellence" from the La
Quinta DesenPlein Air show and the Gold Medal at the Carmel
Art Studio. Michael is a member of the Oil Pain ters of America, The
California An Club, The

merican Impressionist Society, The Society

of Illustrators. and a Signature Member of the Laguna Plein Air

Painters' Association. Currently Michael's pain tings are shown at galleries in Carmel and Lagun a Beach, Calirornia, where he also maintain hi

rud io.




Using a light wash of ultramarine blue,l draw the scene on the support with a
small brush, using my field sketch as it re ference. I'm nol concerned with details

Using flat brushes. I block in the basic shapes 01 the darllest trees, starting
with the warm. intense {olors and values in the lore ground. I use a mix olviridian
green, cadmium red light, and ultramarine blue. keeping the darkest values in the
trees so that the contrasting warm (olors around the trees will appear to ~pop~

at this point - this is just a quick layout \0 outline the major elements. I also indio
call' the visual path [In this case, a litera l path] that will lead the eye toward my

focal point (the large trees on the left),


Now I begin blocking in the sunlit

trees with it mixture of alizarin crimson, udmium V~lIow du"p. ultramarine blue. and cadmium yellow light. I
use large nals and brights a!temately,

painting quickly with thick paint and

bold brushstrokes. Then, using medium-sized Hats, I paint in the pathway

and the variety 01 dark and tight areas

on the grass in the foreground with
mixes 01 ultramarine blue and cad
mium yellow light

Ak arin a; msOII. cadmium


M.p, c"dm ium )'~Il,,'" liglrl.

",,,I ulu a nom-iolf ~Iu r

Poor Dest i n

Good Desl,n

In this sketch all the elements are

crowded into the center and are
on the same plane . The 5hape 01
the treE'S and its branches are too
uniform, and the path leads the eve
out of the pictu re.

Here a few subtle changes h ave

greatly imp roved the composition.
The center 01 intere5t i5 off to the
side. the elements are on different
planes and are overlapped, and the
eye is led into the scene and stays

With a large flat brush, I paint in the sky with a mi~
ture of cerulean blue, cadmium yellow light, virid ia n
green. and a lot ollilanium white. I combine ultra
marine blue, alizarin crimson. and white 10 dab in
the dark areas of the low douds. For the sunlit areas
of Ihe clouds, I use a mix of cadmium yellow light,
alizarin (timson, and white, painting right up to the
edges of the trees,


CadmIum yello ... li;;:hr,

"id,liu" g,un. arultu"
blue, "",/ ... hilt

Now I add details to the trees with a small flat brush, softening the edges as I
work. I use the COlors from step three and work all over the trees, never spending
too much lime in one area.The n I add the tree trunk!; and the finer details in Ihe
foreground grass with a rigger brush. This brushwork is tighter and the edges are
sharper Ihan Ihose in the IhKkground, whkh helps bring attention to mV local

Finally I slep back and take a look at my work. I check to see whelher any of the
values need ad justment and decide to add some colorful flowers in the fore
ground to anchor the viewer's eye at the left of my composition, where the focal
point is located. With a rigger brush and a mix 01 cadmium yellow light and

white.llighUy dab in Ihe bloss.oms. taking care to keep them in proportion with
Ihe rest of the elements in Ihe landscape. I step back to assess the painting and
decide that now I'm happy. The most diffiw1t part is knowi ng when the painting
is finished and putting the brush down!





I u~e a light wash of ultramarine blue to loosely draw my wmposilion on the <an
vas. I keep Ihe paint thin 50 I can easily rework or adjust the sketch if necessary.

Next I block in the rest of the baSic shapes, working from the warm lones in the

Then I use a large nat sable brush and bold, quick brushstrokes to block in the
darkest areas wilh a thin mix of ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, and a touch of

yellow light, cadmium red light, and white. I use a large filbert and block in the

vilidian green.

mil in some viridian green

ing the shapes simple.

Now I paint the stucco with a thick
mi~ of white and specks of cadmium
yeUow light, cadmium yellow deep,
and alizarin uimson. Using a small
flal brush, I dab in the shutters with
a mixture 01 cerulean blue and a little
ultramarine blue. I create the shad
ows on Ihe side 01 the house with a
mix of ultramarine blue. alizarin crim
50n, and white.


AIiZ<l .i n (t'i msun, "h irt. { wl,~,u m

),dloll light . a",1 (adm ium yellow deep

House Shadows

V /rr"m"' itlf blu c,

oll za';., Ol mSUtl. a nd " 'hilf

Flndlnl . Focus
By making some quick thumbnail sketches 01
a subject, you can determine the emphasis of
the 5(ene. Here you (an 51'1' how th ree different
formats 01 the same scene each have a slightly
different viewpoint.

front to the coollones in Ihe back. I painllhe tree trunk with a mix of cadmium

and crass with mixes of uUramarine blue and cadmium yellow deep. Then I

and cadmium yellow light for Ihe cooler areas, keep

Now I begin to work all over the painting with a
small flat brush, building up thick highlights and
adding a variety of brush strokes for interest. I refine
the shadows on the house with a small filtJ.ert, keep
inS the edges soft. Then t paint the moun tains in the
background with a m i~ of white, alizari n crimson,
cadmium vellow deep, and a touch of ultramarine
blue, add ing more ultramarine blue and a touch of
alizarin crimson for the Shadows. t paint the roof
with small flat brushes and a mi~ of cadmium vel
low light. cadmium red light, cadmium vellow deep,
and a touch of ultramari ne blue. I also paint in pure
alizarin crimson for the base color of the flowers.


VIII'a ma,ior blu," ,adonium rrd l i):bl .

"li::ari o (I'imsOfl. u" J ...hilt

For the shadowed flowers. I add ultramarine blue to alizarin crimson. I paint
highlights and details in the flowers USing aliza rin crimson and cadmium red
light with a touch of white , dabbing the pain t on with small flats and brights.
I mnve amund the painting, adding details to the mnuntain. tree trunk, plants,
mnuntain, and shadows. Ne~t I apply highlights to the shrubs with a mi ~ of the

original color plus more cadmium vellnw light. t paint more details on the palm
trees. keepi ng their edges softer tha n those of the foliage in the foreground.
Finally I add details on the windowpanes with a small brush and a mix of (eru lean blue and a small amount of ultramarine blue.

I quickly sketch in my

composition wilh a thin

wash of ultramarine
blue, taking no more
than fi~ minutes 10

place the basic shapes.

As I sketch, I keep in
mind how the strong
shadows will affecl the
olher elements in my
composition; I want the
shadllws \0 be my local

Focusing on Shad_s
This snapshot captures the natural, delicate
balance between light and shadow in the

afternoon. for my paintjn~, I simplify bul try to

retain the delicate latiness thai makes them

so interesting.

SlIadowed StrH t

With a thin


01 ultra -

marine blue and cadmium yellow light, I block

in the shadows on the

grass wilh quick, bold
brushstrokes. I place
the tree trunks and the

bridge with a mi~ of

alizarin crimson and
Illtr8m8rine bille. Then I
lise a large flat to work
in Ihe cool shadows
on the road and trees.
keeping t he edges soft
and the shapes Simple.

VI/r(IIMU 'inc billt. "/i::,,,.;n

oimscn. andhhiu


Now I add the warmest tones : the sunlit grass in the

foreg round and the light areas 01 the Iree in front.
1 keep Ihe painllhick. Ilsing strong. bold brush
strokes and not worrying abollt detail al this point.
For the grass, 1lise a mi~ 01 cadmium yellow light
with a touch 01 viridian green and a speck of cad
mium yellow deep.


I develop the sunlit areas of the street with a mix

of cadmium yellow light, alizarin crimson, white,
and a touch of cadmium yellow deep. I add the sky
(cerulean blue, white, and cadmium yellow light)
and the distant trees (alilari n crimson, ultramarine
blue, and white). Then I block in the distant build
ings with a mix of ultramarine blue and white.
SunUt Street

Aliza'in crlrnsun, C<ld",iurn ytl!ow dUr,

and cadmium )'tllo",



With small nats, I work throughout the entire painting. adjusting values as nec
essary and adding branches an d a bit more detail to the trees in the foreground.
With the same smatl brushes, I continue developing details on the bridge, the
curbs, and the nowers. I include a little more detail on and under the arch of the
bridge, keeping the edges sharp to draw some attention there. t place the

signpost and refine the tree trunks, but I try not to overwork anyone area of the
painting and avoid putting in too much detail. t step back to assess my work
again and de<ide that the contrast between the sunlit patches and the cool shad
ows is well balanced; my painting is done!



Anita Hamp ton has been painting for mos t of her life. Although she
has studied under renowned instructors and at various colleges,
she considers herself primarily selr-taught. Ani ta is considered one
of the leading plein air painters in the United States, and her wo rk
has been published and exhibi ted in museums, galleries, and major
private collection around the world. he i a ignature member of
the California Art Club and Laguna Plein Air Painter of America ,
a well a Oil Painter of America. An ita won the 2001 F ranklin
int Award in the Oil Painters of America National Exhibition and
was one of e ight artists invited to attend the Plein Air Painters of
America exhibition in Catalina , Cali fornia, in 2002.


Isketd\ directly on my canvas with a smaU nal brush and a mj~ of

viridian green, yellow ochre, and turpentine. Then I block in the


largest light shape-the doud lormation to the left oflhe large

tree - with a thick mix 01 while, a linle cadmium yellow pale. and
cadmium led light. I darken the sky with a STay mix 01cobalt blue

and cadmium red light, gradually adding more color with cObalt
blue, cadmium fed light. cerulean blue, and ultramarine blue. Then
I (over the distant mountain range with a mi~ of white. ultramarine
blue. quinacridone rose. and a !!luch ofyeliuw ochre. I carry the
color through the trees to the right of the canvas, SO the moun tains
don" seem to dmp off into space somewhere in the middle of the


I create Ihe dark foliage wilh a mix 01 ultramarine blue, viridian
green, burnt sienna, and a little yellow och re. I block in the center
01 interest (the large tree), warming the upper left where the tight
fallS wi th more yellow och re and a touch lIf cadmium red light. FlIr
the shadllwed right side. I cool the mix with viridian green and a
lillle burnt sienna. I adjust the mixes as I paint the outlying foliage,
often changing the dominant darlc color. 50 the foliage is made
up nf a variety of greens. This color varialinn is true tn nature and
makes a mnre realistic painting. As I paint Ihe backgrnund trees at
the top right, I allow some light color from the sky to mix with the
dark paint and then I blend it with light, feathery strokes (but not
too much. or th .. color will look ~h alky!).

I blnck in the mountain directly
behind the tree with a mix of while.
viridian green, cadmium red light, and
yeUow ochre. for the background, I
wanllO show that the land recedes
into the distance, 50 I use a cooler
mix of white, cadmium yellow pale,
phthalo yellow green. and tnuches of
cadmium red lighl and cerulean blue.
The banks or the bay have more cad
mium red light and cerulean blue with
a touch of yellow ochre. Because the
eye is drawn 10 brighler colors and
warm colors ~pop~ forward, I warm
the colors around the large tree to
draw allention In it.


Dark Tree

MH .



Illaint the left bank with a mix of white, cadmium yellow Ilale, cadmium red light,
and cerulean blue, darkeni ng the mix as I work downward. Then I lay in the renee
tions of the dark tree with horiwntal strokes and a mix of ultramarine blue, virid
ian green. burnt sienna. and a little yellow ochre. For the sky's reRedion. I mix
white. (Dbalt blue, yellow ochre. and cadmium red light, gently blending the light
and dark colors together.

I was inSllired to Ilaint this sky by the stormy weather condition that formed
magnificent clouds in a c'Y!>tal clear atmosphere; the colof5 seemed to POll out
of the sky! I start by allillying more color in the Ull()er sky, using vertical strokes
to mirror the vertical strokes in the water. I use basica lly the same colors I used
in stell two but with fewer grays and whiles. I make the blue sky darkest at the
top. lightening and warming it toward the horizon.


I add the tree highlights

with varying mi xes of
white, yeltow ochre,
phthalo yellow green,
cad. red tt.. and cer
ulean blue. I add more
highlights to all the
foliage with mixes of
white, viridian green,
yellow ochre. burnt
sienna. cad. red It..
cad . yellow pale. and
ultramarine blue. For
the highlights on Ihe
mountains. I add white
to a mix of cad. yellow
pale, cerulean blue, and
a touch of quin. rose.
Then I paint over the
water with a few hori
zontal strokes of cad.
red It., blueviolet, and
a touch of yellow ochre.
I add detail to Ihe large
tree trunk with a mix
of burnt sienna. ultra
marine blue, and yel
low ochre. I add a few
touches of color to the
outlying areas. Finalty
I use a mix of ultrama
rine blue, burnt sienna,
and viridian green for
dark accents in the
large tree and outlying



Choosing a Light Source

Natural light (such as light from
a north window) is much cooler
than artificial light (such as light
from a lamp or studio light). Here
I chose to use both because I
like the live ly contrast between
the cooler natural light from a
window to the left of the scene
and the warmer hues created by
a studio light on the right.

Once I'm happy with my setu p, I lay in a thin wash of

I ndian yellow with a large bri stle brush. Then I add a
touch of quinacridone rose and apply the color liberally with broad stokes to quickly cover the ca nvas.
For the edges, I create a thin mix of qui nacridone
rose and cobalt blue. I estab lish the (oo ler hues on
the ri ght by add ing more blue to the mix. For the
wa rmer hues in the flower area. I add more quin acridone rose. To avoid harsh color changes, I gently
ble nd the edges of these washes with a paper towel.
Then I block in the basic shapes of my composition
with a mix of sap green, cadm ium orange, and cadmium red light.

I block in the darkest values of the leaves with a
mixtu re of sap green, transparent oxide red, and
coba lt blue. I fu rther develop the darkest values
with varying mixes of a little phthalo yellow-green,
rose, cad. red light, and cobalt blue added to the
original green mixtu re_The vase has more red with
only a little green, and the leaves have more green
with only a little red. For the apples, I mix rose,
transparent ox ide red, and phthalo yellow-green.
Next I block in the Shadows on the cloth with a mix
of white, coba lt blue, and transparent oxide red. I
want the cloth to have rich variation, 50 I create several shades of t his mix by adding varying amounts
of cad. red light, ce rulean blue, yellow ochre, and
cad. orange. For the candleholder, I mix white, rose,
coba lt blue, and a touch of yellow ochre .




Now I paint the roses with a small flat brush and a basic mix of rose, transparent
oxide red, Indian yellow, an d a touch of phthalo yellow-green. For the flowers
on the righ t, I warm the mix w ith cadmium red light or cadmium orange. For the
flowers on the left I cool the mix with rose, co bait blue, and a touch of white. Fo r
the warmest gray versions of the mix, I add a little cadmium yellow light, Indian
yellow, or cadmium orange. Next I block in the light spots on the tablecloth
around the vase with a mix of white, cobalt blue, transparent oxide red, and cadmium yellow light.

I warm the petals on the right with different mixes of wh ite, cadmium yellow
light, cadmium orange. and a litt le cadmium red light . The n I mix rose. cobalt
blue, and transpa rent oxide red into some of the shadowed petals in the center
of each rose, blend ing the color with light strokes to soften any hard edges. For
the highlights, I mix wh ite, rose, and a touch of coba lt blue. I paint the leaves
on the left with white, cobalt blue, and a touch of yellow ochre. For the warmer
leaves on the right,l mix white, cadmium orange , phthalo yellow-green, sap
green, and tra nsparent oxide red . I paint the stems with a mixture of white, rose,
cobalt blue, and a touch of yellow och re.

FLower hH
Cool Flo_f$

Whu,. "05f.

1J~l'( ~ ''')l'(

~ nd

Warm flowers

BuS' .. "h ile. (ud. )"dlo",

Irghl. and
rad. "f/lng(

(Cw.. um"g'

IIase .. " hi t,. uml,an.

msr, und (ud.
ydlow lig h!

Bas, .. cad. OIOll!;( ..

(ad. rrd lighl

Bus .. whue. wool! blur.

Bas .. wh'le.

and ' ''Sf

cad. red lighl. and

(/ld .

Leif Bne


I use a variety of g ray mixes to develop the doth and background. For the darker
areas of the background and the folds in the tablecloth, I use milles of cobalt
blue, transparen t oxide red, cadmium orange, phthalo yellowgreen, and a little
Venetian red. I add touches of lighter Colors to the background with white. wbalt
blue. rose, cadmium olange, and a liltle cadmium yellow light. Where the warm
artificial light falls on the table, I add cadmium yellow light and cadmium orange.


Cool Leives

SUI' greflt. !,ullsP<I .ell!

a.~id, .(d. "lid rabal!

Wirm Leaves
Bas<' '' ",hiu. cadm ,u ,n
omngr . Qll d ph lhalo

B<l$'" ",hUf. Jello .. '

ochre . and (()/ra Il blu r

Bast .. white,

cob~1 1

B ~se

.. ,,hur. Vrnnian

.rd. all d s~p g ' U II

blue. <uld SIll' g ,-un

",hiU, ~'p gIn ",

Ilml IrUlIS"" ' , " 1 oxide

H",r ..

fluS, .. MIl' gl''''', u nd

(,>bill! ~ I Uf



Now I add details to the apples. For

the stems, I use a mix of yellow ochre,
ph lhalo yellow-green, cobalt blue,
and sap green. For Ihe darker parts
of the apptes, I mix rose. transparent
oxide red, and sap green. I touch up
the stems wilh a mix of sap green,
transparent oxide red, and cobalt
blue. I paint the candleholder with a
mix of white, rose, cobalt blue, and a
touch of yellow ochre, warming the
right Side with a mi~ture of cad. yellow light and cad. olange. for the left
side, I add more rose and cobalt blue
to the mixture. For the flame's center,
I create a thick mix 01 white and pure
cad . yellow light. for the darker area
of the flame, I lise a mi~ of white, cad.
yellow light. and cad. orange, adding a touth of tad. red light "exllo
the yellow center. At the base or the
flame, I add a dark mix of while, lOse,
and cerulean blue. To create smoke, I
add transparent oxide red and cobalt
blue to the mix and brush this color
upward from the tip of the flame.
When I assess the painting, I detide
to change the cloth folds. I want the
background to have more linear,
vertical shapes to counterbalance the
round forms of the flowers.






I begin sket(hing directly on the canvas with it thin

mix of ce ru lun blue and yellow ochre and a small
bristle brush, As I sketch, 1 am always aware of the

I create various mixes of transpa rent oxide red, sap

Next I add the water midlones; althe lOP right. I

apply a mix of quina(ridone rose. coball blue. and
while, blending il inlO the wet painl. For Ihe sky. I
use a mix of white. viridian green. and a touch of
cadmium red light

division of my canvas-I don't want any shape to cut

the canvas in halfvertkally, diagonally, or horiZontally, nor do I want shapes thaI are completely equal
in size. Variety is the key 10 crealing interest.

green, and ultramarine blue for the r(lCks. Then I

apply the darks of the waler with a mi x of ultrama

rine blue. transparent oxide red. and a little white,

Water Mldlones



rranspMrnr <'XIdr "rd. ,,111'. ",,.,dW,! grun.

mId qui"acridont rau


Whit( . ioi,/j'ln gru n.


Foam Hilhlilhts


)'tUO'" iKhrt. (lId"ilUtJI )"( 110", IIg h ~

cadmium rtd lij!hl, ,dlramnllnt blur,

oxidt ,td, """ qai."oiiloll, fOV

Whi lt, I<}mium ) , UOW /i;.;h(,

( Mnl/un! o'r d flghr, undflln bl ur. and
cadmium yrUaw p<I/r

un"!p<"'c~ 1




I paint more midtones in the waler and then apply the light color on the rocks
wilh a mix of sap green. transparent oxide red. yellow ochre. and cadmium yel
low light. I darken the foam wilh a mix of while. cobalt blue, quinacridone rose.
cadmium yellow light, and a louch of cadmium red light Then I paint the douds
with a mix of white . cadmium yellow pale, and cadmium red light, blending
slightly to create soft edges.

The focal poin t of this scene is the breaking wave . so I apply more detail there,
adding iJrighter colors and creating more foam. Asl add more color to the water,
I lighten the values near the horizon to bring out more contrast in the foreground.
Then I develop the clouds by adding more lights (white. admium yellow pale,
cadmium red light, and a touch of viridian green) and darks (while. quinacridone
rose. cobalt blue).



I break down the shapes in the main rock by buildin~ up the texture with more
light and dark values. I create highlights with a mix of white, transparent oxide
red, viridian green, yellow ochre, and cadmium fed light. Then I switch to a mix
of sap green. yellow ochre. and cadmium red li~ht for the dark areas. I adjust the
headland by randomly adding a range of yalues with a small sable brUSh.

I am careful not to apply too much detail in the area5 out51de of my focal point
because I don't want them to distract from the center of interest. As I continue, I
decide to slightly alter the direction of the lower rock formations to point toward
the wave; this "eales more ac tion and a contrasting diagonal line of movement.
To soften the edges of Ihe rocks, I blend lhe edges wilh a dry sable brUSh.


