Three Palms Demo, 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2014
This weekend I taught a workshop in Austin to a group of wonderful, hardworking painters. I promised them that I would post process notes from my demo from the first day, so here goes… a step by step explanation of how the painting came together.
Step 1 - Sketch/Composition
This is a simple sketch of the scene using a mix of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna. The triangle in back indicates how the forms work together to create a pyramid type composition. (Putting in the triangle also helped me reign in the elements as I blocked them in.)
Step 2 - Block in large Shapes and Values
Using the same dark neutral mix, I established a range of values in the composition. At this point I kept the paint fairly dry and thin.
Step 3 - Mass-in Upright Planes
Working dark to light, I painted the uprights planes, adjusting the values to cooler and lighter as they receded into the distance (color becomes muted and contrast softens as elements recede).
Step 4 - Mass in Ground Plane and Sky Plane
The sky was overcast and grey; but rather than go straight to those muted tones, I laid down a foundation of warm peachy tones that I observed in the atmosphere. My hope was that those warm tones would bring some life into the misty sky.
Step 5 - Break up Masses and Add Highlights
Once the values of the planes were all working together, I began to break up the large masses. I added the grays of the sky and the brighter greens of the ground plane, using subtle value and temperature shifts. I saved the little details (like the fence and house) and the brightest highlights until the very end. It's always an exercise of restraint to hold off on those final marks!