Al t his final stage

of the painting, I
try to make sure
Ihat every brush
slroke I add will
enhance (and not
detract from) the
focal point of my
painling.1 decide
to add the fi~ures
at the top of the
headland with
~rayed-down mixes
of the original
headland colors so
they don't stand
out too much. I
add more darkS to
the crevices in the
rocks with a small
sable brush and
apply more color
and interesting
shapes to the fore ~round foam. I step
back to check my
work and, finally
satisfied, add my
signatu re.



ReferenU! Photos

Painting portraits in oil (an lake man.,. hours,

even days. MoS! children have a hard time sit-

ting still for this long. Although a photo can'!

wmpare to a live subject posing for you, take
photos of the children you wish to paint. That
way you can take YOUf time with the portrait.



I want to emphasize my model'S beautiful hair, so

I sketch the head and shllulders first with yellow
ochre. Then I ueall! some guidelines fo r the fadal
features. For the slightly litted angle of her face, I
draw a curved center vertical line. The n I create the
central horizontal line through the middle of the verti-

Now I draw in her ladalfeatures wilh burnt sienna

and a clean lound brUSh, keeping Ihe painl fairly
dry to make dean, {liSp lines. If I need to remove
a portion 01 the d rawing. I dip a pape r towel in sol
vent and lilt off the unwanted paint. Next I indicate
lhe hairline on the forehead and draw the sides of
the face. I block in the shadows with pure cerulean
blue. using paraUel. hatch lines to keep the basic
shadows clear and defined. I'll use Ihese li nes later
as guides.

calline, Because Audrey 15 a child, her eyes, nose,

and mouth all faU tIelow this line. Below the eyeline, I
add two more parallel horizonlili lines 10 pOSition Ihe
base of the nose and the cenler of Ihe mouth. making
sure my lines are a nd perpendkular 10 Ihe vertical

Lishts In hlr

+ (ad.y~Uow

+ Jrl lllw ochrt
+ (lid. yrllow




un,'c~ n

,ad yellow




Now Ilay in Ihe darkesl values in Ihe hair with a mi~ of burnt sie nna. viridian
green, yellow ochre. and a louch of cad. orange. To creale conlrast wilhi n Ihis
large, dark shape, I separately apply touches of each color fro m the mi~. For the
tighter shadows. I lighte n the mi~ with yellow ochre and cad. yellow deep. For
Ihe shadows around the eyes, I use a medium filbert and a mi~ of burnt sienna.
vilidian green. cad. orange, and a small amounl of yellow ochre . adding separate
touches of each color to (feate variation within the Shadowed skin to nes. Then I
add the small shadow on the left sleeve with a mi~ of cobalt blue, quinacridone
rose. and atiltle yellow ochre. twirling the brush in a loose. swirling motion that
mimics the fabric patterns.

Ne~t I add the lights in the hair with a medium bristle bfUsh and a thick mixture
of white. yellow ochre. cad. red light. and a small amount of celulean blue. I use
la rge, wide strokes and add touches of the original color mixture over the light hair
to keep it from looking like a flal surface of plain. solid color. With a mixture of
white. cad. yellow deep. cad. red lighl. and a touch 01 cerulean blue. I block in Ihe
light bodice of the dress. I make this value slightly darker Ihan il appears. as I'll be
applying the lighter embroidery over it. USi ng a variety of color mixtures. I roughly
block in the floral print ollhe dress. I'm always tempted to work on details righl
away. but adding detail5 too soon can make subjects look duttered and cause col
OIS to conflict wilh each other. So, al first. I paint as loosely as possible.

I aenl Audrey's light blond hair by adding a dark
gray background of utlramarine blue. burnt sienna.
yellow ochre, and a little thinner. For the lighter
areas, I add more yellow ochre 10 Ihe mix. Ilel lhe
backglOund blend with the hair, pulling the brush
with lighllinear strokes to crealI' soft edges; tight,
unblended edges can make a figure look as if it is
pasted on the canvas. While the paint is still wet,
I add more highlights to the hair with a small nat
brUSh. A.lI;ain I wl)rk some of the paint intI) the back,
ground to u eate a loose, natural texture.

At this stage, I like to view my paintings in a
mirror, which gives me a fresh view of my work
and helps me spot ilfeas that may neeo minor
changes. I find I need to lower Audrey's right
shoulder and darken the right side of her fate.
darken the skin slightly, as I'd added too much
while to the mixture. Finally I raise the right
torner 01 her mouth slightly, simplify the light
shapes on he r left sleeve. and add more detait
to her left eye with a few fina l highlights.


Now I build up the skin tones with cad . red light on the cheekS and
chin and a mix I)f white, cad. red lighl. and a lillie yellow I)chre. For
the skin's soft texture, I use a dry sable brush 10 smooth the paint
and soften Ihe edges. Nllw I develop the delails IIfthe IIrgandy dress,
bringing lIut the details with a mix III white. cad. yellow light. cad. red
light, and a touch of cerulean blue. Then I apply a lighte r shade of
this mixtufl' with feathery strokes. Because I want Audrey's hair and
eyes til command the most attenlion, I simplify the dress fabric, making it more muted. I develop the eyes with the colors shown at right
and then I build up the hair wilh several thick brushslrokes.




Skin TOn l!5

Skin Tones

yrll~w ,~"t

.. (uti

),dl" ... tiur

(<lti. ",I



.. mo'r ("ti.
,,<I light
.. ,(ridi"l1

.. mo"
y,How ()(h"



I sketch t he composit ion directly
on the canvas with a small
flat bristle brush and a mix of
ceru lean blue and yellow ochre
thinned with a little turpent i ne.
If I need to make adjustments in
my dra wing, I can easily wipe off
the color with a paper towel and
solvent. I place the bask shapes
care fully, making sure I have a
variety of sizes and lines and a
good placement for my cen ter of
interest -lhe lrees on the lefl.



I begi n by blockin g in the dark

trees with a large bristle brush
and a mixture of viridian green,
ultramarine blue, burnt sienna,
and yellow ochre thinned with a
little turpentine. As Ilay in these
shapes, I occasionally change the
dominant hue by adding more of
one of the co lors to the mixture.
I block in the rest of the foliage
and the reflections, working
toward my lightest areas (the
clouds and sky). I mix wh ite, yellow ochre. and a small amoun t of
cadmium red light and cerulean
blue fo r the white clouds. For
the sky, I mix wh ite, ultrama rine
blue, cerulean blue. and a touch
of q uinacridone rose. As the blue
sky nears the horizon, I apply a
mix of white, ceru lean blue, and
a touch of cadmium yellow pa le.
I take extra care to thorough ly
clean. dry, and load my brush
each ti me I change colors.

Now I develop the main shapes, starting with my center of interest. Using a small
bristle brush, I apply color to the foliage shapes on the left with a mix of white,
yellow ochre, cadmium red light, and touches of phtha lo yellow-green and cadmium yellow deep_ I add the darker va lues in the shadows with a mix of white,

viridian green, ultramarine blue, yellow ochre, and a touch of cadmium red ligh t.
I am careful not to overdevelop any of these outlying areas-this could detract
from the center of interest. I paint all the tree trunks with a small rigger brush
dipped in a mix of white, cadmium red light, viridian green, and yellow ochre_





I develop the tenter of interest


using it small bristle brush and

liGht ilnd dark mixtures from
S1E~p three. If I need it lighter

This skeldl combines several


value, I add it little more white to

my mixes, I also work on developing the Gullying areas with it
large bristle brush. Using it large
brush hel ps me maintain the
large, soft shapes I've already

created. During these final

stages. I use m(lle (olor and less
gray in my mixtures as I slowly
build up toward dean color. I also

make sure to save the deanest,

purl's! tolors for the foreground.
Then I step back and view the

final painting from a distance.

If there are any areas that need

(orrection or more attention. I

handle Ihem now.


techniques for sllowing depth

(sharpening or blurring details,
overlapping objects, linear perspective, and emphasizing size
differences), but the differences
in scale are really accentuated in
the road, fence, and trees. Notice
that the receding lines 01 these
elements narrow to the vanishing
point on the horizon, bringing
more attention to the depth 01
the scene.

I carefully add clean color to
various areas of the canvas that
I want to highlight, and I add
the ducks in the foreground for
interest. In contrasl to the muted
tones underneath, these pure
colors will "pop," adding interest
and e~dtemenl. I don't want to
overdo this stage, so I lake spe'
cial (are and add only as much
clean (olor as I (an without losi ng
the authenticity of my subject
or distracting from my center
or in terest, I want less gray in
the blue sky, so I mix white and
cobalt blue with a little ultrama,
rine blue and quinacridone rose,
and I apply the mi~ with a large
sable flat without disturbing the
paint underneath, Finally I sign
my name!








Combining overlapping techniques

with tuture variation is a great
way to (reate the illusion of depth.
In this thumbnail sketch, the hills
are overlapping and the douds
~come smaller as they move
toward the horizon. There is more
definition in the foreground ele'
ments. and they gradually lighten
as they recede toward the hills.


After trying out careers in the music and financial industries, Bill
chneider has return ed to his first love: painting. He studi ed at the
American Academy of Art and has won awards in several national
juried shows. Bill's work is represented by galleries in California,
Oklahoma, Illinois, and Wisconsin and has been published in

American Artist's Magazine as a finalist in the PortTait CategoTY of

their annual Art Competition. He has won "Best in Show" awards at
both the Woodstock Fine Art Exhibition and the Heartland National
Exhibition 2002, and he was awarded signature status by the Oil
Painters of America in 1998.



Iione a stretched linen canvas with a warm underpainling of terra rosa and
cadmium yellow deep. Then t use vine charcoal to draw the horizon line about
a third of the way down the canvas and sketch in Ihe main shapes. With a warm
mixture of black, ultramarine blue, transparent oxide red, and alizarin crimson, I
block in the deepest darks (the fence and the foreground shadows). Then tlay in

the lightest area-the warm gray sidewalk. For the ~condary darks in Ihe fence
and flower boxes, I add v;,id ian green and a little raw sienna to the original dark
mixture. I paint the remaining dark areas thinly with a medium bristle fillJ.ert. and
I block in the background with a mixture of terra rosa. black. and white. The dis,
tant tr~e is a mixture of viridian green, black, terra rosa, and white. Working for
ward with a medium flat bristle brush, I define the light side of the farthest bui ld
ing on the right with a mix of terra rosa. raw sienna, white, and viridian green.





I mix terra rosa, raw sienna, cad. yellow deep, virid

ian green, and white for the brick buildings and then
paint the light areas on the tree by adding raw sienna
and white to the dark mixture from step two. I paint
the building nut door with two values-the light side
is a mix of viridian green, raw sienna, white, and terra
rosa. (t use Ihe same mixture for the rest oflhe lighl
sidewalk.) For the dark side, I use the same mix but
substitute transparent oxide red for terra rosa. I mix
viridian green, raw sienna, white, and transparent
oxide red for the windows and the dark side of the
tree. I use a palette knife to loosely suggest ~adows
on the sidewalk with raw sienna, bla<k, transparent
oxide red, and white. I paint the porch rool with virid
ian green, ultramarine blue. raw sienna. and white.

Working fOlWa rd, I paint the porch and stairs with

a mix 01 raw sienna. white. cadmium yellow deep,
viridian green. and white, and I ueate the windows
and doors. I apply a slightly darker value of the brick
mixture in the shadows of the round building.' also
use this darker value to indicate a few bricks. Then'
pain! in the po rch rails, the window edges, and the
fence with a dark green mix of virldian green, raw
sienna, terra rosa, and white. Notice that I don't try
to paint individual bars in the fence; I merety place a
few vertical strokes to indicate the posts . I build up
the values in the dark green of the shadowed foliage
near the porch and in the flower boxes with a mix of
black. cadmium yellow tight. and ultramarine blue.

Here I pay close attention to the contrasts between

the warm, sunlit patches and the cool Shadows;
this contrast will help set the mOlld of this scene.
I paint the flower bllxes and the large tree with two
values: The darks consist of transparent oxide red,
ultramarine blue, raw sienna, and a lillie white; the
light areas are a mixture of transparent oxide red,
viridian green, raw Sienna, cadmium yellow deep,
and white. Next I finish the foliage in the flower
boxes and the yards. For the distant sunlit leaves, I
use a mixture of black, cadmium yellow light, terra
rosa, and white. Then I create a li ghter mixture for
the leaves in the foreground with viridian green,
cadmium yellow tight. and white.


Now I suggest the figures with a small sable brush. I paint the red skin with a
mix of terra rnsa, alizarin (Timson, and white, adding a little bla(k for the shadnws, The blouse is the color I used for the porch (see step three) with a touch of
black for the shadowed side. I mix terra rosa, law sienna, viridian green, and

white for the flesh tone. Finally I use some of the porch and leaf cotors to indio
cate the spaces in the iron fence. In this case, ii's bf:oller to painl the negative
spaces with the background (olor rather than trying to paint the narrow lines of
Ihe fence itself.



- /




I start by toning a streIchI'd canvas with a wash of terra rosa and viridian green


thinne<l with turpentine; this warm underpaintjng will serve as a good base colo r
lor building the white snow. After wiping off most of the wash and letting the

frame of reference for all the other values in the painting. I use a mixture of

I establish my e~tremes: the lightest and darkest values. They set up a

alizarin ([imson, ultrama rine blue, and Iransparenl o~jde red wi lh a large filbert
brislle brush 10 block in Ihe da rks. AU of Ihe middle ground snow is Ihe same
value (a miKlure of white, u1tramarine blue, black, le rra rosa, and raw sienna),
so I just swipe it on with one stroke of the pa lelle knife.

canvas dry 10 the touch (aboullo minutes). I use vine charcoal to divide the canvas into thi rds horizontally and vertically and 10 Sketch in the general placement
of the main elements: the distant tree line, the pine trees. the middle ground
build ings. and the foreground tufts of grass.


I block in the sky with a mi~ 0 1 whi te,

u1tramarine blue, black, alizarin
crimson , and raw sienna. The sky at
the horizon is lighter and (leamier,
so I add more white and raw sienna
10 my orig inal mi~lure. I paint Ihe
distant treeS using a darker value nf
the sky mi xture, softening the edges
by blending them slightly into the
sky. I try 10 keep the shapes of Ihe
trees irregular so Ihallhey don'llook
too symmetritill, like cookie,wller






Buic Tree Mill'l

Ulrmma riM blut. black.
cadmium )rll(1w li,;hr.
((rl(l IV"" <1nd ... hilt


8uit Tree Mill h

Ullramarinr bh.t. bl(l(~.
wdmium ydlo ... lighl,
((n(l ' .<'SIl, ,,",I ... hil(

Bu ic Tree Mill 13
Cadmi um ),<110'" light.
black, "ilramann( blur,

""d l(n<1




Working forward, Ilay in the willIe values of the distant and middle ground snow,

Now I work on the closest tree, for interest, I add a warm mix of ultramarine

making sure the contrast between them is noticeable. Then I block in the build
ings with a combinat ion of the basic tree mi~lure Ih and some more terra rosa

and raw sienna. For the shadows in flont.1 block in a slightly da rker versiun of
my snow color (see step two). Next I paint the pine trees with a medium bristle

filbert, using Ihe Ihree basic Iree mixes (see page 64) and leaving some of the
dark value to indicate Ihe tree trunks.

blue, lena rosa, raw sienna, and speck of white to indicate dead pine needles .
paint in the foregrGund snow with a warm mix of while. terra Illsa. ultramarine
blue, and raw sienna. USing a large bristle filbert. I lightly drag in the grasses in
the middle ground. Finally I place a few sharp. defined strokes with a small round
brush to indicate individual tufts of grass in the foreground.




. '


Once I step back

and assess my
work. I decide to
paint a few more
IUfts of grass in
the foreground
and add some
red to the barn
10 complele Ihe
design. One final
painting has no
pure or inlense
color. It is really
a Wmphony of
beautiful grays. In
general. Ihe world
is a much grayer
place than we think
at first glance .



- ~--.=....,--

- ~---.,



I was fascinated by the many (olors my field study revealed in thi5 scene and
decided 10 render this la nds.!:ape in more detail. I begin by toning my (anVilS wilh
a thin wa5h of cadmium red light, te rra rosa , and ultramarine blue. Using vine
charcoal. 1 divide the canvas into thi rds horizontally and vertically and sketch in
the main landmarks, refeni ng to my field study as I draw. I establish the darks
with a mix of ultramarine blue, alizarin (rimson , and transparent oxid e 'I'd and

I establish some of the secondary darks with a mixture 01 ultramarine blue. trans

then block in the background {see step two),

parent oxide red. alizarin crimson, and law sienna. Asllay in a lighl blue for the
sky (see ~mple 011 page 67), I flatten and smooth out the edges with a palette
knife. 1 darken the top of the sky by adding black and ultramarine blue to the mi~
and the n paint in the mountains with a mixture of ultramarine blue, terra rosa,
raw sienna, and white. For the distant ~ray trees, I use a mix of ultramarine blue,
raw sienna, alizarin crimson, and a little white.




IlaV in the reflections in the water USing the tree mixtures that I've grayed down
with more tena rosa. raw sienna. and white. Painting thinly. I lay them in with
horizontal strokes and a large bristle brush to Show movement in the water. For
the dark reflections,l add ultramarine blue and terra rosa tothe mix. I block in
the shadows 01 the aspens with a grayed, purplish mi~ of ultramarine blue, cadmium red light, white, and raw sienna.

1 block in the rest of the trees with both light and dar k green tree mixes (see
sample on page 67).1 paint the front pines with a mix of ultramarine blue. black.
ca dm ium yellow light, and a speck of white. The tops of the branches reflect
the sky, so 1 add viridian green, white, and alizarin crim5lln to the milL Using
two small sable brushes (one with sky color and one with tree color). I alternate
between using both brushes, blending and softening t he edges where the trees
meet the sky. Then I block In the water.




Now I painl l he aspens using a mi~ of cadmium yel

low deep and cadmi um ye llow lighl and some of Ihe
shadow colors (see be low) . I also painl l he aspen
trunks witll a mi~ of w hite and raw sienna . Adding a
linle ultramarine blu e and cadmi um ted ligllt to the
mixtu re, I work tile reflections of tile as pe ns into the
wate r, Tilen I mi~ some of the dark sky color witll a
little black and ad d tile refl ecl ions of IIII' slcy in the
wa ter. Using a medium brist le brush and thick paint.
I drag Ihis co lor across the water in a single slroke 10
indi cate ripples on the water. f or tile bush in front,
I begin with the slladows and then ad d t he thick
high ligh ts. Using a sma ll sable and some of th e bu sh
refletli on color, I paint " holes " in the bush wh ere
the distant trees show thro ugh, Finally I add a li ttle
detail to the bUShes in the mi ddle ground and sign
my name.


Sky Reflections

\V~ iu. /to1lUn y(II,,"',

Whift and 1(lIton )'tllow

,,i.n mUl. uluu"",l'ill '
blut " ",/ black

ull ,w" a.j", blu(, a nd


CMlHfYlItJ allor
This quick field study that
I painted on site helps me
gauge the actual (010<5
I observed in this scene.
When painti ng fall (010<5,
Ihe naturat tendency is to
make them too inte nse.
Try this experiment wilen
paint in~ outdoors, Tie
a yellow or red piece of
doth to a tree, and vou'l(
be able to see how much
grayer the leaves really
are in compa rison.

D;lrk Tree Mix

Urr raniarin t blu(,

',," un ),(1" " , ', ttrr" I'OSU,
1'<1 '" 5it .. lla, ,/li d "'hnt

plu .

.1. I'<lmll" "'



'/up. w dmium ),,/lu w

ligh/. II"d ..,hilt

Ullram arin( blur .

( wlmi .HI ml ligh f. t. an,1

,~ ... 5it nna



Since early childhood, Tom Swimm has felt an instinctive need to

painl. Although he is self-taught, he has long been inspired by the
work of Van Gogh, Monet, and Hopper, and he co nsiders these
masters his teachers. To Tom, being an arList is about challenging
himself to evolve crea tively. Tom's [irst one-man exh ibition wa at
the Pacific dge Gallery in Laguna Beach , Californ ia. His wo rk has
also been featured in evera l other California ga ll erie , at AnEx po
ew York , and at the APPAF exhibition in Pari, France. Hi paintings have appea red on the cover or Shyward Marl/eLing's In-flight

MagaZine in 2001 , as well a on the cover of Artist's MagaZine in

1992. Tom won the People' Choice award at Echoes and Visions in
1997 and the


of California Gold Award in 1994. Born in Miami,

Florida, and raised in New York , Tom currently resides in an




Selec:lInl VHr Photo

I selected a photo that had bright colors and
visual interest and croppoed it in various ways

to find a pleas ing composition. I decided the

foreground was too dark and not Important to
the scene, so I ~zlKlmed in on the doorway
itself, eliminat ing Ihe dull. distracting areas. I

wanted to avnid placing tile door in the exacl

{entel Dllhe composi!;nn, so I set it to the
right. which gaVl! me room to include Howers
on the left.




I start with a light underpainting of yellow ochre,

When working with oil paints, I like to work from

dark to light, so I add the darkest colo rs to the paint
ing at this stage. Using a medium flat brush, I applV
a mixture of sap green and alizarin [fimSOn 10 the
leaves and the foreground shadows. Using the out
line undemeath as a guide, I'm actually drawing as I
paint. To add i nterest, I leave some negative space.
To create the leaves, I use the flat side of the brush
and make short, choppy brushstrokes, alternating
the di rection of each stroke. I use a dry brush to pull
some color from the canvas and indicate breaks in
the foliage, adding a sense of realism and depth.

cadmium led lighl, and burnt sienna. I darken the

mi~ture with sap green and Ihen with alizarin crim
son to block in the archway on the lett with a large
nal brush. I indkate the shadow across the door
with a mix of Prussian blue and Payne's gray. I block
in these main areas wi th very thin washes of color. I
make the application thi n enough that I ca n still see
the drawing underneath, which will help me when I
develop details.



Using Prussian blue mixed wi th Payne's gTav, I paint

the doorway shadow and sma ll window opening. as
well as the Shadows cast bV the door handle. NHt I
add a mix of phthalo violet and Payne's gray to the
laev shadows cast from the trees on the right. As
with the leaves. I use a ~ariety of [)rushstrokes and
leave some ~holes~ in the shadows, which breakS
them up and adds visual i nterest. USing vellow
ochre mixed with burnt sienna and a littte cadmium
red light, I add the middle va lues of the front steps
and foreground, along with some deta il in the tree
branches and door hardware. Then I define the flowers with the same dark red mixture.

This is where it starts to get fun and the painting

comes to li fe! In this step. I add the last colors of the
under painting [)efore applving the highlights. USing
a mixture of blue-violet and flesh with a lillIe white,
I paint the surface of the doorway wherever it isn't
shadowed. Then I paint the entire surface of the
walt with a mix of flesh and a little white. USing the
negative spaces I'd created in the previous step as
a guide. After (overing the largest areas,l embellish
some of the details, such as the ~ertical grooves in
the door, with a sligh tly darker mix of blueviolet
and flesh.

Using a mixture of flesh and white. I go back over the entire wall to punch up the lights. I load my brush more
heavily with wlor now and vary the diredion of the brushstrokes to add some texture. I also bring up the
other highlighted areas i n the door and Ihe foreground. When I'm adding highlights, I like to paint loosely and
let the brush do t he work. I'm not concerned with trving to get a pe rfec tly smooth, even surface. BV varying
the direction of the brushstrokes and the pressure, I creale an illusion of dimension and reality. Flat, two
dimensional surfaces are bori ng in any painting. so be spontaneous. Paint boldly and have fun!

Now I add more interest and texture
to the wall with a final application of
brilliant yellow mi~ed with white. I
also soflen the highlights in the door
by going over them with a dry brush.
Using Vellow ochte and cad. red li ght,
I applV one more laver of color to the
ftont steps and create some high
lights with flesh and white. Once I'm
satisfied with these fi nal elements,
all that remains is to bring life to the
flowers and leaves. I bring out the
color of the leaves bV adding various
green mixtures, starting with the dark
est and working up to some final high
lights. As with the door, it's important
to staV loose and not try 10 cover the
whole area. I paint around some of
the dark areas to ,reate the illusion of
bright sun hilling the leaves. Finally
I add the brightest flowers with a
mix of cadmium red lighl and alizarin
crimson for the bougainvillea and add
a few touches of brilliant yellow and
cadmium orange for both the flowers
on the right and the patch of grass in
the foreground.







Once I'm happy with my sketch, I start applying very th in washes with a large
brush. Rrst I block in the basic shapes of the boat and its reflection using a mixture
of yellow ochre, alizarin crimson, and burnt sienna. I use very little pigment at this
po int, as I don 't want to cover up my drawing, which I'll still need for reference.
Then I add a little Payne's gray for t he shadowed areas of the boat. Next I paint the
water with va rious mixes of Prussian blue, viridian green, sap green, cerulean blue,
and phthalo violet.

Now I develop the water by buildin g up each of the values. Although the finished
boat will be almost white, I use much darker colors for its reflection, mixing some
of the colors I used for the water with the boat co lor mixture of yellow ochre, aliz
arin crimson, and burnt sie nna. This creates a deeper blue ve rsion of the boat's
color, which gives the illusio n of dept h and transparency,



For the reflections of the hull, I add burnt sienna and raw sienna to the cerulean
blue and viridian green mixtu re . Then I add a red tint to the shadows with a
mixtu re of alizarin crimson, cadmium red light, and Payne's gray. Next I switch
to a medium-sized flat brush and draw with the paint, adding dark, contrasting
ripples. I create the re flected red stripes w ith ali zarin cr imson, cadmium re d light,
and Payne's gray. For the ma in part of the hull, I use a mixture of yellow ochre
and alizarin crimson. Again I keep my brushstrokes fluid to convey the feeling of
the boat float ing on the water.

Now I define the individual ripples in the water with four slightly different mixes
from step one. I work from top to bottom, placi ng the lighter values toward the
top, which heightens the realism of the water and adds dep th and contrast to the
painting. I also let some of the darker underpainting show thro ugh to give the
waves more dimension. Next I add a thin coat of flesh over the sun lit areas and
define t he shadows with a mix of Payne's gray, flesh , and cerulean blue. I da rken
th is mix for the two lines of tr im on the outside of the hull. For the middle of the
trim, I mix cadmium red light and Payne's gray and use minimal brushstrokes to
give the lines a smooth, un interrupted look.


Now I paint Ihe seats and Ihe wood with a

mi~ture Gf (admium red light and flesh. Then I
whilen the boal, IGilding a medium brush with
a Ihick mix of white and brilliant yellow. I apply
the painlliberally, varying the diredion of my
brushstrokes to create interest and texture.
Accuracy is i mportant, but I don't spend tOG
much time on anyone area; I don't want to over,
work my (olors.llet my brush do the work and
try to (feate an impression of the details rather
than painting photGrealistically. A slightly unfin
ished look {an actually give a painting more
character than a perfectly realistic rendering.


I continue building
up the white Gf the
boat. Then I make
a few adjustments,
adding lighter
reflections to the
hull in the water
and defining the
etements inside
the boat and on the
WGod trim . Finally
I touch up the rope
and add a few
more highlights to
the water althe
tOP of the painting.



Outllnlnl Slulpes
I begin wilh a rough drawing, oullining the
basic shapes with a fine-poinl marker. At this
stage, I'm concentrating on making sure the
perspective and proportions are conee!; I'll
add the details when I paint.

Using a medium flal brush and a mi~ture of Prussian
blue, sap green, and alilarin crimson, I paint the
dark foliage and deline the dark shapes of the windows and shadows. I avoid using black. as I 11'1'1 it
brings a harsh, artificial tone that does not really
exist in nature. EJcperiment and you'll find you can
vary the hue of even the dar kest areas in your paint
ings without ever using black. Next I add more color
to the roof in the center with a mix olyellow ochre
and Payne's gray, varying the direction of my strokes
to crute intere~tin!l tutu,u.




Here I bring oul the middle values with stronger

color and thicker pain!. I use variations of a blueviolet and Payne's gray midule for the hillside, the

I load th e brush with flesh and work on the large

wall o f the bui lding on the right, painting around
the shadows and some of the architectural details.
Using a comb ination of flesh and yellow ochre, I add
highli ghts to the yellew buildings . For the darker
buildings and some roo ftops. I use the bluegray
mixture from step three. Then I apply a mixture of
cadmium red l ight and yellow (Khre to the building
at the bottom center. It's important to have fu n and
let the brush do the wo rk from this point on ; I try
not 10 spend too much time on any particular area.

For the plants and foliage, I applv a variety of green

mixtures ( color mixtures below), varying the
direction 01 my brushstrokes and painting around
Ihe dark areas that j already established in my
underpainting. At this SlagI', the scene sheuld have
a feeling 01 true dimension and depth.

building in Ihe center, the street. and Ihe shadows

on the wall on the fight. I also add some middle
values of the same mixtures to the fotiage. Ihe vines
growing on the roof of one of t he buildings, and Ihe
trees in the background . Once the darks and middle

values of the underpainting are complete, I'm ready

10 enliven the scene.



Once rm happy with my sketch, I apply the first

layer ef paint in thi n washes to establish th e basic
relatienship 01 (olors and values. With a large brush.
I use cole rs straight eut of the tube, starting with
cerulean blue fer the sky, backgrcund hills, street,
and ene building. I use sap green fer the foliage and
mix burnt sienna and ye llew (Khre for the remaining
buildings. To define some of the shadewed areas, I
apply a little Paynes gray. Ne~t I'll add Ihe darkest

I step back and take a look at what I've completed 50 far and decide what I need
10 adjust. I want the sky 10 have a hazy feeling to heighten the contrast in the
buj(ding~, ~ 1mix white with a little flesh color and blueviolet. 1 create the
brightest highlights on the rooftops with a mixture of white and brilliant yellow.
To add a sense 01 texture and realism, 1keep my brushstrokes loose. 1mix cad

mium yellow light and white for the final highlights on the yellow buildings. I
also apply this color to some areas of the wall on the right for interest. I bring
up the lighter values of color in the other buildings and then add highlighls to
the foliage using sap green mixed with cadmium yellow light and viridian green
mixed with yellow och re.



Taklns Photos at Nisht

When photographing a scene like this for refe r
ence, I use a 3smm Sl R camera on a tripod
to keep the focus sharp. The newer digital
cameras also work very well. I prefer to turn
off the flash feature to get the most realistic,
natural light.




I've chosen a smaller canvas for this piece because

I want to c reate a more impressionistic rende ri ng
without worrying about refining every detaiL First
I make a very rough drawing of the bas ic shapes in
the composition on the canvas. Then I tone it with
a thin base coat of magenta acry lic paint.

Once the base coat is dry, I estab lish just t he baSic

values of light and shadow with a thin oil wash that
allows the drawing to show through. I use a large
flat sable brush and Payne's gray, burnt sienna, and
raw sienna, work ing very quickly and using bold,
loose brushstrokes to cover the basic elements.

Next I mix blueviolet
and Payne's gray and
use t he edge of a small
flat sable brush to draw
in some details on the
building. I build up the
color in the awning with
more sap green, and
then I add some Naples
yellow for the highlights. I add further definition to the caf~ interior with a mix of burnt
sienna, Naples yellow,
and Payne's gray. Fo r
the tabl ecloths, I use a
mix of phthalo violet,
blue-violet . and flesh.
varying the direction
of the brushstrokes to
simulate the fo lds in
the cloth.

Now, using the drawing as a guide and referring to
the photo for color. I block in the dark and medium
values. I mix alizarin crimson, Prussian blue, and sap
green for the darkest colors in the tree foliage and
the window shutters. Then I use a mixture of phthalo
violet and cerulean blue for the building. Next I mix
sap green and burnt sienna to begin defin ing the
details in the cafe awning and interior. I use a vari
ety of all these colors for the fo regrou nd to establish
the shadows and reflected light.


I've saved the

brig htest (olo~ lor
last (shown below);
I set up my palelte
wilh cadmium yel
low light, cadmium
orange, brilliant
yellow. yellow
ochre, blueviolet.
and white. I use
cadmium yellow
light as a base
lor Ihe windows
and the lamps,
and then I blend
in some cadmium
o,ange 10 neale
the glow effect.
I build up more
details in the lig ures and the car~
with cadmium red
light, yellow ochre,
and cadmium
orange. Then I mix
brilliant ye((ow with
white and apply
it to the tabletops
and to the lamps,
I use the same
color to add a
lew other random

Next I

apply some yellow ochre to the

foreground and
use blueviolet for
the lettering on the

Crlll/ral) b/)lr


Phthu/u ,io/(/
b/~ r,io/rl

S~p grr'""
)rllol<' ochrf

Cadmi "m rtd ..

Papts grll)"

Bri/Ii""1 )"rl/ol<' ''


Codm;"m )"dlol<' ..
... bitr



While sket(hing from my photo. I decided to
leave out the staffalding on the hillside build

ing and a lot 01 the {Onlusing hardware and

motors on the boats. I even cut a boat from
another photo and pasted it over a distracting
motor (hont left) to improve the compos.ition a

bit. These are decisions that should be made

before you begin the painting, 5(1 you'll have a
dear vision (If the end result.



Once my sketch is in place, I cnver the entire canvas

with it wash of magenla acrylic paint. Then I quickly
apply my transparent oil under painting to help
define the areas of light and shadow. My palette is
very limited here; color isn't as important as value. I
use sap green for the hills, raw sienna for the build ,
ings and some highlights, and cerulean blue mixed
with a little Payne's gray for the sky, water, and

I begin with the darkest areas of the buildings and

trees, using it titr~e flat brush and a dark mix of
alizarin (fimSlIn, sap green, and Pruss Ian blue. I add
some cerulean blue to this mix for the water and
the undersides of the boats and add it lillie burnt
sienna for the boats and reflections. With a mix of
blueviolet, sap green, and Payne's gray, I paint the
trees, leaYing sma ll areas of the darker color show
in, through lor va, iation. For the water, I use ami ..
of blueviolet and Payne's gray, creating ripples
with short, horizontal brushsuokes. I paint the light
reflections in the same manner with a mix of yellow
ochre and burnt sienna,


Now I begin refining the buildings. Wi th a mediumsized flat brush and a midu.e a/yellow ochre, Na ples

yellow, flesh, and blueviolet, I 5tan defining the

tighter areas around the windows and edges of the

buildings. Then I add some detail to the central tower
with a mixture of blueviolet, phtha(o violet, and a
tittle Payne's gray. Using lhe photo as a guide, I paint
in all the areas in the scene in this color ran~e. I keep
things simple, though, and try not to recreate the
photo exactly. I want a good representation of my
subject. but I can record my impre5sion of it without
spending hllurs laboring oYer eyery single detaiL


I need to crealI' some

conlrast in the Shadows of
the buildings. With a mix
of blueviolet and Payne's
gray, I paint some of the
rooftops, Ihe plaza area,
and the hulls of some olthe
boats. I also add some more
details 10 the docked boats
with it mix of cerulean blue.
cadmium red light. and yel
low nchre. Then I use burnt
sienna to loosely paint snme
deta ils on I he cafe. I mix a
little white and flesh into
blueviolet and paint the
highlights on the hulls of
the boats in the foreground.
Then I mix cerulean blue
with white and paint the
sky, adding a few sugges,
\inns of clouds wilh a paslel
mixture of flesh and white.

Ctock TI,."er Detail

I use my smallest
Itat brush to "draw
in the details of the
tower, turning my
bruSh on its side
to get a thin, dean

Glowlns Llshts
I apply thick yellow
and white paint in
a circutar motion to
capture the glow
of street lamps at

Reiledlons Det.1l
I use the edge of a
fla! brush and cre
ate short, tapered,
horizontal strokes
to render realistic
reflections in tile

I suggest some details in the buildings, uSing a mi~ of alizarin
uimson and udmium red light for the fa~ades on the left and the
trim on Ihe right. I mix burnt sienn~ ~nd nesh for Ihe f~~ades on
the right, adding touches of yellow ochre or raw sienna. To ~punch
up~ the light for more contrast, I mi~ cadmium yellow light and
yellow ochre for the reflections on the water and the doorways.
I add white to the same midure for the clock tower. Then I mi~ a
little white with blueviolet and paint a few highlights on the water
in the foreground.' also add this color to the plaza, the ooats, and
a few of the rooftops. I highlight the trees with a mi~ of sap green

and yellow ochre and add some detail to the awnings with a mi~
of (erulea n blue and viridian green. With a mil of white and (ad
mium yellow light, I paint some of the cafe tabletops. Now I add
the brightest highlights. USing cadmium yellow light mi~ed with
a small amount of white, I paint the glowing lights in the cafe. I
lighten up the windows and indicate the shutters with a mix of
cerutean blue and Payne 's gray. I step back and look for any other
areas that need sharpening or rontrast, adding a highlight here
and there to harmonize the oV(!ratl painting.






With the gate set off to the left and the sunlit path

NeJi I establish Ihe large areas of the darkest col ors and begin to define Ihe Windows. walls. and
roof, as well as the shado~ in the foreground. I

I add a thick layer of paint to the wailS 01 the house

with a mix of Payne's gray, burnt umber. and white.
Then I add a mixture of burnt umber. cadmium
orange, and white to the roof tiles and to the under
side of the eaves. I highlight the same area with a
mix of phthalo violet, Payne's gray, and white , and
I paint the windows with a mix of cerulean blue,
Payne's gray, and white. For the foliage, I mix va riations of (erulean blue and sap green, adding bril liant green for the lightest areas. I also define a few
Shadows using the wall (olors.

angled right. this (omposi tion invites you inlo the

painting. enlidng you with a glimpse of the hou~
behind the gate. After sketching Ihe stene on the
canvas and applying a magenta acrylic base wash,
I lay down a thin wash of oils as an underpainting. I

use a large flat brush with burnt sienna, sap green,

blue-violet, and ph\halo violeL

use the edge of a large flal brush, which allows

me to paint details in the gate and the shadows, I
mix sap gr~n, Pruss ian blue, and ali~arin crimson
for the darks, then use a mixture 01 Prussian blue
and yeUow och re on the foliage. The waUs of the
house are a blend of blue-violet, Payne's gray, and
burnt umber, and the foreground shadows are a mix
of {erulean blue and Payne's gray,

Now I add the brightest highlights, for the sky, I
mix a li ttle flesh color wilh white, I paint around
some of the overhanging trees and also add a
few "openings." USing the edge of a small nat
brush as a drawing tool. I add highlights to the
suollwork in the ga te. With the same brush, I
paint the large areas of light in the foreground,
careluUy painting around the shadow areas I've
alreadV established. I mix brilliant yellow and
white and layer this on top of the colors I've
just applied . This really makes the sunli' ground
"pop" and warms it up.

TO finish, I mix some variations of sap green and cadmium yellow light with a
little white and cadmium orange lor the sunlit areas. Ne~t I mix cadmium yellow
light, cadmium orange. and brilliant green to paint the openings in the fen(e
where light shines through. For the bri(k wall, I mix yellow ochre, whi te, and (ad

mium orange, adding a little cerulean blue for the shadows. For the scrollwork
on the gate, I mix burnt sienna and cadmium orange. for a little color accent, I
add the flowers on the left with a mix of phthalo violet and white.


(lloo"na. VI_poInl


I took a number of photos at this location, but

I sketch the scene, adding only as much detail

iliol 01 them didn't turn out to be very compel

ling compositions. In some, the rocks were too
overpowering, and in others the angle of the
beach was flat and uninteresting. I selected
this photo because it had alilhe elements I

wanted to capwre and the poi nt of view


me a sense of standing right there on the


as necesMry to separate the light and dark

areas. After applying t~

base coat. I use a large

brush to block in the
bask shapes with thin
washes or cerulean blue.
Payne's gray, burnt
sienna, and raw sienna.
I define the darkest

values in the rocks with

a mi~ of burnt sienna
and Payne's gray, varying the direction of the
brushs(rokes 10 keep
the fonns from looking
100 static

Now I add the underpainting for the water; I mi~ cerulean blue and blueviolet for
the lightest areas and add ph thalo violet and Payne's gray for the darkest areas.
I also paint the sand below Ihe tide pool in Ihe foreground. I'm ca reful 10 paint
around the brightesl areas of the water where I'll later add the highlights. Then I
mi~ raw sienna and cerulean blue and blend th is ml~ture into the waler that I've
already painted - this gives the effect of transparent, shallow water. Then I apply
this same mi~ture to the shaded bluffs in the background.




To brighten the values in the surf, I apply a mix of blueviolet and white to the
waves and to the ocean in the background. Ne~t I apply a mix of Naples yellow
and yellow ochre to the brightest areas in the hillside. Then I add the white caps
in the water with a mi~ of flesh and light blueviolet. I want to (aplure the hazy
sunshine in this late afternoon scene, but I also want to crea te a subtle transition
hom the blue at the top to the bright yellow at the ho rizon.

Now I mix four colors and applv them from top to bottom: The first is a mix of
cerule an blue . blue-violet. and white. I lighten this mi~ with wt1ite for the second
hue. The third color is a mix of flesh and white. and the fourth is a mi~ture of bril
liant yellow and white. I use a large nat brush 10 apply the (olor and work qukk
IV. keeping the paint wet with medium. I vary the direction of the brushstrokes
and add thick areas of the flesh and Vellow mi~es to create the clouds .

Now I want to bring out some details and vari ations
in t he shaded areas of t he rocks. I mix blue-violet
and Payne's gray for the rocks on the left and mix
raw sienna and Payne's gray for the others. I fill in
large portions of the shaded areas but leave some
of the darkest color showing for depth. I also use
the same color to paint the rocks' re flections i n the
water, which creates a lot of contrast and inte resting
patterns. Then I pa int the foreground sand with a
mixture of yellow ochre and Naples yellow.


Cent /eml bille +

IJhre-viokl +

Poy"e's gmy

Puy"e's gmy

mu eviolel +


Burnt sicllIla +
jlrsll +
wdmiult! o/"(lJIge

yellow +

yellow +
while + fl es h

I mix Payne's gray,
white, and phlhalo
violet for Ihe midrange values in
the grayish rocks
on the left. Then I
mix bu rnt sienna,
flesh, and yellow
och re with a small
amount of cadmi
urn orange for the
remaini ng rocks on
the right. I use a
mix of nesh, wh ite,
and cadmium yel
low light for the
brightest areas
in the rocks, and
I add more white
to these mixtu res
for the tops of t he
waves and the surf.
Now I step back
and take a final
look, mak ing any
small ad justments
that will accentuate
the overall co lor
harmony of the
painti ng.


Applyl". Artistic UcenH

I liked the depth and the panoramic feel of the
scene in this photo, but the foreground was
dull and not very colorful. I decided that once
I had faithfully re ndered the mai n elements of
the composition, I'd get creative and spo ntaneous with the fie ld in the foreground. Taking
libert ies like this with the way you portray a
scene is referred to as "using arti stic license."

Once my simple sketch

and mage nta acrylic
base coat are in place,
I use a la rge flat brush
to lay in thin washes
of cerulean blue, sap
green, burnt sienna,
and phthalo violet over
the basic shapes. I mix
cerulean blue and violet
fo r the hills in the backgroun d, adding a littte
Payne's gray to da rken
the shadowed areas.
Next I add the darkest
values and defi ne the
details in the trees and
the building. I add a
mix of sa p green and
Payne's gray to the hillside foliage, and then I
mix sap green, alizarin
crimson, and Prussian
blue to create a dark
mixture for the tree
trunk and the va rious
building details. I use
a medium nat brush to
paint around the brightest areas of light that
I'll work on next.


I paint the sky with a mix of ceru lean blue and white.
Then I mix cerulean blue, phthalo violet, and Payne's
gray for the farthest hill. I add a little sap green to a
few areas of the hill for interest and add sap green
and alizarin crimson at the bottom of the hill. I bring
up the midtones in the trees w ith a mix of sap green,
brilli ant green, and yellow ochre. Then I add another
wash of blueviolet and phthalo violet to the build ing.
To suggest a lavender field, I create a mix of blue
violet and phthalo violet and apply it to the fore ground with loose, random strokes.

Now I lighten the rooftops and the trees and

enhance the shadows of
the building with strong
colors. I mix flesh w ith
cadmium orange for the
roof tiles and add brillia nt yellow to the mix
for the brightest areas.
For the tree highlights,
I mix variatio ns of sap
green, brilliant green,
and yellow ochre, adding more texture and
detai l than I did In the
background. For the
bu ilding walls, I use a
mixture of blue-violet,
phthalo vio let, and
white. I add some flesh
and yellow ochre to the
mix to bring out the
reflected light, varying
the colors to keep the
walls from looking 100
flat and bori ng.

Tree and Illilclin,

I use a small flat
brllsh for the tree
leaves. aclding a
variety of values
and making quick,
random, dabbing
strokes. For the
tiles on the roof of
the building, I use
the same small
flat brush, but this
lime I make even,
deliberate strokes
to create the sym
metrical rows.

I miK brilliant yellow and white for the final building highlights
and the rocks around the driveway. Then I add more highlights
to the lands(ilpe wilh a miK of flesh and Payne's gray. I paint the
foreground wilh a large flat brush and various mi~es of brllliani
~lIow, (admium orange, phthalo violet, blue-violel, and (admium

light. Atlhis stage, I use a 101 of color, varying the direction of my

brushstrokes and keeping them loose to create merely the impression of the flowers and the field. not a realisli, portrayal of every
leaf and petal. This additional texture also allows Ihe colorful foreground to Mpop~ forward.



(aplurl",. UknHl

The reference photo I chose had a nke (om


Using the edge of a medium flat brush, I first add
Payne's gray and then cerulean blue to the folds
of the shirt and the shadows in the hands, for the
beard, hair, and facial shadows, I use a mix of burnt
sienna and Payne's gray. I define the glasses with
Prussian blue and darken the brim of the hat with a
mix of Prussian I>lue and alizarin uimson.1 also add
a liUle yellow ochre 10 the front of Ihe hat to indi
cate the reflected tight.




Now I establish tile darkest values in the painting

I add yeltow ochre with thick, loose st rokes that

follow the folds in the sh irt. Then I reline the face
and neck with a mix of Indian red and Payne's gray.
I lighten the hands with a mix of cerulean blue and
Indian red, and I mix yellow ochre and cerulean blue
for the shadows of the dulcimer keys. Then I apply
yellow ochre to the front of the dulcimer. With a mix
of cerulean blue and white, I add highlights to the
hair and beard and blend some of this color into the
light parts oflhe hat.

position and didn't need much cropping. I also

liked the pose; the man was concentrating on

his music, no! looking up. and I felt this would

help me capture the essence of this introspective moment. for me. this painting is nlll S()

mudl about the muskian as a face 10 be reellg

oized but as an artist who is bringing hiS gift to
Ihe world anonymously.

with a mixture of PllIssian blue, alizarin crimson,

and Payne's gray. I use a thick, opaque layer of this
mixture lor the pants and the details in the duldmer,

and Ihen I add some burnt sienna to the mix for Ihe
wood lones afthe instrument. I add cerulea n blue \0
the highlighted ~reas and begin to define the chair
with burnt sienna and Payne's gray, USing the thin
edge of my flat brush to "draw" the details.



I stan this !>Ortrait the way I do any subje.::t - with

a rough sketch and underpainting, followed by
thin layers of colot, Once the magenta base (Oat is
in place, I apply transparent oil washes of yellow
ochre, burnt sienna, and Payne's gray to the basic
shapes of the figure with a large flat brUSh . Then I
layer a thin wash of Pruss ian blue on the hat and
apply large, sweeping strokes of burnt sienna color
to the background.




I fill in the negative spaces of the light areas

in the shirt and the dulcimer with rich, warm color.
With a mix of cadmium vellow light and Naples yel
low, t paint the brightest areas of the shirt. For the
highlights in the hands and at the top of the dulci
mer, t use a mixture of flesh and Naples yellow. I
also add a tittle Naples yellow to the uppermost part
of the hat and brighten the highlights in the hair and
beard with a mix of flesh, white, and blueviolet.


Now I just need to add

one more layer of paint to
accentuate the highlights.
I mix cadmium yellow light
and white and apply it
to the upper areas of the
shirt. Then I mix brilliant
yellow and white and add
another layer of color 10
the top of the dulcimer.
the highlights in Ihe
hands, and the remaining
aents in the dulcimer. I
also drybrush a little yel
low ochre into the folds of
the shirt to harmonize the
areas of light and shadow.

Cap DetaIL
Capturing a sense of
realism and texture in
fabric can be easier than
you think, if you just
remember to keep your
brushstrokes loose and
varied. In this detail 01
the cap, you can see that
a gradation of values and
changing the direction of
the bru5h5troke5 sive5 it a
thr~dimensional quality
without a lot of detail.

Shirt Deta il
I use the same technique I
used for the cap and then
highlight the folds of the
shirt with multidirectional
brushslrokes. painting
quickly and loosely. The
key is nol to overwork any
one area; try to he sponta
neous and leI the brush do
the majority of the work!
You'lI actually end up
treating a more realistic



Using a fine'point marker, I make a rough drawing on thl! canvas and then cover it entirely with a thin
base coat 01 magenta acrylic paint. I establish the basic areas 01 wlar and value with a Ihln wash of oils
(burnt sienna, Payne's gray, cerulean blue, and raw sienna) and a large nat brush, working quickly and

loosely. Again the idea is 10 cover the canvas without being too concerned about detail or



I block in each area according to the values I see in the photo, creating a base lor




between Ihe light and shadow. I draw in the darkest values of the trees and foliage with a medium nat
brush and a mix of ali~a,in crimson, sap green, and Prussian blue. Next I use a mixture of cerulean blue
and Payne's gray lor the street Shadows. t add some yellow lKhre to this miJtture to vary the contrast in
a few places. and . also apply it to the underside of the building at the upper left. Then t use a mi~ture of
blue -violet and Payne's gray to blo(k in the shadows on the sidewalk.' add Payne's gray and burnt Sienna to this mi~ to define the shadows in the tree trunk and the sidewalk in the foreground. Then I apply a
mi~ of sap green and cerulean blue to creale same contrast in the trees.




I mi~ blueviolet, flesh, and Payne's gray for the window frames and daalWays.
Next I mix a variety nf different greens for the trees, using sap green, brilliant
green light. yellow ochre. and flesh. I ~draw~ in the trees with a small fla t sable
brush, referring to my reference photo to guide my color chokes. Then I block in
the signs and awnings with a mi~ al cadmium orange and alizarin crimson. I add
more detail ta the shadows in the street with the Payne's gray and cerulean blue
mi~ture from step one. I pain t some of the negative space in the distance with a
mixture of brillian t yellow and white.

I paint the sky with a mix of cerulean blue and white. I use the negative space as
a guide and paint around the foliage, ~punching~ light i n between to break up
the solid mass of leaves. Illrighten up Ihe foliage at the upper right with a mix
of cadmium yellow light, sap green. yellow ochre. and Naples yellow. Then I mix
a few variations of (admium yellow light, cadmium orange, fles.h, and brilliant
yellaw to use in the street. the building highlights, and the tree trunks. By mix
ing a little of each {olor with white. I get a lot of e~dting highlight colors. I use a
mixture of blueviolet, while. and flesh 10 paint the crosswalk lines and then flU
in the Sidewalk with a mi~ of Naples yellow and while. Then I dab on a Ihick mix
of sap green and white for the bush in the foreground and apply a mix of white,
cerulean blue. and brilliant yellow for the bright flowers_


Now I fiU in the brightest highlights and add the final details. First I accentuate
the awning with cadmium red light. Then I add another layer to the building and
the sidewalk, varying th e direction of my strokes and the thickness of the paint
to ((eate texture and ;nteres!.l make some random shapes in the shadows ofthe


with a mix of raw sienna, Payne's gray, and cerulean blue, being sure to
leave some darks showing through underneath. Finally I step back from the
canvas and add a few more pinpoint highlights with a mix of brilliant yellow
and while.






Once my ske tch and base coa t are in place (see

I have two goals for this step: to paint the darkesl

colors and to enhance t he details. I choose a medi-

Next I ad d more d etails an d establish the midrange

val ues i n the shadows wit h flesh , bluevi()let, ceru'
lean b lue. and Payne' s gray. I use th e flesh color
to light en the values and Payne' s gray to mute the
co lor . Next I develop th e tree trunks, the grassy are a
by the dock, and the rema ining water reflect ions
wit h a mix o f sap green an d raw sienna . As in the
previous step, I use a sma ller fl at bru sh \0 refi ne t he

page 4), 1 cre ate the u nderpa inting, I've chosen four

colols to block in the bask elements: cerulean blue

/01 the sky and water. bu rnt sienna mixed with sap
green for th e trees and lan d masses. and raw sienna
fOI the brightest hi ghli ghts on the bu ildings an d
the boat . I ap ply these base C(l10 ' 5 th inly. using a
large fiat b ru sh and thin ning the paint with me di um,

Details and accuracy are not important al this point,

and you don ', have to be afraid of pa inting "outSide

Ihe lines." Kee p il loose!

um n at brush so I can ad d definition to the drawing

a little more accurately. I use it mix of ali zarin crim
son and sap green for the trees, a mix of Pru ssl an
blue and Payne' s gray for the water, and a mixture
of bu rnt sien na and sap green for the det ai ls in t he
boats and the b uildi ngs. Th en I mix cerulean blue
with Payne' s gray for the rooftop on the 11'11 an d the
Shadowed details on the dock pil ings, on the boat,
and on I he buil ding on Ih e right.

Paln llnc Wa ler ReflKllons

Waler can take on many forms, whether calm and still or turbulent and in
motion. And the reflections of objects will appear Quite different depending on
the slate of the water. In water at rest, images iIre reflected almost the way it
mirror reftects, but they aren't exact c()pies. When the wa ter is m()ving, reftec
tions are distorted images of the objects they reflect-they're elongated and
have blurred edges. Here are a few guidelines for painting reflec tions in any


type of water. First note that the colors in the reflections will be a liule less
,ntense than they are ,n the objects themselves. And IIght tolored objects will
appear somewhat darker; darkcolored objects will appear jusl a bit lighter.
finally remember that the object's f()rm W()n't appear quite as (liSp and dis
tinct in the relletlions. even in very calm water. as shown in these steps ()f
painting a boat and its reflection.

For the sky, I mix cerulean blue, blueviolet, and
white. I paint the top of the sky first; then I load a
small brush with sky color to punch holes" through
the tree branches. creating the negative spaces
between the leaves. I gradually add white to the
sky as I approach the horizon line. To highlight the
trees, I apply a mix of sap green. burnt sienna, and
raw sienna. leaving some of the dark colo, showing

All that'slefl is to fill in the remaining areas with the lightest values. whiCh will bring the painting to life and
really make it look like a sunset scene. First I mix burnt sienna with cadmium orange for the tree trunkS, the
wood pilings, and a few of the miscellaneous detailS in the boat. dock. and water. I add some flesh to this
mixture for some of the reflections in the water. Then I lighten some shadows on the boat and the dock using
blue-violet mixed with ftesh. For the final highlights, I mix cadmium yellow light, flesh. and white for the hull
and the wheelhouse of the boat. the buildings, and a few of the details in the mast and the flag. I refer back to
my reference photo one last time and tweak any final details and highlights, applying the paint sparingly with
a small brUSh.



Composing the Scene

The shape and color of nautical objects ma ke
for wond erful still life compositio ns. As I
walked around the deck of th is boat, I took a
bunch of photos at va rious angles; I wante d to
give myself a lot of choices for the final composition. But I kept coming back to th is spot-the
reflected light created an interesting contrast
w ith the cast shadows. I decided to crop the
photo to make the ropes t he dominant visual
element, allowing the shadows to fill in the
lower ha lf of the image.




To simplify the beginning step, I project the photo

image ont o a canvas and use a fi ne point marker to
sketch the composition. As the painting progresses,
1 will actually "draw" in greater detai I with a brush
and paint- in the same way I would use a pe ncil or
charcoal. Next I cover the entire canvas with a thin
base coat of magenta acrylic paint.

Now I establish the basic ton al values with thi n

mixes, app lyi ng the color loosely with a large flat
sable brush. I use flesh for the lightest areas, t he n
yellow ochre for t he highlights at the up per right. I
block in the mast, the life preserver, and the wooden
posts with burnt sienna. Then I add Payne's gray to
the ropes and the shadows in the foreground. Detai l
isn't important at this stage; this layer is a ro ugh
guide, so it's okay to paint "outside the lines. "

M id- Range

PaYlie' 8"a .
" nolmll Blue. flesl"
llitiiall ,-cd

Pay" e's gray, cemIcall blu e,

pili ha lo violet




I work from dark to light, layering ligh ter colors on

top of the unde rpa inting to create a sense of depth
and texture . At this stage, I want to establish the
darkest colors to define the deep outline and shad ow details. Using a medium flat sable brush, I draw
the outline of the ropes, also defining the shadowed
areas. Instead of using blac k, I mix equal parts of
alizarin crimson, sap green, and Prussian blue to
create a rich, deep hue. Someti mes I use more of
one color in the mix; fo r instance, I'll add more
crimson to make th e color a t ouch warmer.

Next I add the mid-range values. I create drama in

the foregrou nd shadows by usi ng subtle co lor variations, ap plying Payne 's gray, cerulean blue, flesh,
I ndia n red, phthalo violet, and white in different
combinations (see color samples) a nd blending with
a medium flat brush. Note that the shadows cl osest
to the ropes reflect the warm colors of the wood,
and they gradually become bluer in the foreground.
For harmony, I use the same colors to bu ild up the
shape and detail in the ropes, the metal plate at the
base of the mast, and the label on the life preserve r.

Mix "bol'e
pillS w" ile

Ce"u/fIUi bille,

fles h

Mix "bol'e
plus w',i le

Now I mix the colors for the ropes (see color sam
pies), applying Ihe blues fi rst and then the warme r
colors in betwee n these brushstrokes 10 add depth.
I use diagonal brushstrokes 10 malch the contour
and texture of the ropes. Then I add highlighls in the
mast and wooden post with yellow ochre mixed with
cerulean blue. For the deeper wood areas and the
life ring, I use Indian red and burnl sienna, I add the
brightest highlighls to the ropes, mixing cadmium
yellow light and cadmium orange. Fi nally I pain t in
the bright areas in Ihe background using cadmium
red light mixed with white and brilliant yellow mixed
with whi te.


PIUiralo bluf.
liXhl blur

C",lmlu", red
light. film.

Ughl bill,
ololn, "-'hilt

FI' IIt, )',Ilow

IKhl't. ",hUt

Plrtiralo bluf.
liXhl blur
'iul,l. " 'hi"

I apply highlights with a mixture of flesh, cadmium yellow tight, and white to the top of the railing, the posts,
and the ropes where they are in dired sunlight. For the de-ck, I first apply a mix of brilliant yellow and white.
The n I paint over it with an even lighter color-a mix of cadmium yellow light, cadmium orange, and white .
I paint the remai ning highlights in the life ring with a mix of cadmium yellow, cadmium red light. Then t mix
flesh into this color to add a few accents In the ropes and shadows, I step back, look at the painting, and then
make a few minor refinements to harmonize the color and details.


),U"" '. "hiU

Cdd",;um ora,,!:,.
I'hlhalo >;olrl,

fl, ""'irr

( wlmi"m
y,Il" .., liglu,

Raw si(mill.





Caroline Zimmermann began painting in oils at age 6 , earned her

Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illus tration from California State
University at Fullerton in 1989, and obtained her Master of Fine
Arts in Painting from the California College of the Arts and Crafts
in Oakland in 1994. She currently resides in the artists' community
of Laguna Beach, Ca lifornia, where he has lived, surfed, and painted [or more than 18 years. Caroline travels extensively and enjoys
painting abroad , most notably in Italy. She has also exh ibited at the
Laguna Beach Fe tival of the Art for 15 year. Her work i featured
in Cal ifornia galleries in

aguna Beach, as well as in Mono CounLY

in the Sierras, Sonoma, and Mammoth Lakes.




Tn create a {Ontfasting

First I mix alizarin

crimson with a little
dioxazine purple . Then I
sketch the scene, estab
lishing Ihe horizon and
the lines of the palm
tree's trunk. I make
dots where I will place
the ends of the leaves
and (onnect the dots
to create the palm's
shape. I finish blocking
in my basic shapes by
adding more purple to

under painting, I use a

mi~ of alizarin crimson,
dioxazine purple,lndian
yellow, transparent

orange, and magenta.

I thin the mixture with
turpentine and apply
the wash with a medium

brush.' will be dedica ting the top 2/3 (lIthe

canvas to the sky, so

I de<ide to add more

orange In the sky area,
as orange is the ,omple

the crimson mixture

and placing the darker
areas of the trunk, the
leaves In the bushes,
and the shadows below
the tree . (To crealI' the
palm tree's leaves, see
the detail on page 97.)

ment 01 blue. I do this

with a mix of Indian yel

low, transparent orange,

and quin;lcrid(lne pink,
Then I leI the paint dry
before con tinuing to the

ned step.


SliP g'rcn and

Jrnlon )riJuM'

S<l1' 11.' (( " ~",l

uJiz<lfi l! ('i"'WI!



The (oln' of the water changes as the depth changes. becoming darker as the

Now I Mock in the colors of the sky. I mix one pari ultramarine blue to three parts
white and just a dab of phthalo blue. When painting Ihe sky, I ~cut in around the
palm leaves, meaning that I create the shapes of the leaves by pain ting the sky
around and between them. {This tl!'(hnique is called ~negative painting,W because

waler gelS deepe r, I begin with the darkest areas of water at the ho rizon, using

broad strokes of ultramarine blue with dabs of phthaio blue and phtha(o green,
I work toward Ihe Shore, mi~ing in l ints of phlhalo blue and green and gradually
adding white as the water becomes more shallOW, I keep lightening the mi~ture
until there is very little green pigment left, and I add it touch of lemon yellow for
the shallowest areas, I pai nt the sand and any bits of flotsam on the beach with
white mixed with transparent orange, Indian yellow, and dioxaz ine purp le. I add
dark colors to the foliage of the shrubs with it mixture o f ultramarine blue, dioxa
zine purple , and sap g reen. I block in the dark parts of the clouds with a mixture
of dioxazine purple, ultramarine blue, and a little white, and then I outline the
general cloud shapes. I don't emphasize them too much as they're merely the
backdrop, and I don't want them to conftict with my main subject.

you define an objed by painting the negative space around il rather than paint
ing the object itself.) Next I add more variation to the (olor of the water using
light blue mi~tures of phthalo green and phthalo blue, For the shallowest waler,
I use white mixed wit h a dab of dioxazine purple and Indian yellow, Then I add a
bit more yellow and orange to the white and deve lop the highlights on the sand.
I paint the dark areas of the palm leaves with !WIp green mixed with alizarin crim
son and allow the painting to dry before I (ontinue to the ned stage.



While the paint is wet,

I block in the palm
leavl'S by removing
paint instead of adding
it. To do this, I clean my
brush with solvent, blot
it on a rag, and lift the
color away to indicate
w!1ere the highlights
will be. This is a for
giving technique for
indkating lighter areas
without the mess of
adding white paint.

Step Two
I create the shapes
nf the palm frnnds by
painting the sky and
douds in and around
them, as described in
step fnur on page 96.
Then I use my small Rat
brush and short, delib
erate stmkes to create
the tips of the leaves.
I start at the center of
the branch and stroke
outward. lifting my
brush at the end to ere
ate the sharp point.

Step Three

Step Four

Now I indicate the

undersides of the palm
leaves (in Shadow)
using a dark mixture of
sap green and alizarin
crimson. (I render each

Next I add the high

lights using sap green
mixed with varying
amounts of each yel
low cnlor in my palette,
plus transpa ren t orange
and white. I alternate
between dark and light
to define the details of
the branches. I bring
Ihe lightest whiles of
Ihe douds inlo the
(eaves with the same
culling technique I
used before.

individual leaf with this

wlor.) Then I paint the
top sides of the leaves.
mnre sap green to the
mix until there is very
little red pigment left in
the mixture.


Now I focus on Ihe palm tree. I concentrate

on showing the motion the wind creates as it
blows through the leaves. I follow tile steps
outlined below to develop the palm fronds and
then paint the center of lhe tree, making my
strokes follOW the round shape of the trunk. I
paint Ihe coconuts and Ihe texture of Ihe Irunk
with mixlures of dioX3zine purple. Iransparent
orange. and some of Ihe green mixtures of
detail step four.


I apply the brightest highlights of the leaves, trunk, sand,

waler, and douds al the ve ry end of Ihe painling so thaI
Ihese elements seem 10 shimmer in the tmpical sunlight.
I finiSh the painl ing by applying a glaze over the entire
surface to unify the painting and adjust some of the
colors. My goals are tn deepen the lop of the blue sky.
lone down Ihe red of Ihe upper branches, and deepen Ihe
foreground shadows. So I prepare a glale with a hint of
ultramarine blue added to alkyd resin medium (a medium
that speeds up the drying time of oil paints) and apply it
to the upper areas and the foregmund with a small brush .
Then (coat Ihe entire painting with a dear glaze nf medi
urn, rubbing away the excess with a Rannel rag.






To accent and create contrast w ith the greens and yellows of the rooster, I apply
an underpainting using a mixtu re of alizarin crimson, dioxazine purple, Indian
yellow, transparent orange, and magenta. I paint loosely and bold ly with a large
brush, elimi nating the white of the canvas. I make the t op port ion of the canvas
warmer and lighte r an d the lower half coo ler and darker.

I sketch my composition with a medi um bright brush and a t hin mix of alizarin
crimson an d dioxazine purple. I work loosely and start developi ng the rooster's
feather patterns. I want him to be proud and upr ight, with a billowing tail. As
I build the rooster from a series of oval shapes , I pay attention to the relation
shi p betwee n the head and t he rest of his body and try to capture the feeling of
motion in his legs. To simp lify the background, I make the wall out of rocks, and
loosely indicate cracks and lines.



Next I develop the comb and the throat feathers with a medium flat brush, using
a th in mixture of alizarin crimson, sap green, and magenta. Then, using a large
flat brush, I work on the texture of the stucco wall, creating bits of stone and
mortar and inventing patterns. I create my own brown mixtures using varied
amounts of dioxazine purple, transparent orange, Ind ian yellow, and titanium
wh ite, scattering bits of rocks and st icks on the ground. I enjoy using my imagi
natio n, as it's a pleasant change from constantly re ferring re ligiously to a photograph. I let the pa int dry long enough to "set," so that it's tacky (but not neces
sarily dry) and won't be easily smeared .

Using a large flat brush, I block in t he darkest colors of the stones with a warm
brown t hat I created from tints of pu rple and ultramari ne blue mixed with transparent orange. I bring up the wall with white mixed with transparent orange,
Indian yellow, cadmium ye llow med ium, and purp le. I paint neck feathers (see
color mixes on page 99) and block in the dark teal feathe rs wi th a mix of ult ramarine blue and sap green. Whe n I painl roosters or chickens, I use bo ld, wide
brush strokes and a lot of color to paint the feather.

Neck feathers

Now I rl1ndl1r thl1 details, adding smalll1r stonl1s nl1ar

thl1 base 01 his tail with lightl1r shadl1s of purple. I
apply highlights to thl1 tail feathers and legs using
various midllfes of phthalo grel1n and whi!l1. I bl1g,n
the eye with a dark mixture of .llilar,n crimson and
transparl1nt orangl1 and paint thl1l1ghter aru with
a touch of cadmium Vellow med ium. I purpose
fully don't use ~l1arth colors" - such as raw umbl1r,
burnt sienna. or ochres - bet:ausl1llike to creatl1
thl1sl1 tonl1s by combi ning (Ompleml1nlary colors
with more vibrant pigml1nts. For example, I use the
complements 01 purples and blues - variations 01
yellow and orange -t inted with white to make vivid

T '"""Sp<lr,"/

",ang. ,,,,d cmi.

y dl,,>!' ", edi um

""'"ge and
di"x(llill, pllrp/r

Tail feathers



".J ullra. blu,

Ph/ hal" gra n,

I,mon )'cll" ....
""d ,,-bil(


Cad. fe,1 m,di

unr ~ "d "'hll'


I place a t iny speck 01 white on the upper part of the pupil. This
simple louch makes the eve (Ome to life. I add a t int of cadmium
red medium to the rooster's (Omb and use cadmium yellow light
mixed with Indian yellow to accent the golden neck feathers and
the tips 01 the back feathers. I mix phthalo green with lemon yel
low tinted with white for the feet. To accentuate the rooster's rich
colors, I make the background recede with a transparent glaze
of alkyd resin, ultramarine blue, a touch of dioxaline purple, and
sap green. I use a sott flannel rag 10 wipe awav areas that are too
dark. Then I apply a lighl coating of alkyd resin medium tinted

with transparent orange. When the glaze dries, I bring out the
highlights aga in and (Ontinue thiS process 01 adding layers of
highl ights until I'm satisfied. For the finishing touches, I tint the
leathers with light brushstrokes 01 white. I use a smaller brush for
the delicate, small feathers and the pieces of hay under his feet.
With a medium flat brush, I create the farmyard dirt and stones
with varied mixes of sap green, dioxazine purple, ultramarine blue,
and a small amount of whi te,leaving the area under his feet dark
to indicate shadows. Using vertkal strokes 10 creale Inture. I go
over the background agai n with a m,xtllfe olwhite and yellow.

Cad. rfd "'fdi um

"lUI ~Iiz~d"







For most underpaintings, I instinctively use the com

plementary colors of the subject 10 create the most
visua l intensity-for example, red for a green plant
or orange for a bl ue sky. However, in this sunflower
painting. I am using the reds of Ihe underpainting
not only to contrast, but also to create depth in the
darks of the background surrounding the flowers.
I covered the white of the canvas with a mixture of
alizarin crimson, dioxazine purple, Indian yellow,
t ranspare nt orange, and magenta, th inning each
pigment with a few drops of solvent to create a flu id,
transparent mixture .

I sketch the basic shapes with a combination of

alizarin crimson and dioxazine purple mixed with
solvent to create a fluid mix that lends itself to
drawing with a brush. I create the general composi
tion by drawing basic geometric shapes. keeping the
definition to a minimum. Then I start blocking in the
darkest areas, as shown.

Once I am satisfied with the genera l harmony of my

compOSition, I draw the objects in greater detail.
Using thinned alizarin crimson, I plol out the textures
and patterns of the various elements. The better the
drawing. the easier and more fun the later stages
become as I appty the opaque pa int. I compare this
stage to the crealion of a cake: I've measured my
ingredients, mixed them, and now I am preparing
to bake. The success of my creation begi ns here,
and taking shortcuts can lead to messy and time
consuming mistakes.


~ \ f ,




Step One
In many paintings of
sunflowers, the flow
ers are ptaced in a
bright. sunlit setting.
But I want to tone them
down in my painting to
enhance the mood, so I
begin with a very dark
mixture of cadmium
yellow medium, trans
parent orange, and
dioxazine purple.



Step Two

Step Three

For the dark centers, I

use a mixture of ultra
marine blue, dioxazine
purple, sap green, and
alizarin crimson. I begin
gradually lightening
the pelals with a mix of
cadmium yellow light
and transparent orange.
This creates a rich, yet
slightly lighter hue.

Now I've lai d in my

da rkest va lues and I'm
ready to build up the
li ghter co lors of the
petals. I touch each
petal with a mixture
of lemon yellow and
Indian yellow, strok
ing in the direction of
the growth-from the
center outward to Ihe
disti nct points of the

Step Four
Although I wanl my
overall painti ng to be
dark and moody, I still
li ke the contrast of vivid
highlights on the pet
als, This heigh tens the
dramatic feeling of the
pa inting. I add Ihe final
light touches to the
petals with a slightly
lighter ve rsion of the
mix used in detail step


I combine cadmium yellow medium with t ransparent orange and a daSh of dioxazine purple to begin
the sunflower petals, work ing from dark to light.
I define my underpainting with opaque pigments,
blocking in the colors with bo ld strokes and a large
flat brush. For the greens of the leaves, I mix various
values of sap green and lemon yellow. I create the
fabr ic C>f the towel with a combination of ultramarine
blue, phlhalo blue, and while, applying the darkest
values fi rst. I paint the darkest shadowed areas with
variations of ultramarine blue, dioxazine purp le, sap
green, and alizarin crimson. I also use various mixes
of this "black" for the centers of the flowers. the
candetabra, and the background shadows. I let the
pa inting dry completely before applying glazes.

lEus ilnd Brnd Da ... Values

In this painting, the glazes playa major part in

developing details and u~ating mood. I think of

glazing as pushing and pulling the subjl!i:ts of my
painting in and out of the picture plane. For exam
pie, I think the yellows of the sunflowers are too
bright and need to recede Into the background, so
I push them back with a glaze of alkyd resin, ultra
marine blu~. sap green. and a touch 01 dio~aline
purple. I use a soft flannel rag to wipe out areas I
want to pull forward, leaving other areas dark, such
as the bowl, the shadows, and the wooden drawers
in the background. When the glaze dries, I bring
out my highlights again and continue glazing and
highlighting, creating more luminous depth with
each layer.

r.,:msf'<l,rlll oru'!gt und




orU'lgt a.rd

cadmium ytU" ... "udiunI

IEIgs and Bread Llghl Valu es

r"a~sf'<l .rlll


orw!gt and
ytll~ ....

Tr<lllSpa'rnr orangt
and ..~i/(


This is the step that I consider the

most fun. I apply the brightest whites
to the bowl, the platter, and the white
CIUsts of bread. I add a subtle dab of
white on each egg. the towel, and the
canister to make the painting sparkle
and give optimal depth. I add some
final touches, applying a few more
highlights 10 sharpen Ihe foliage and
flowe r pe tal~.






I begin with transparent washes of Indian yellow,

Once I am sa tisfied with the general harmony of the

composition, I begin to draw the objects in more
deta il. I use alizarin uim~n mixed with 50lvent and
a medium flat b rush to begin plottinG out the forms
01 t he glass and the reflective patterns on the silver
shaker. Irs importanlto establish the correct per
specti~ of the glass and the shaker at this point;
as always, the better the drawing, the easier and
mo re fun the later stages become!

The besl way to convey a refledive metal surface

(such as the shaker) is 10 juxtapose light and dark
shapes. I use a small flat brush and a mix of alizari n
crimson, sap Green, and magenta to add more detail.
Wh ile the paint is still wet, t also paint in a wreduc
tive" manner; I clean my brush with sotvent, blot it
on a rag, and lilt away paint w11ere the highlights
will be. With this technique. I utilize the white of the
canvas to indicate the highlights rather than relying
on messy whi te paint.

transparent orange, and magenta. Once the paint

ins is completely dry. I loose ly sketch in the com
position, using a medium nat brush and a mix of
alizarin crimson and di(lxazine purple. I block in the

basic shapes. sketching the martini glass and the

shaker inside two cylinders to help define their forms.




Now tlayer "om dark to light to build a 'ith rellee:live surface. first I UI~ale foliage behind the shaker

Whe n painting glass and metal. keep in mind that

you're actually painting reflections 01 light. There
are many variations in th e grays of this scene; I use
mixtures of comp lementary colors tha i are already
lin my palette. always adding a tlluch lIf white tll
create a mutl'iJ to ne. I mix the warm grays with
lemo n yellow and dioxazine purple and use a mix o f
ultramarine blue and transparent orange for the cool
grays. I also use touches of cadmium yellow medium
and white to form highlights, build up midd le tones
In the olives, and paint reflections i n the glass.

with mixtures of sap green and alizarin crimson .

Then I add small amounts of cadm ium yellow medium to combinations of alizarin crimson, sap green,

and ultramarine blue to create the wood surfaces.

adding a little more cadmium yellow medium for
the panel in the backgl'Ound. Fo r the dark areas of
the silver and the glass, I use mixes of sap green,
ultramari ne blue, and alizarin (fimson. I also block
in the olives (see detail al right).


Ste p One

Step Two

I loosely sketch the

shape of the fork and
the olive with alizarin
crimson mixed with

Next I block in the

darks of the olives
us ing a dark green,
whiCh is a comb ina
tion of sap green and
transparent orange.

Step Three
Then I apply mixes of
sap Green and cadmium yellow medium
to the light areas of
the olives, u5ing cad
mium red medium
and alizarin crimS(ln
for the pimentos.

Step Four
I use a mix (If sap
green and lemon yel
low for the highlights,
and then I add a final
touch of white. Next I
add the pimento high
lights with a mix of
cadmium red medium
and cadmium yellow

Now I put some sparkle
on the reltedive sur
faces and bring out the
highlights. But to main
tain the optical illusion
of depth and reflection,
I pay close alieni ion to
the darkest shapes.
I apply Ihe lightesl val ues (white mixed with
touches of the gray
tones from step five) to
the reflections on the
shaker, the fork. and
the liquid in the glaS5.
Then, to create the thin
white highlights,l drag
the ed~e of a me<lium
flat brush perpendicularly across the painting
surface. Finally I add
the final highlights
to the olives and the
painting is {ompletecheers!





Kevin Short's art training started as a child with watercolors and

crayons on the kitchen floor. Years later, he studied painting at the
University of

ew Mexico and Pepperdine University at Malibu ,

California, and he graduated with honors from Art Center College

of Design in Pasadena, California. Kevin now dedicates much of his
art to depicting the disappearing vistas of California. Between exhibitions of his work, he teaches workshops and gives demonstrations
to beginn ing and experienced artists alike. Kevin is a member of
the American Society of Marine Artists, the Californ ia Art Club , the
Laguna Plein Air Painters, and Oil Painters of America, and he is
also [he president of the Capistrano Plein Air Painters' Association.
An international award -winning artist, his aTlwork is feaLUred in
private collections around the world.



Using a large filbert brush, I start wilh a thin mix of Ihe darkest shadow (olor

(arbalOle violet mixed with quinacridone violet, medium blue, and white) and
draw over my pencil Sketch. ' pilint the darkest sections first : the Shadows of the

tracks . the edge of tile bluffs. and the surfer (see color sample at rig ht). Then I
use pure cadmium red li ght, quinacridone red, and udmium orange to block in
Ihe sand and sky and medium blue for the ocean. Because this is a sunset 5o(ene,
the overall tone of the painting is warm, so even the Kcool K Shadow colors will
seem warm next to the warm tones.

Sketthln, tile Vl s lI. thlh

I begin by shlching out some
small layout ideas to help me fig
urI' Qut the "flown of the design. In
this case I'm using the perspective,
the surfer's ga2e, and the surfboard
as strong diretional elements. The
arro~ on the thumbnail sketches
show how the viewers eye will be
led lirst to the surler and then out
to the rest of the painting.


Track Shadows
Medium bhre. (m lx,<"le
,i"lct. quinuCfid"ne
,Imet. "nd ~h;u

MV goal at this point is to get rid of
the white of the canvas bV blocking
in all the major areas of color. With a
medium bristle brush, I scrub in cad
mium red light, quinacridor\(! red, and
cadmium orange for the sand near the
shoreline. I blend in some more cad
mium red light and cadmium orange
as I paint toward the tire tracks. and I
add Carbazole violet to th is same mi~
ture to block in the rocky bluffs. Then
I mi~ the sand color with medium
blue, phthalo ~reen, and white for lhe


C,:r .bazo/r I' joln

mt dium btut. ,:r~d "'hilt

With a medium round brush, I block in
the rest olthe sky, blending from top
to b-oltom as I work. I use pure colors
here-I can always correct them later
if they look too bright. Next I apply
cadmium yellow medium with a touch
of phthalo green al the top. (This is
also the same wlor I use for the surf
board.) Then I use cadmium orange in
the lower hall of the sky, and I add a
little quinacridone red at the horizon
line. The distant ocean Is a lave nder
mix (see color sample above) that I
ble nd up into the sky. adding a little
quinacridone red 10 make it hazy
and help create the illusion of depth.
The foam on the waves isn't actually
white; the dark pan is a greenish blue
(phthalo green mixed with while, cad
mium vellow medium, and medium
blue), and the highlights are pink
(quinacridone red mixed with white.
and a liltle cadmium vellow medium).
I place all these (010r5 with a small
round brush.



Nut I start working on Ihe distant

blulls. With a small filbert and a (ombinati on of phthalo green, cadmium
yellow medium, and some of the
orange sky mixture hom step one,
I paint the sides of Ihe middle OIuffs.

As the bluffs recede into the distance,

I add a lillie more s~y color 10 Ihe
blend. For Ihe closest part of lhe
bluffs, I use a rich midure of udmium
orange, quinauidone red, cadmium
yellow medium, and a tittle white and
lay it on thickly wilh a small filbert. I

also mix the sand shadow color into

Ihe bluff shadow color to create a third

that I use to further develop Ihe

forms of the blu ffs.

I add the lifeguard tower and distant houses with a mix of cadmium

orange, cadmium yellow medium,

phlhalo green, and a little white. The
houses farthest away are a {ool, rosy
purple {a milt of Carb;Jzole violet and
white wilh a little of the orange sand
(olor). I use a lighter warm orange
mix (cadmium orange, cadmium red
light, and cadmium ~lIow medium
with white) for the highlights. Using
a small filbert and a bright yellow mil(
of cadmium yellow medium, a touch
of phthalo green. and while. ' creale
green highlights on the surfboard 10
draw the
directly to the surfer.
This complementary highlight will
capture the viewe r's eye, much the
same way the only two red umbrellas
amid hundreds of black umbrellas
att ract attention. I refine the surfe.
with a small round brush and a very
dark mix of Carbazole violet and
phlhalo green.




After standing back and assessing my
work, t decide to make some slish t
alterations. I lighten up the sky by
mixing a light creamy color (white,
cadmium orange, cadmium yellow
medium, and quinaclidone violet)
directly i nto the wet sky (l)lor and
blending il in e~enly with a medium
round brush. I think the sand needs
to be cooler, so I wort. some blue
into the wet paint with a small filbert.
The tire tracks need a slightly darker
shadow - I mix a dark purple and dab
it on top of the tracks, lea~ing some
(If the original (l)lor showing Ihr(lugh.
I also change the shape 01 the tracks
slightly. straightening out a few
bumps. Since the foreground high
lights in this painting are the center of
inte rest, I'~e created them with care
ful and deliberate strokes and left the
other elements in the paInting loose
and less detailed.


For the highlights on Ihe lire tI'J(ks, , usc

a mix of cadmium red light, Carbazole
violet. and cadmium yellow medium .
, heavilr load a round brush a nd paint
short, simple strokes along both sides of
the nacks.


, lise just a few simple strokes to create

the figure. Notice that cven with absoIUlely no rendered detail. your eye fills
in what the brushstrokcs only suggcst: a
surfer walking with a surfhoard. Scale is
important, so par attention to the size of
the figure in relation 10 its surroundings.



With a pencil , I draw the horizon line, then the tracks and bushes
and the other basi< elements, laking carl' to getlhe pi'f5pedive
corrett. I paint the shadows of lhe tu!slle with a mi~ of Carbazole
violet, ultramarine blue, and quinacridone red. As I paint toward
the distant part of the trestle, I blend in a mixture of Carbazole vio-

let, ultramarine blue. and white. With a small round brush, I block
in the bushes with thick strokes that mimic their growth. As the
foliage recedes inlo the distance, I use less and less blue unlill

am USing a mix of only phlhalo green, cadmium yellow medium.

Carbazole violet, and white. This mlar change creates a (alar
pathway that leads the viewer's eye through the painting. crea ting
extra movement and interest.

I add a little of the trestle shadow color to the darker mix I used
fo r the bushes and place a few strong shadows in t he foreground
and neat Ihe trestle, I paint in the ocean on the right wilh a small
flat brush and a mixture of ultramarine blue , phthalo green, and
white. It lookS bright now. but later t'll add some sky (olor to tone
it down. I stroke in a mix of ultramarine blue. Carbazole violet.
quinauidone red, and white onto the track with the same small
flat brush. I also add more white and ultramarine blue to cool the
mixture as the tracks disappear into the distance. Sometimes I mix
colors together directly on my canvas: I find that the new colors
that often appear in the blend help the overall color harmony of
the painting.

I block in the mountain and then create a pale yellow mixture for
the sky with white. cadmium ye((ow medium. and ultramarine blue.
I mix a lot of this sky color: I'll save some to blend it into the other
color elements later to give t he illusion of a very hazy atmosphere.
And if an element of the painting "pOpSH forward too much. I sim
ply add a litlle sky color to it. I start by first painting the mountain
i n the distance and then thickly layi ng on the sky colors with a
medium round brush.

I blend some of the sky color into the mountain until it starts to
disappear, alternating between the two colors. Then I scrub in the
sand and add yellow to Ihe edges of the path for variation. I add
thick highlights to the bushes with various mixtures of ultramarine
blue, cadmium yellow medium, white, and phthalo green. I save
the brightest highlights for the foreground; I dab in flowers and
highlights with a mix of udmium yellow medium and a little cad mium orange, white, and phthalo green.


Nel<l I add the final sand

color. Then I darken the
palm tree on the left to
bring it forward with a
mix of Carbazole violet.
ultramarine blue, and
phthalo grei!n.1 place
the two figures with a
small round brush and
a dark mix of Carbazole
violet, quinacridone red,
and ultramarine blue.
Where the sandy path
recedes. I add some sky
tolor to my sand mix
near the horizon.


C",oo'l"I, ,i"If! , 'I"in,reri,IDlr


cadmium ,,'~n!:,.
cadmium )dr" ..
m,di,.m, unJ whir,

Si nd Shidow5

Ca ,""::ol, ,io\(l.
"llramllfj"t blur. quinacSTEP SIX

I add some blighlred

flowers 10 the bushes
in the foreground with
a mix of quinacridone
red and white. I also
paint in the structure
nn the right with a few
quick strokes. Then I
refine the figures by
painling Iheir dnlhes
and surfboards and
decide I'd like \0 add
one more direct ional
element. I quickly add
a surfer gning the nther
dirMtion, and that dnes
the trick.

rj,Io", 1(,/,
(admll"" Ol"<lIIgt.
cadmiu m )'tl!ow
,"rdium. (lnd whilr

I finalize the tracks by painting highlights on the gravel. Stalting wilh the track
tolors! used in step five,! add more quinauidone red and white.! highlight the

tracks with mo re ultramarine blue and white and add a few last bright hIghlights
to the foreground bushes.

A California native, Frank Serrano was a successful commercial

artist before deciding to pursue his passion for fine art painting in
the early 1990s. Since then, he has participated in numerous exhibitions , including the California Art Club Gold Medal Exhibit. He
also conducts workshops on location and in his studio. Frank travels th roughou t the wes tern s tates, painting scenes that range from
the desert southwest LO the beautiful high country vistas of the
Sierras. Although the majority of Frank's work is done on location,
he also paints in his studio , creating larger pieces from his finished
on-site sketche . Frank i a member of the California Art Cl.ub and
currently resides in outhern California.




he plcin air ( Frenc h for "open ;lir") painting Style l~volvcd in

the laIc 191h celllury on lhe heels of Ihe Realisl and Impressionist movements. Tired of rendering nature from indoors, arlists from the Barbizon school in France started bringing their
easels outdoors in the hopes of finding the ~ trulh" of a I:museap\'.
Around the sallie lime. the plein air slyle received a funher boost
wht-n collapsible tin paint mbt's and portable easels were invented_ Ahhough th ese new plein air artists were criticized a1 first for
their loose, ~ unfinishcd" stylc. painting outdoors soon bc(ilmC
a wcll-rcs pc(tcd \"cnturc. Today plcin air painting is still highl>'
regarded; many believe it allows the artist to experience a natural
landscape and translale il dirceLly to the canvas. There's an alm ost
con tagious excitcmerll in capturing a 1ll0llleIH on canvas that


contin ues to intrigue landscape artists and art lo\'ers alike. Most
plci n ai r artists' intent is not to re-c reate nature exactly but to
tTuthfull)' express their impression of it. As you lea rn the art of
painting "'en plein air," you'll find that content becomes more
important than technique. You'l! learn to restrict your paintings to
only those elernellls that help you tell a Story or convey a mood.
Generally. your style will become looser as you're forced to work
quickly 10 capture the cons!alllly changing light and weathe r
conditions. The amount of subject mailer outdoors is endless!
You ma)' find a fantastic s ubject at an exotic location. at a fa\"orite nature spot, or evell in yo ur own backyard. The key is to stay
nexiblc and have fun-then painting outd oors can be a truly
enlightening experience!




When painting outdoors, 1 lake mineral

$pili ts 10 dean my
brushes, I also bring
linseed oil 10 thin
the consistenty of
my paints, making
them easier to apply
;lIld blend. 1 usc a
cOlllmercially made
has a leak-pro of, rubber-sealed lid that
locks shut so the mineral spirits won't spill.

Most plein air artists use a wooden easel

called a R poch ade ~ ( French for ~(Iuick
sketch" ). A pochade is a combination porlable casel and pllin t box that sits on top
of a Iripod. These easels come in different sizes and conngurations. with various
compartments. The best ones arc made
of hardwood and are well~c rafted, so they
should lasl a lifeti me. They a rc available
ill art supply stores or through an supply catalogs. Choose o ne lhat is compllCl
and light enough to carty hUI has enough
room for you to setup all your supplies.



My palette is wooden and it is built right

into my pochadc. After painting for II couple of hou rs, Ill)' palette gelS crowded with
mixed colors; I scra]>c it off o nce in a while
with my palette knife. You Illay wall\ to
CO\'CT your pa lenc with plaslit, wrap before
you star! mixing, for easy disposal when
you're ready to pack up and go home _

The way in which you sel u p you r supplies will depend on whet her you arc
right- or left~ handed and what feels most
comfortable for yo u. [ usually place my
easel in the shade, fa cing away from the
sun. You can also attach an umbrella 10
your easel for shade-hut Slay away fWIll
brightly colored or white umbrctlas; they

m elll i container fo r my thinne r , il

can reneet their own color or altow 100

much light onto your paint ing. It's also
smart 10 wear darker clothi ng thaI won' t
rcllect light o nto your canvas. Finall y tic
a plastic bag 10 your ellsel fo r easy d isposa l of trash and used rags-and you might
wlmt to spr<1}' some bug repencnl llround
yo ur work area.

Although you should keep your supplies

light and portable. there arc a few olher
items you might need. Don'l hike out 100
far without enough food and water to sus"
tain YOll fo r Ihe day. A ha t and su nscreen
arc essential. even o n cloudy days. A small,
plastic poncho is inexpensive lmd invlIluable on rainy days, and don't forget a jack"
ct. hand warmers. and a Ihermos of YOllr
fa vorite warm bever<1ge on cold dllYs. You
may also want a Ilashlight. masking tape.
a nd cord or twi ne to secure you r setup in
case it"s v.indy.



aruUH . nd knives
I use Qnly three brushes when painting outdoors:

flat bristles in sizes 6, 4. and 2 (I paint on smaU

canvases}. I also have a long, flat, rectangular
kni fe for mi~ing (olors and a small triangula r
shaped painting kni fe.

Some aft stores sell wooden (ases with builH n
dividers for transporting your paintings. They
wme in various sizes, a nd some are even adju~t
able. Carriers are great because they keep wet
paintings separated so the (olor doesn't smear.

c.nvu Boards
for plein air pain ting, I recommend using commer
ciany prepared canvas boards in small standard
sizes, such as 8~ ~ 10", 9~ x 11", and 11" x 14".
These readylo use.lighlweighl panels have preprimed canvas glued onto cardboard.

A sketchpad comes in handy for working out a
composition before beginning a painting. I some
limes use a marker to draw because it forces me
to simplify my drawing.

S.ltI nl up My Tools
Before I begin to paint, I always arrange my tools in
the same place on my easel. I also place the colors
on my palette in the same place every lime. This
way, I can paint quickly, wilhout having to think
about where everything is.

PnlparlllJ tD 6D

I U'>l' a small backpack 10 tranSllOrI anything that

doesn't fit in my pochade. I suggest thai you pack
up your supplie5 ahead 01 time and keep them
separate from your studio supplies. That way
you'll always be ready to go!






For this bright sky, I use a small brush an d sketch

in the general shape of the cum ulus clouds. Next,
using my large brush, I paint the sky around the
clouds with a generous mixture of titanium white,
ultramarine blue, and a dab of phthalo gre en.

Here, using a thin laven der mixture of ultramarine

blue, alizarin cri mson, and titanium white, I paint in
the shadows beneath the cl ouds with quick, horizontal brushstrokes. As with any othe r object, where
the clouds recede, their color is less intense .

For the final step, I paint in the remaining cloud

color using a t hick mixture of t itani um white and
dabs of cadmium yellow pale and alizari n crimson .
Then I soften some edges usi ng my fi nger and a
paper towel.




To create the om inous mood of a dark, sto rmy sky,l

first scrub in a dark bluish base color of ultramarine
blue, alizarin crimson, and a touch of burnt sienna,
avoiding the area where I wa nt to suggest lighte r
clouds. Then I go back in with a paper towel to rub
ou t areas of paint here and there, creati ng varying
values of the base color. These contrasts in value
create a bit of depth in the storm clouds.

Next, using the same base co lor, I ad d some patches

of sky breaking through the clouds in the distance
(closest to the horizon li ne). Then I start shaping
some of the sunlit patches above and be low the
main storm cloud, using titanium white mixed with
a dab of ca d miu m yellow pa Ie. Next I darken up t he
base co lor with a little burnt sienna and apply a sug
gesti on of land at the bottom of the scene. The land
mass creates a reference po int for the dramatic sky.

In this Ii nal step, I continue to create depth in the

sky by further darkening the underside of the storm
cloud and bringi ng out some highlights in the sun lit
a reas w it h thicker paint. The dark, om inous shadows
create a nice contrast to the few wisps of puffy white




I rendered this sky just afte r the sun disappea red

behind the horizon. When I re-create such specific
times of day (when the light changes swiftly) , I wo rk
very quickly with a large brush on a small canvas.
First I lay in the dark areas of the sky with a th in l avender mixtu re of tita niu m white, ultramarine blue,
and alizarin cr imson. I wo rk around the cloud areas,
making bold strokes in di fferen t directions to suggest the wispy, irregular shapes of the clo uds.

USing a combination of vert ica l and horizo ntal

brushst rokes. I carefully paint into the lavender
with a light ora nge mix of cadmium yellow pale and
alizarin crimson. (I don't use cadm ium orange yet
because it's a little too intense for th is stage.) Next
I work in the bright clouds, using a mixture of tita nium wh ite with a dab of cadmium yellow pa le. I add
a little more yellow to the mix as I work closer to the
horizon (where the sun was) .

Finally I paint in the horizon US ing hor izontal brushst rokes and a mix of cadmium orange, cadmium
yellow pale, and a litt le titan ium white. I use more
brilliant hues as I get closer t o the horizon because
t hat is what I see_





The canopies of cottonwood trees are large, ova l

shaped masses, and thei r trunks are tall and thin
with just a few narrow branches growing upward.
After sketching in the basic sha pes, I lay in the
shadow areas wit h broad st ro kes of yellow ochre
mixed with a little ultramarine blue and titanium
white. Then I rub out a few spots w ith my finger to
create some warmer shadows.

Next I use a warm golden yellow mix (I ad d more

white to the shadow color) and my largest brush
to fill in the foliage. Agai n I don 't try to pain t each
lea f; instead I vary the angle of my strokes and wo rk
around and over the shadow cotors. I add the tree
trunks and a few branches USing a corner of the
same brush an d a mixture of burnt sienna and a
little ultramarine blue.




For palms, I start with the shadowed

fronds, using a mix of ultramarine blue,
cad. yellow pale, and alizarin crimson .
For the trunks, I mix ultramarine blue
and burnt sienna and make one verti
cal swi pe w ith th e side of my brush .

I block in the rest with a mix of cad.

yellow pale, ultramar ine blue, an d
titani um wh ite. I make sure my bru sh
strokes fo llow the directio n in which
the pa lm fronds grow - starting at the
center an d brushing out.

I conti nu e to bu ild up depth in the trees with dif
ferent values of my golden mixture. I care fu Ity dab
on the very ligh test highlights last. Notice that the
variety of lights and darks makes the foliage appear
thicker a nd more li felike and that the short, angled
brushstrokes create the illusion of leaves.



I use some bright greens to add depth

and then highlight the t runks w it h
a thick mix of titanium white, burnt
sie nna, and cad. yellow pale. I soften
the edges and add patches of sky
color among the frond s.

In a large studio painting like this

one, greate r detail is necessary to add
a sense of realism. Here I added tiny
flecks of bright co lor to the trun ks
and built up the fronds with thicker
strokes of paint to ad d dep th .




To paint a stand of pine trees, I sketch in the shapes,

varying the heights. Then I apply the shadows with a
dark green mix of ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow
pale, an d alizarin crimson.

I block in the rest with a lighter mixture of ultrama

rine blue, cad. yellow pale. and a li ttie alizarin crim
son. In the distance, I add a little more white an d
ultramarine blue to the green to push them back.

Now I add a thick mixt ure of warmer green (yellow
och re mixed with ultramarine blue) to the tree in the
foreground .






As the water approaches the shore. it becomes

brighter in (olor and lighter in value. In this painting,

When the water is in the immedia te foreground, as

in this example. the action of the curren! is impor'

the water is in the distance, so there's less emphasis on the motion of the waves. Instead the move'

tant to emphasi~e. Short, choppy strokes of white

help convey a sense of the speed of the water ",sh

In th,s painting. I wanted to tapture Ihe dramatic

light created by the seWng sun so I painted t he
highlights on the rocks with sharp e<iges. Noti<e

ment is just suggested with a lew sweeping strokes

ing over the granite rockS.

of thick white paint.



Water reflects anything above its surface-including

the clouds and the sky. After sketching the outlines
of the boat and dock. I use light. horizontal strokes
to block in the water with a thin mix of ultramarine
blue, cad. yellow pale, and alizarin crimson.



The large rocks in this example are fainy smooth,

with rounded planes. I begin by using thinned burnt
sienna and a mediumsized brUSh to sketch in the
general masses of the rocks. Then I establish the
darkest shadows. using a thin mix of ultramarine
blue, burnt sienna. and a touch of alizarin crimson.
I use Ihis color as a reference. so I don'! make the
overall value of the rOCkS too dark; in other words,
all othel values will be lighter than the shadows.


that there art more shadowed areas than high

lights - this shows the various planes of these ,rag,
gy rocks and creates a more dramatic impact.



Next I paint the boat and its reflection in the water

with a green mixture of ultramarine blue, alizarin
crimson. cadmium yellow pale. and titanium white.

In this final step. I show the very slight movement

in the water by dragging my brush across the water
and into the reflection. Then I also pull some of the
reflection color back into the water.




Next I mix titanium white, burnt sienna, alizarin

crimson. and ultramarine blue fOI the sunlit patches
of the rocks. (Rocks are never just one solid color.)
Then I add a little more white to the mixture and
repaint parts of the rocks with thick. horizontal
strokes to give a sense of tedure and variation of

Now I apply varying values of the previous mix, mak

ing sure that my strokes follow the different planes
of the rocks. Notice that the different planes reflect
whatever objects are around them-even the sky.
So in this last step. I also apply a bit of the sky mix
ture (ultramarine blue mixed with white) on the top


surfaces 01 the rocks to indicale the sky's reflection.



This is a 6~ It 8~ study I painted while on a trip to Catalina Island off the coast of southern California. I was
partkularly drawn II) the S(l'nl' because of the strong contrast between the bright green hue of the pier and
the shadowed hillside. The loo.!! impression of Ihe crowd of tourists and fishermen walleing along the pier

adds life and interest to Ihe painting.




Here I painted two people close up to illustrate how

With a mixture of ultramarine blue, burnt sienna,

and titanium white, I build up the overall silhouette
of the (Quple. 0 simplify the shape by ignoring tht
feel.) Tllese lew brushSlrokes begin 10 convey the
form and dimenSion of the ligures. Notice that even
with absolutely no rendered detail, your mind fills
in what the brusllstrokes only suggest: a man and
woman holding lIands. walking along tile beach.

Here I use some subtle value and color changes to

depict hints of clothing. Then I refine the shapes
of the figures by painting the areas around and
between them with sky and sand color. Notice that I
also suggested another couple on the beach; these
figures are much smaller and have even less detail
than the main figures, whicll makes tllem appear
more distant.

easy it is to render them effectively. I start with a

small brush and it light wash of paint to make quick,
broad lines, merely indicating the couple's general
shape and stance. Sale is important, so I'm (on-

slanlly judging the relationships-both between

the two figures and between the figures and their




Creative Cropplns



Cropping into the scene is often the easiest

way to simplify a subject. Although I definitely
want to captu re the brilliance of the flowers in
the front, I don't need to depict every sing le
bush. By zooming in on the house, I get a more
focused composition. As I start my sketch, I
make some other mino r changes to the scene:
I decide to change the brick wall into a fence
and eliminate a large bush in the front.

Once I've sketched in the basic lines and angles

of the house, I create the shadowed fa~ade using
a dark bluish mixture of ultramarine blue, alizarin
crimson, and white. I block in the shadow under the
overhang with a mix of yellow ochre, ultramarine
blue, and white; then I block in the darkest greens
of the foli age with blue, yellow, and a touch of al iza
rin crimson.

After fi nishing the shadows, I start blocki ng in

the rest of the cottage and the basic shapes of
the plants that surround it. Next I add a light blue
mixture of ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, and
white for the sky. For the flowers, I use a mixture
of alizar in crimson and titan ium white with a dab of
cadmium yellow pale. I squint my eyes to determ ine
the most essent ial values in the flowers; I can't look
at every single peta l (or even every single plant) if I
want to capture this scene before the afternoon light
changes and fades away.


Next I start building up the forms. I use variations
of cadmium yellow pale, ultramarine blue, alizarin
crimson, and titanium white for all of the midtone
greens in this painting. For the brown fence, I use
a mix of burnt sienna and white and vertical brushstrokes, following the direction of the wooden
planks. Then I add lighter mixtures of alizarin crim
son, white, and cadmium yellow pale to the flowers.
I'm constantly judging the relationship between the
light areas and the shadows here-these contrasts
are what make this scene so interesting. I block in
the rest of the foliage with more mixtures of green,
keeping my lightest values in the sunlit areas.


I add some bright yel
low and orange flow
ers in the foreground,
applying little dabs of
paint with my small
brush. I also start refin
ing some of the fore
ground foliage, USing
thicker brushst rokes
of my green mixtures. I
want to make sure the
righ t side of the house
doesn 't get lost in the
foliage, so I work in
a darker shade of the
blue house mixture to
define the area but also
push it further into the


Since the center of interest is the house and the flowers in front of it, I use
thicker, brighler paint and sharper edges to draw the eye 10 Ihis area. I step back
from my painting freQuentfy to make sure the whofe Ilainting is ba lanced. The

advantage in starting out simplv is that I can always add more detail In the final
slages if I need to. In Ihis case, I go back over the whole canvas, adding small
but necessa ..... details and adjusting the (olors and values.


Islarl by laying in the dark, (001 shadow areas of

Ihe foreground and IreI' trunks, using a mj~ of burnt
sienna and ultramarine blul!. Then I paint in some
sunlit patches of green and yellow i n Ihe grass and
foliage. Th is contrast helps me judge the shadow

values. making sure they are dark enough comiJared

to the sunlit areas.


Next I begin to define the shapes of the dark branch

es with lighter values of blue and burnt sienna. To

depjet the Ilel! leaves, I use varied values of a warm

yellow-g reen mixtu re 1(1 distinguish the sunlit areas
from the shadows. I paint the shadow areas thinly

to keep the paint from mi~ing with tile thicker highlights of the sunny spots.

To highlight the brightest patches, I dab a thick.
yellowish mixture on the edges of the leaves. In the
foreground, I use a warm green mi~ of cadmium yel
low pale, phlhalo green, alizarin crimson, and while
10 add touches of sunlighllo the grass. finally I add
a mixture of blue and white between the branches to
give glimpses Of1he sky breaking 1hrough.




When I paint. I don', rely solely on the sky colors 10 show the time of dayinstead all the elements in a s(ene work together 10 im part a sense of time. For

This was a (aim, windless day, so the water was dark and still and the beach
was quiet, now that most of the [leople had left, I [laint in the deserted sand and
the remain ing elements of the sh oreline, worki ng some warm , dusky mi ~es of
burnt sienna, alizarin crimson, and white into the sand. I add high lights sparingly
to the simple rocks in the foreground til contrast with the long. cool Shadows
beneath them. The highlights are mi~es of burnt sienna, alizarin crimson . and
whi te, and the shadows are mixes of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.

exam ple, a sunset sky may establish the tone of Ille scene, but warm colors,
long. cool shadows. and calm waters un all contribute to the feeling of a quiet
beach at dusk. With confident, quick st rokes, I begin sketchi ng in the rocks and
trees. Nut I block in the sky and the water with mixes 01 ultramarine blue and
white. I want the drama of the fading afternoon light to 1M! evident . so I paint in
the shadow areas a little darke. at the beginning - I can always adjust them later

if they turn out to be too dark.



Once I fill in Ihe remaining color of the palm trees (cadmium yellow pale, ultra
marine blue, and a touch of phthalo green), you can see the e ffects of the waning
sunlight and how the mood of the whole painting begins to take shape. I quickly
paint i n the distant clouds with the rich pinks and violets of late afternoon, using
mi~es of alizarin (Jimson. cadm ium orange. ultramarine blue. and titanium white.
These cool colors contribute to a sense of peaceful serenity.

To finish the palm fronds convincingly, I use thick brushstrokes and paint them
the direction in which lhe leaves grow. (See page 117 for more on palm lrees.)
I add hints of green algae to the rocks and sharpen their edges with more thick
highlig ht s. Last I use loose, h oriwntal bru shstrokes to refine the waves and
soften the edges of the distant sunset douds.




I block in the basic shapes of t he dock and boats and paint in a thin wash of
titanium white. cadm ium yellow pale, and a touch of phthalo green over the
water. After most of the co lor is laid in, I start to bu ild up the forms a little to sug
gest distant buildings and trees . I paint in the dock using a mixture of blue, burnt
sienna, and white. Then I add a darker mix of those colors for the darkest shadows to the foreground boat and dock. Here I keep the objects in the foreground
the darkest and gradually progress t hrough the mldtones in the middle ground to
the lightest values in the background.

Cadmium yellow pale

(!pul \ hile

Now I add thicker paint to the water with horizo ntal
strokes to create some subtle movement. Although
the water is most ly white. I add some blue to the
mixture where It ripples, I refine the shapes In the
middle ground and background with lighter values
to make them appearas if they're fading into the
hazy distance. Because I've kept my use of color to a
min imum. the peaceful mood of th is hazy, un inhab
ited harbo r is more apparent.



Subtle gray shapes are all that are visible in the thick haze, so I approached
this paint ing a little differently than I usually do-once my sketch was in place.
I blocked in the midtones first. creating the overall gray tone. Notice that all the
values are just slight variations of each other; each is a mixture of ultramarine
blue, alizarin crimson, and titanium white.

Ullramllrine blu r,
w dm ium yelloll' pale,
bu,.ul sielllw,
aud wltile

U/tl"amarinf blue,
ali Z(lrili crimson,

Ulimmarille blue,

burn. siemw1

ali<I vurul siC/lila

and ",iIil.e

ali t cH ill crimson ,




Once my sketch is complete, I quickly block in my colors. To make t hese trees

look realistic, I need to leave some negative space between the branches. so I
squint my eyes to gel a simpli fied view of the negative space and the values in

At this stage, I start to tighten up the positive shapes by adding quick. ran
dam strokes 01 green midlnnes 10 the leaves. I also lighten up the tree trunk
with thick hi ghlights in mi~es of burnt sienna, yellow ochre, and white. Then I
strengthen the shadow of the tree on the right, and add a h(luse in the distance
to lead the viewer's eye into I he painting.

the trees. I completely ignore the details at th is point -esta blishing the right
shal'l's. colors, and values is more important.

Next I add more detail to the distant mountain and middle gfound
foliage. Finally I focus completely
on the negative space, addi ng
patches of blue sky in between
the lea~es and branches of the
eucalyptus tree. Notice that I
don't paint any individual leaves
at all, yet the varying values and
brush techniques used create the
illusion thatlhere are thousands!

(, ... Qukt 5ketd.n

Quick sketches made on site are a good way to work
out a composition before starting to paint. When
drawing trel'S, looking for and drawing the negati~e
spaces among the branches and lea~es can help you
a(hie~e a more accurate drawing. This is be<ause you
are lorced to draw what you see rather than what you
think you see. Observe the negati~e space created
by the branches and lea~es~do the negative shapes
help to break up the positi~e shapes and make the
tree more visually interesting? II so, then your painting will be successful.



Choosing a Scene
Most artists agree that successfu l landscape paintings have a distinctive
foreground, midd le ground, and background that work together to create
a beauti fu lly balanced painting. As I drove through the countryside, I dis
covered a perfect example in this hillside scene. The mountain is the back
ground. the lush green hill an d the house are in the middle ground, and the
field is the foreground. For my painting, though, I cropped out part ofthe
foreground to create a better overall composition.



Now I block in t he middle ground and foreground,

squi nting to see the most important sha pes and
values. I paint the house us ing titan iu m white with
a slight touch of ultramarine blue an d cadmium yel
low. The mountain is commanding, but the hou se is
the foca l poinl in the painting. I placed ilsligh tly offcenter to make the composition more dynamic.


I wan t to emphasize the scale of the mountain, so I compose the scene with a low
horizon line. First I lay in the sky. Then I block in t he mountain, using a light bluegreen mix of ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow pale, alizarin crimson, and white.
I pay dose attention 10 its sil hou ette. being sure not 10 soften I he lop edge too
much - the mountain is in the background, but it's not a long distance away.

Next, before I add the remaining delails, I adju51 all
my values in the distant mountain and hillsldes!O
make sure I'm conveying Ihe illusion of depth, or
atmospheric perspective. Then I sharpen the details
in the i mmediate foreground and on Ihe house 10
make them "pop" forward.

Pluln, the Shadows

Notice that the shadows of the Irees frame the
house and help keep it from looking "pasted"
onto the hillside. I vary the shapes I paint into
the foliage for added interest, and I use a very
100se,lmpressionisti( style. This detail of the
foliage looks much different up close than il
would if you were to stand back from the paint
ing and let your eye fill in the delails.

Finally. I add a few more highlights and details,
including the hint of another house and some
blooms in the foreground fo r added color. To make
the wildflowers seem scattered, I randomly dab a
mixture of cadmium orange, cadmium yellow pale,
and white sparingly across the field. This simplifi
cation keeps the foreground from drawing undue

Seeins: the Whiles

Even though the hlluse may appear to be pure
white from a distance, up close you can see
that I..... e added shadows of ultramarine blue
and while under the roof. as well as minimal
details that suggest doors and windows with a
darker gray mixture.


W illiam F. Powell is an internationally recognized art is t and one or

America's foremost colorists. A native of Huntington, West Virginia,
Bill studied at the An Student's Career School in
Technical College in Harrow,

ew Yo rk; Harrow

ngland; and the Louvre ree School

of Art in Paris , France. He has bee n professionally involved in fi ne

art, commercial art, and techn ical iIlu trating [or more than 35
years. His experience as an art instructor includes oi l, watercolor,
acrylic, colored pencil, and pastel-with subjects ranging fr om
landscapes and sea capes to portraits and wildli fe. Much of his
work has been reproduced as prints and collector's plates, and he
has produ ced numerous contract paintings and illustrations for a
variety of publishers. Additionally Bill conducts painting workshops
and produces instructional videos that employ unique methods of
in-depth presentation and demonstration.




Patellc knives arc used for

mixing paint. They aTC avail:tole in several slyies and
materials, often of a wood!
metal combination or plastic.
The two most common styles
arc s hown below. Palette
knives should be used with
a 5 111 001h. gentle, kneading
snoke rather than a hellvy
stirring mOlio n. If paim colors
aTC ovcrmixcd, Ihey tend to
lose their freshness.

Painting knives can be used 10

crcalC extremely fine works
of art They come in many
shapes, slyles. and sizes. Some
artists cyen grind and alter lhe
hlades \0 creale a M
made~ knife. t\ good painting
knife lIIust be thi n. Oexiblc,
and sensitive to the lOuch.
Made of hand-tempered steel,
these kni ves arc usually o ne
solid piece; some knives , however, alc soldered or welded.

Palette Knife Handles

The traditional long, straight, nat
bladed knives are clumsier than
those with elevated handles. The
elevated handle (extreme left) allows
for conlrol of Ihe mixture while keep
ing handS out of the paint.

Patnttns Knives
I think the most versatile style of
painting knife is tear-shaped with a
small, rounded tip (shown above).
This knife has no sharp angles to
accidentaUy dig into the canvas. I
occasionally use the knife in the
middle for larger detail.

Knffe WOOlfns Areu

The shape of the side of
each knife dictates the
reQuired working area for
spreading and blending
colors. At left are two illus
trations showing the working areas for those knife
shapes. Throug hout this
book, closeup illustrations
are shown of various knifeworking surfaces and edges
for applying paint, blending
color, and creating detail.



Knifc selection is important.

All knives will spread paint

onto I he eiUl\'aS in somc
manne r. However each knife
has a slightly diITercnt shape
and, therefore, performs difrcrcnlly. One of the most
important Ihings 10 look for
is "spring" in the blade. A
painting knifc should not
be stiff; it should be vcry
flcxible, cspcd ally al thc
lip. When pushing the tip
upward with yO\Lr finger. it
should curve easily. Curving
should take place toward thc
tip and within at least onefourth of the blade. Also keep
in mind IhM knives become
more flexible with usc.

The Sl. de
looking across the blade, one can
see a variation of thickness from the
handle to the tip. The thickest part
of the blade is at the hilt, or handle,
and the thinnest is at the tip. This
thin blade allows for delicate appli
cation and manipulation of paint.
A sharply pointed knife tip will not
cany as much paint as one that
is slightly rounded. The rounded
tip can (Ieale delicate detail even
though the tip appears to be slightly

rte:rible Knivu
Select a kni'e with good flexibility and spring memory. Pressi ng too hard
with a stiff knife (an damage the (anYas. With a genlle push. a fle~ible
lenife will curve and apply paint in either a thick or th in manner. Te~tUJes to
suggest plastered walls, tree trunks, ocean waves, mountain faces, and so
on, can be created .

Dulling the Edge

Remember: As a knife
becomes more flexible, the
edges become sharper with
use. Be careful; they can
cut! To dull the edge, buff
with a very fine file - but
do not over do it. The edge
is an Important part of the
painting tool. Polish any
rough areas with fine steel

Knife Shapes
and Sizes
Many different knife
shapes and sizes are
available (pictured
at left). Each knife
has its own charac
teristics. Very long
knives are great for
blending large areas
of color, while short
knives are good for
textures, detailS,
and smaller blends.
Knife ti ps vary as
well. Finer, smaller,
rou nded ti ps can
create more detail
than the larger,
rounded tips. A
sharp painted tip,
however, carries
very little paint.
Experiment with
different styles and
sizes to see the
effects you can

Controlling the Knife


Hold ing the knife

hand le lightly in the
fingers and moving
it with the wrist and
fingers enab les control
an d movement in all
di rections. The knife
can also be rolted
between the fingers
while applying paint.
This aids pa int manipulation and, because
you can easily sense
slight knife movements
and pressure changes,
there is less chance of
pushing too hard.

I have several tips regarding ways

knife: If lhe forefinger is placed a
makes the lool seem very sli ff and
lion , movement is limited to the

Pushing and Pulling

It doesn't matter if you are left handed or right handed, the knife works the
same. When a left hander pushes, a right hander pu lls, and vice versa. It's
that simple. Often students say my knife works differently because I am left
handed. They soon find out that this is not true. Also I occasionally change
hands when knife painting. Experiment using your other hand. Notice how
easy it is to change ha nds with a knife.

When drawing with the ti p, hold the knife gently in
the fingers as shown. Change pressure by squeez
ing the hand le firm ly or lightly. Press as needed
while moving the kni fe to allow the paint to be
pulled from the tip. Change the a ngle to apply more
or less paint. Also twirling the knife between the
fingers can alter the now of color.

13 1




Lu dln&dse

(_rase Stroku

Painting knives afe used with genUe

kneading strokes to mix colors.

First make a thin spread of (olor. This

makes it easier for the knife to pick
up an even load of pigment. Then

Ra ise the leading edge olthe knile

slightly. This allows Ihe paint 10 roU
off the underside smoothly, If It is
raised too much, the trailing edge
will dig in, re moving (olor already
applied. Hold the knife with your fin
gelS, and use a gentle touch.

This requires a good load of paint.

which can be drawn out to cover a
large area. Strokes can be made in any
direction, but for maximum coverage,
use the side of the knife and make the
stroke smooth and continuous.

Loosely mixed colors appear more

lively than overmixed ones. Caution:
Do not scrape a paper pilleUe too

laise the leading knife edge and drag

hard or little furry ~roll ups" will mix

Ihe trailing edge to load paint on one

edge. Painl is then applied from the

with the paint and destroy the mix.

trailing edge of the knife.

Dot Strokes

SIde Stroku

Using the smaller knife, or the lip 01

This photo shows many of the

strokes you {an make by drawing
the knife sideways. Silme strokes
are straight, others are wrved.
You {an even smear the paint, as
if you a re mixing it. Practice these
strokes on a painting pad or e~tra
scraps of canvas. This is a
way \0 become accustomed to the
feel of the knife. On the next page
you'll learn about ~pulling~ strokes
and double loading the knile with
two colors.

Ihe larger one. paint can be applied

in small dot-like masses. This ted

nique can be used to add (01 or, !ife,

and texture to an uninteresting area
without making major changes.
8Kause unilormity wi!! attract the
eye, it i~ I:>e~t to avoid creating a
monotonous or uniform pattetn
when USing these dots.


Th ldt Pai nt

thin Paint

Chanslns Dlrutlons

CombIned Strokes

With a gentle touch, seve.allaye.s 01

thick (OlD. can be applied over other
layers of wet paint. Here is an exam
pie of thick pain t layered over two
other wet layers. Use this method
where (olor buildup and texture are
desired without blends. Note: The
viscosity of paint on the knife should
be a bit thinner than the wet paint on
the canvas. If the paint on the knife
is too Stiff, it removes or digs into the
previous layer.

Paint (an be applied thinly to (reate

a very smooth surface, some ti mes
allowing the grain of the canvas to
show. Fine blending 01 colors Is also
possible. However blending can
become difficult if the colors are too
thin because there is not enough
body in the paint to apply or manipulate_ Feel the consistency of your
paint, and always appty enough to
accomplish the deSired blends.

By mOving the wrist and elbow, you

can ma~e strokes in different direc
tions. ThiS creates interest in an area
that may not contain any dramatic
subje(t anatomy. By overlapping
strokes, many patterns, textures, and
b lends a.e created. Nolice how these
overlapping, blended colors create a
rich and interesting color mood.

By (hanging dire(tions (as shown

above) and combining- long and short
strokes with thllse made USing different length knives, interesting tex
tures and blends can be created. The
possibilities are endless and, when
using a good fresh color scheme, the
results (an be dramatic This illustration shows combined strokes using
fairly thick paint.

. ~~

' .

Blend ing Colors

Very long kn ives such as the one pictu re d above are
perfect for blend ing large areas of color. To ble nd,
pu ll sideways through two roughly applied colors.
Raise the leading edge of the knife slightly.



Load the knife fully with pai nt. Place it flatly on the
canvas surface and pull. Use the handle as a guide
for making a straight pull. The paint is dragged from
the kn ife in a completely different manner than with
the side stroke. This can be used to change the
monotony of a stroke within an area of a painting
or for general color applicat ion. All strokes can be
made with any size knife.

Load the knife aga in and place one edge on the
canvas . Start the stroke by pulling the knife and
rolli ng it sli ghtly between the fingers. This will create a broken pattern that can be used to enliven
an otherwise flat area. It can also be used to bui ld
co lor in an interesting way. Use it in combi nation
with other strokes.

Double Loading
This is another im porta nt technique. Th is means loading the
kn ife with two colors at once. A
double load creates an automatic
blend ing of the two co lors as they
are applied to the canvas. Here
are two knives loaded differently:
one with colors side by side and
the other with colors loaded top
an d bottom. Ble nds can be made
by stroking in a straight, curved, or
wavy manner.
Loading lor LInes
To paint thin lines, load the paint onto the
very edge of the knife. To do this, make a
thin smear of co lor on you r pa lette, and then
drag the trailing edge of a clean knife through
it until the right amount has built up on the


load ing Top and Bottom

With this technique, the pa int is loaded top
an d bottom and blended as it is applied using
a slightly curving stroke . This application co uld
be use d when painting rounded objects, such as
vases, rocks, and tree trunks. Try different co lors
an d combinations.

Loading Side by Side

Here the pa int is loaded side by side, and the
double-loaded knife creates a loose impression
of textured leaves or foliage. By chang ing direction and slightly tapping the knife, a rough blend
is created that suggests a textured surface on
the leaf forms.

Drawing Lines
Now place the loaded edge onto the canvas
and make lines by either drawi ng the knife
upward or downward or by stampi ng or tapping
it aga inst the surface . Hold the kn ife at more
or an ang le to make the lines thinner and less
for thicker lines. It takes a little practice, but
it is worth the effort.







The following steps are an easy way to begin painting rocks using a knife. First
paint a light background by mixing white, permanent blue, and burnt sienna.
Then block in the rock mass using burnt sienna, burnt umber, and the gray mix.
Keep the mixtu re a little on the burnt sienna side for a warmer looking rock.

With a small knife, begin building the shape of the rocks us ing a mix of white, ye llow ochre, and cadm iu m orange. Build from dark to light, USi ng a side stroke to
develop the face of the rock. This also begins texture. When painting rocks, always
follow the angles of the planes. Notice how the rock begins to appear sol id.



Next use the small knife with white, pe rmanent blue, and alizarin crimson to
begin blocking in color with in the shadow areas. Vary the value and warmth of
the purple to make the shadows more lively. Purple is an extremely important
color withi n shadows; however try not to make it too bright. Use a small knife to
develop these shadows and make shorter strokes than you did in the last step.
Short strokes give the illusion of texture within the shadows. Mix a lighter blue
and establish foam at the base of the rocks.

Use the small kn ife again to paint in the last highlights. Do not use pure white;
it will appear chalky. Instead use mixtures of white and a speck of cadmium
orange in combination with just a speck of yellow ochre. Paint the lightest high
lights with the tip of the knife to create a sparkle effect. Last, to set the rocks,
add light to t he water and foam at the bottom.




Begin painting these gran ite rocks by estab lishing

the basic shape and size with a mixture of white,
burnt umber, and permanent blue. This produces
either a warm or cool gray depending upon how
much blue is added. The more blue, the cooler the
color. Paint the overall shape of these two rocks.

Next begin modeling the form of the rocks by adding white a nd yellow ochre to the basic rock gray.
Make small, flat tapping strokes as if patting or
sculpting the rock. Your brush strokes should follow
the shape of the rock.

Once the lonms are estab lished, pain t the high lights
using a lighter mix with a speck of cad mium orange
for warmth. Use dot strokes to add to the texture,
and paint rock cavities by dragging the tip of a small
knife through the wet paint. Th is allows the dark
underpaint to show through. Then place a few high
lights next to the cracks and holes for depth with a
mix of white and a speck of permanent blue.





It is easy III paint both brlladleaf and coniferous

trees willi the knife. Begin wi th distant pine trees.
Apply a mix of permanent blue and white for a sky
background. Nut mix equal parts 01 permanent
blue and yellow !Xh,!! 10 a soft green. This is the

Blend the distant trees slightly into the wet sky

Paint in a small foregro und tree USing the tip of the

knife. For highlights, add a bit of <admium yellow
light to the basic tree mi~, and use the kni fe tip
to paint a suggestion of light on the left side of a
few trees. Place a mix of white, phthalo blue, and
alizarin crimson on the shadowed side of the trees
(not aU of the trees!). Finally spot a little burnt
umbe, and cadmium orange in the foliage to indi o
cate trunkS showing through here and there. Draw
branches using the small kni fe tip.

basic mix for distant pine trees. Next mix a little sky
blue into the tree mix 10 make them recede. Then

lood the side 01 a smalt knile and paint vertkal

strokes to indicate distant pine trees.

base. The more sky (Olor you add, Ihe more distant

they appear. Use the tip of the knile to add hori

zontal strokes to suggest branches. Add detail as

you move forward. MJKe tree masses darker and

greener as they come forward. Paint a lew closer
trees adding some boughs to indicate detail. Next
mi~ two parts burnt umber to one part pht halo blue
for a black.ish green.



Stand of Trees

Broadleaf trees are less rigid in their

form than pine trees, but each type
of tree has its own shape. Above I
painted loosely to indicate the foliage
of broad leaf trees. It's best to u~
mostly the tip of the knife with this
technique. (hange colors often and
attack the canvas at different angles
to create the abundance of foliage.
Notice the introduction of warm colors to (feate color interest within the

To draw branches use the tip of the

knife. Make long strokes, stopping
and changing direction to give a natu
rallook to the branc hes. Twigs are
made with a small'pointed tip . Make
lighter twigs by scraping out color.
Use the point and edge of a small
knife to create highlights within the
branches and twigs.

Above a combination of broad leaf and coniferous trees are shown in the same
setting. Light background wlor was mixed into the distant trees to create some
perspective. Notice how dark the color is on the right fo reground tree.


To begin this exercise, paint a simple sky using a
mixture of wh ite and ultramarine blue to the value
shown. Use a med iumsized knife and keep the
texture fairly smooth. Th is blue is warm, maki ng it
excellent for an afternoon sky. Paint a horizon haze
using white and a speck of alizarin cr imson. Use a
sawtooth stroke to blend. For the backwater, mix
a combination of equal parts of ultramarine and
cerulean blues. Th is combination creates a cobalt
blue hue that is rich and controllable. For a warme r
blue, add more ultramarine. This makes the mix
deeper and mo re purplish because of the red in
ultramarine blue. Fo r a cooler blue, add cerulean.
Cerulea n is a greenish blue and does not contain
the red that ultramarine does. Lighten this blue
with wh ite to change value. Paint a thin layer of
this color over the entire area. Keep the horizon
line straight and parallel to the top and bottom of
the picture plane and blend the ha rd edge Slightly.
Wave forms will be painted into this wet backwater
area . Use the same color and paint in the basic form
of the headla nds. Use a scrap of ca nvas to practice
these strokes.



Next, mix white with Naples yellow and white w ith a speck of alizarin crimson.
Use the small knife and add detail to the headla nd mass. Make long curving
"pulling" strokes (as show n) to create t he waves in the backwate r. Blend this
color along the top of these strokes leaving a hard edge at the bottom. This
bu ilds form in the waves. Notice how this color is also used to build the form of
the ma jor wave.

Add yellow ochre to the blue bac kwater mix. Paint in the lights and darks of the
wave and foreground water. Add more blue to darken. Add och re and white to
ligh ten. To block in the crashing foam mass use white, ultramarine blue, and
a speck of alizarin crimson. Paint the shadow areas, and the n place the lighter
high light co lors (mixes of white, Naples yellow, and aliza rin crimson) over them.
Add white with a speck of cerulean to the bottom of the foam.

Paint the dark rock base uSing a mi~
of burnt umber and alizarin crimson.
Then overlay the lighter (olors for
shape and form. Gray is white with
burnt umber, orange is Naples yellow
with a speck of alizarin, and yellows
are pure Naples yellow and Naples
yellow with white. Begin the foam
uSing white with cerulean blue and
white with backwater blue.



Make sure the foam around the rock is painted to your satisfaction. It can be
accomplished later, but is much easier to complete before painti ng the rock
over it. Notke the loose applkation of the gray mix in the top area and how it is
applied to suggest openings and cracks in the rock face. Try not to blend these
lighter colors, otherwise t he rock will become smooth and appear out of place.
Notice the foam and waves on the right.

This close'up shows the wave detail and small rocks that are in the Shadow on
the right side. A great variety of strokes are used to ;lcwmplish this area. Pulling
strokes are combined with side strokes. Long and short strokes are combined
with straight and curved strokes. Stroke variation adds excitement and reality to
the scene.


Here the detail of the rocks in the left front are

shown. Pain t in the foam patterns fi rst. Then place
the basic rock forms using burnt umber and a speck
of alilafin crimson. Next paint the rock features
with the same ligh ter mixes used previously. Finally
paint in the highlights, shadows, and details to
bring the scene to completion.


For this painting, sm()oth out Ihe paint tHlmes to
Ih e desired degree, but remember that some 01 the

charm of a kni fe painting is the


II is best to

smooth and blend each area to satisfaction before

continuing; it is difficult to go back and smooth (01

ors after another area has bl'(!n painted around or

over it Refer to the completed painting for depth of
final texture. I prefer texture in some areas and less

in others. Texture helps form sha~s and makes the

painti ng interesting to view. Use the colo r mixes at
left and block i n Ihe atmosphere of the sky. In this

sky, hep Ihe final blends loose for color and mood.

Wh iff + ullr<lln<ll, n, bl""

a spec" 1)/ bU 1'I1/ "", ber

and ((rul(ao blur

.\fix 41><",( +


hilt a" d

a SPf'~ (If andenn blur

.\f ix ~OO" f + IIh ilt
~ >~(k

~" d

of cadm ium ,,"an);f

IVhi " + a Ip.d. "f

phlhn l"!fa "" ...


IVhilf . {/

,,.,.{ ~


cadmium olll"g(

8efole using the colols below to develop the mou n
lain ra nge. refer to Ihe final painti ng and blend your
sky to a desired smoothness. The texture of the
sky should be a bit smoother than the mountains.
This tex\tlre creates depth and atmosphere. Mix
more sky colo,s into the distant mountains and less
as they move forwa,d in Ihe scene. Paint in haze
at the base of each mou ntain 10 add to the aerial
pe rspective. Establish the dark gree n land and Ihe n
refer 10 page 139 to finish your mountains while the
underpainl is wei; otherwise blends are impossible.
Use the sky colors to develop the structure of the
mountains, worki ng from dark to light. Try not to
over-blend the strokes that make up the mountain
face and texture.

IVhirt . wl'Filmari ", /th.t.

"f l'Uf"1 ~ n'/'" " nd

ph/halo ,'rd ,'OSi


Mix "bo"r + llhilt lin d

5EWdlS ,if "Iua n,,,,;,,, !,(",
and phlhnlo rrd fO,f
IVhi 'r ,,11.anl<lti" , bl ur

and 5PC{~5 of bu rnl umMr

nnd a rultan blur
Ulrmm<lrrne bl", +
y,llow ~hr and
a 5pf(~ of II hi r,

'3 8

Use the color mixes below to finis h t he foreground
and trees. Work from dark to light when building
these tree forms. Paint in t he grass using the light
yellow-green, and enhance the glow area with a
touch of pure cadmium yellow light here and there.
Pai nt the mist at the i>ase of the mountains stronger
than desired; it will fade a bit during the blending
and smoothing stage. Estai> lish and blend all of the
haze areas first, the n pull the snow and mountain
face colors down int o them. Block in all of the fo re
ground undercolors, making them appear a little
darke r in the very fro nt and a i>it lighter toward the
back. Paint in the water with wh ite and ultramarine
i>lue, and then apply the ligh test sky colors into
them as re flections. Notice how the snow masses
fade as they move down into the mists and haze.
Develop the outline of the distant t rees, then blend
all areas to desired sat isfaction.


Mix burnt umbe rand phthalo red rose fo r t he fall

co lors on the bushes. Highlight with white and a
litt le cadmium orange. Draw the suggestion of
i>ra nches using the tip of the knife and a lighter
mix. Use the second color for the dark base of the
trees, then high light with cadmium yellow light and
a little ultramari ne and ceru lean blue. Spot some
of the bush colors into the trees to ti e everything
together, usi ng the tip of the knife for small details.
Kee p the colors a bit grayed, as seen in the color
samples below, so they are not too harsh.

White + ullmlllarillf blrle alld

speclls oj bul'll[ umber.

ph(/lG/o "ed rose. (wd crn.
leQIl /)l .. e
Ultmmarille bh" +
cad", i!ll" omllge

Mix above + cadmium

yellow Ii!:/"

\ W),jlr .. cen.lcall blue and

a peell oj w d", /unt

yellow liS/II


the wlals !J.elow, and use them to block in this

portion 01 this stene. There is a rith feeling of green

in this painting; it adds to the Ravor of lush forest
growth. Begin bV lightly sketching the subject on
the canvas. Then use the color mixtures to lay in the

undertones. As before, always refer to the finished

painting to Illing each area up 10 a satisfacto"1
final before going on to the next portion. Once the

painting surface has dried. it is difficult to apply "ny

smooth color layers, and blending into the under
color is impossible. If this should happen, simply

rewet the undercolor and proceed flam there.

IVhuf + ,,,dmium yell" .. ,

ligh! WId a spt'c~ II!
phlh"),, blur

Cadm;u", }dlo"'/i,l:hr ~
a lpt'd. I)J ph(h~l" blur

r ..o ptIrh )," '01<' ochr, +

""' pan uhmm"rin, "'u~

Two J'<Irl~ buml UmNY +

on, 1''''1 phlh ..I" l>Iur

Continue usi ng the color mixtures from the last
step . and block in more of the undercololS. Use
pure yellow ochre for the warm spot 01 undertolor.
A small pond will be painted in this area. which
requires a warm undercolor to SUPl>Ort it. When
knife painting. you do not know if the paint will
remain smooth when applied . so you need to make
sure there is a sufficient foundation of coh)J before
adding any fi nal {Olin. USing the mixtures below.
begin lorming the shape olthe fallen tree trunks.
Add some ollhe green colors 10 Cleate a feeli ng 01
harmony throughout the entire painting. Add a little
more green to the log colors and establish the foreground. Addi ng more yellow and wa rm brownish
colors gives the feeting of grou nd.

Burn! umb,r +
Ipt(k "f ,,bll'


Mix ab.>w + whitr

Mix ut'!),, +
light )",/low-g rt'"

Whi r~ + """I'J~s



Begin e~tahli~hing more detailed textures, such as
grass and tree trunks. Use the final painting as a
guide, and create the textures while the under
paint is still wet. Use the small knife and make flat,
upward strokes to create the illusion of grass. For
the logs and bark textures, make more controlled
strokes to create a paltern that follows the length
of the trunk. Apply the cooler blue green color oW!r
the warmer undertones. Use the top mixture for the
bright sunlit glow in the distant middle ground. For
a harmonious blend, add the purple to the basic log
colors lor the shadow side 01 the tree.

Whirr + cad",lu," ydlow IIghl

Mix abo"r




+ ulrromarinc blu(
lind IIli~",.jn oimsOl'

Now it is lime to place the final details. Most of
these have been trealed as the painting developed;
it is now a mailer of bringing them 10 a complete
painling . IndiYidual prelerence dictates how much
detail to put into this painting. Some artists like
a lot 01 deta il, while others prefer little detail. All
areas have been left semi rough to Show the meth
ods used to develop the work. A muth softer flnal
{<In be created by simply blending the wlors a little
more thoroughly than shown here. Add the pond by
using white and a speck of phthalo blue. Develop
the reflection on the left side using the lighter yel
low colors and, finally, a touch of white on the very
thin,left side. Add a little yellow for the green in
the middle. and keep the mi~ pure light blue on the
right. White and Naples yellow in varying degrees
of mixes are used for the flnal texture on the tree
trunk, fallen logs, and foreground. Dark leaf, bough,
and grass masses are painted in with the dark burnt
umber and phthalo blue mix. and then they are
highlighted with lighter greens. Use the knife tip for
this task. Add cadmium red light to the burnt umber
mi~es. and block in the final (olors and shapes on
the bUShes USing the knife tip. These little bUShes
add wlor, contrast, and warmth.


Additives, 7, ll5

Barbizon chool , 114
Bark, 12, 15 , 20 , 141
Beach at dusk , 123
Beaches. See Beach at dusk ; Coastlines;
Hendry Beach ; unset beach ; Water
(ocean , beaclle , and bay )
Blending, 13 , 14, 133
Boats, 72- 73 , 78, 79,90-91 , 92- 93 , ll8
cleani ng, 6, 7
types of, 6, 13, ll5

af , nighttime, 76-77
Candle, 50 , 51
Canvas. See Supports
Cannel sidewalk, 88-89
Caniers , 115
Central Park (New York ), 44-45
Chang ing direc.:tions (kn ife technique),
Children, 28, 54-55
Cliffs, 13
Cloud , 13 , 15 , 23, 36, 41, 48 , 49 , 52 , 56,
59 , 82 , 96 , 97 , 123
step by step, 116
Coastlines , 22 , 52-53, 82-83 , 110-111
See a!.~o Water (ocean , beache , and
analogous, 8
basic palette of, 6, 9
complementary , 8 , 26 , 99 , 100, 102
creating mood and feeli ng wi th , 8, 9,
26-27, 28, 100, 101 , ll6 , 123, 124,
132, 138
hues of, 8 , 32
inten ity of, 8
mix ing and choosi ng, 6, 7, 8, 9, 130,
primary, 8
secon dary , 8
tcrtiary , 8
theory of, 8-9
tints, shades, and tones of 8
values of, 8, 27,29,37, 64 , 92 , 124

warm versus cool, 6, 9, 12, 26, 42 , 48 ,

50, 51,98, 102 , 106, 108
wheel of, 8 , 9
Combincd trok , (kn ife tcc.:hn ique), 132
Cou ntryside , 126-127
Coverage strokes ( knife technique), 132
Cropping, 120, 70

Dab, 12, 13
Dark over light, 14
Dep th , creating, 8 , I 1, 15 , 22,34 , 58 , 59,
70, 72 , 83, 92 , 93 , 100, 101. 103 , 107,
116, 117, 127, 134, 138
Details, 15
Doorway, 70-71
Dot trokes (kn ife techniq ue), 132, 134
Drag, 12
Drawing techniques , 10-ll
Drybrush , 14
Dulcimer player, 86-87

and plein air pail1ling, 114, 11 5
selecti ng, 7
Ellipses, 11
Expre sio nism, 5

Face . ee Peopl e and face
Fat over lean , 19
Feathers, 98-99
Fences, 58 , 62 , 63 , 80, 81, 120
Figures. See People and faces
Flowers, 18-19 , 24, 26, 4l , 43 , 50-5 I, 7l ,
81 , 88 , 100-101, 110, III 120-12 l
Foliage , 12, 13 , 15, 48,49,62 , 74 , 80, 84,
88, llO , 135
See also Garden ; Grass; Leaves; Trees
Foreshortening, II
Forests, 122, 140-14 1
Fruit, 50, 51

Garden, 120-121
Glazing, 12, 15 , 97, 99 , 100 , 101
Grass , 12, 13 , 15,40, 41 , 44, 64, 65 , 122 ,
139, 14 1

Hair, 54-55,86
Hampton, Anita, 46- 59
foggy , 124
Hawa iian, 90- 91
Hendry Beach, 56-59
Portofino , 78-79
Highlights, 12, 13 , 24
and hou e , doorway, and bu ilding ,
43,71,74, 75 , 76 , 78 , 80,84 , 85 , 88 ,
and martin i, 102, 103
and mOL1l1lain and rocks , L5 , 32 , 37 ,49,
53 , 83 , 118 , 123 , 134, 137
an d people and faces , 25 , 29. 86, 87
and roos ter, 99
and stormy sky, 116
and lree , nowers, and bu h , 34, 43 ,
49, 50,75 , 79, 84 , 88 , 89,91 , 97 ,
100, 101 , 110,117,122, 125 , 127,
135, 139, 141
and water, boats, sand , and coastline,
37, 73,78,79 , 82, 83 , 90, 91,93 , 96 , 97 ,
107, 108, 109, l l l , 136
Hills, 78, 84, 85 , 126--127
COllage and garden , 120-121
in co unt ry ide , 126-127
desert casita , 4 2- 43
mission-style Villa, 84- 85
and sunli t path , 80-81

Impasto, 12, 19, 34

Impressionism, 76, 114, 127

Kn ives
painting, 7,12,115,130-141
palette, 7, 12 , 13,19 , 64,66, lIS,
selecting, 130

Lakes. See Water (lakes and ponds)
<.:ounlry ide, 126-127
fall, 40-41, 66-67
and scumbling, 12
spring, 48-49

warm and cool colors in, 9,26

Leaves, 15, 19, 34,35,50,51 , 62 , 70, 71 ,
85,96,97, 22, 125
changing wi rlly, 116
and color mixing, 9
direction and intensity of, 24-25
glowing, 79
renec~d, 25 ,76,84, 86,92,102
and s hadows, 11, 24-25
sun, 12, 22,24,34,35 , 44, 45,71,8081,82,88,93, 118, 122, 123 , 141
warm versu cool, 50
Light over dark, 14
Load ing paint (knife painting), 132, 133
Loughlin , J ohn , 30-37

Martini till Life , 102-103
McPherson's Pond , 66-67
Mediums and thinners, 7, 115
Monochromatic painting, 8, 27, 29
Mood. See Colors (crealing mood and
feeling wi th)
Moore , Robert, 16-29
MOUlllain lake, 138-139
Mountains, 12, 15 , 43 , 48,49,66, 1l0,
See also Rocks

Negative painting and space , 96, 125

Obenneyer, ichael, 38-45
Oceans. See Water (oceans, beaches, and
ba ys)
Oil Painting Materia ls and Their Uses
One-point perspective, 10

Pain tin g technique , 12-1. 5,130-133
See also specific techniques; specific types

of paililing~
Paints , grades of, 6
basic, 6, 9
mixing, 7, 115
ee a/so Colol's; Knives (palette)
Palm tree , 96-97,117, 123
Path, sunlit, 80-81

People and faces, 27-29 , 54-55, 63,

86-87 , 109, 119
Photorealisl11 , 5
Photos , use of, 44, 50, 54, 70, 76, 78 , 82 ,
84, 86,88,9 1, 92 , 98, 120, 126
Plein air painting, 47 , 105 , 11 4-115
Pochade, 115
Portraits. See People and faces
Powell, Will iam F , 6, 128-141
Puddles. See Wa ter (pudd les)
Pushing and pulling (knife techniques) ,
131 , 133, 136

Realism,S , 73 , 75 , 87,114, 117
Renections , 13 , 22, 23, 25 , 49 , 102, 103,
See also Ligh t (reneeted); Water (renection o n)
Rivers. See "'later (rivers and streams)
Rocks, 12, 13, 15 , 32-33 , 36,52, 53,
82-83 , 85,98,99, 123, 137
tep by step, I 8, 134
See a/so Mou ntains
Rolling (knife technique), 133
Rooster, 98-99
Ropes, 92-93
Roses, 50-51

an d, 13 ,82, 83 , 96 , 97,106 , 107, 108,
109, 110, Lll, 11 9, 123
awtooth blend, 14
Schneider, William, 60-67
crape, 13
cl'atch , 12
S umble, L2
Seas(;ape , 136-137
Serrano, Frank, 112- 127
Shading, 11
Shadows, 11, 24-25
and boats, 72, 90, 91, 92 , 93 , 124
and Central Par k, 44, 45
and clouds, 116
and ho uses, doorways, and buildings,
42 ,43,70, 78 , 84, 120 , 127
and mountains, ro(;ks, an d hills, 32, 84,
118, 123 , 134, 13 7
and nighttime cafe, 76
and people and faces, 25, 29 , 54, 86, 87
and roo te r, 99
and treet scenes, 62, 63 , 74 , 88

and sunli LpaLh , 80, 81

and trees and nowers, 24, 25, 34,35 , 43,
48 ,50, 65,66,67,70,88, 89 , 96 , 97,
100,101 , IL 7, 120, 122, 125, 127 ,
135, 141
and tres tle, 110
and water and beaches, 23 , 78, 106, 108,
109, 111 , 123 , 136
hapes, ba ic, I I, LOO , J 02
Shon, Kevin, 104-111
Side strokes (knife technique), 132
ketch pad , ll5
kin tone, 55
ky,32,33,34,36,3 7, 41 ,48,49,56, 59,
64,66,67 , 75 , 80,91,96, 97 , 106,
107, 108, 109 , llO, 118, 123, 135 ,
136, 138, 139
cloudy, lep by step, I 16
ee al 0 Cloud
Slash, 12
Smear, 12
Smoke, 51
now, 2 1,3 2-33 ,64-65, 139
Soft ble nd, 13
Spatte r, 13
Sponge, 13
SLalTlp and li ft, 12
Still life
floral, 18-19, 24, 26, 50-51
marine, 102-103
nau tical, 92-93
ru Lie, 100- 101
ti pple, 13
Stones. See Rocks
Stree t scenes, 62-63, 74-75,88-89
Sunflowers , LOO-101
unlight. See Ligh t (sun )
Su nset bea(; h, 106-109
Supplies. See Tools and materials
Supporrs, 6, 115
Swimm, Tom, 68-93

Texture, 12, 13, 32, 33,59, 71, 75, 85, 87,
92 , 93, 118, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134,
138, 141
Th ick pai nt ( technique) , 14, 132
Thin paint (techniq ue), 132
Thinners. See Mediums and thinners
Time, sense of, 123


Toning (underpainling) , 12,32,34,36,

62 , 64 , 66 , 70, 76,78 , 80 82 , 88, 90, 92,
96,98 , 100, 102, 140, 141
Tool and material, 6-7 , 13 , 115 , 130-

See also specific tools



Trees , 13, 15 , 32,33

birch , 34-35
in Cenlral Park , 44-45
cottonwood , 117
and desert casita , 42 ,43
eucalyptus , 125
in rail landscape, 40-41
at harbors, 78, 79, 90 , 9 1
at Henclr}' Beach , 56-59
at McPherson's Pond , 66-67
and mission-st},le villa, 84, 85
and mountain lake, 139
and negative space , 125
pa lm, 96- 97 , 117, 123
pine , 11 7
an d re fl ected light, 25


seasonal, 20- 21
in snowscape , 64-65
in spring landscape, 48-49
lep by tep, l1 7, 13in street scene, 62 , 88
See also Foliage; -orests
Two-point perspective, 10

Underpainting. See Toning
( underpainting)

Varnishes, 7

Waler, 22-23
colors or, 23 , 72, 78, 82, 83 , 96, 107,
110, U8, 136
har bors and piers, 78- 79, 90- 9 1, 119,

lakes and ponds, 22, 23, 66-67 ,

138-139, 140 , 141
lllovemelll in, 36,66, 67 , 72 78 , 90,
1l8, 124, 136, 137
oceans, beaches, and bays, 22 , 36-37,
52-53 , 56-59, 82-83,96-97,
106- 111 , H8 , 123, 136- 137
puddles, 15
rerIeclions on , 22 , 23 , 49 , 66, 67,72,73 ,
78,79, 83 , 90, 91 , 118 , 139,141
rivers and streams , 22 , 23 , 118
sunlight on , 12 , 22 , 72
See also oa Lline
Waves, 52-53
'Wipe away , 13
Work station, 7, 115

Zimmermann , Caroline, 94-)03