Step By Step Demonstrations
Gate / Beck Hole
small, 'plein air' painting was undertaken over a period of approximately
one and a half hours in rapidly changing, evening light.
25 x 30 cm (10" x 12") proprietary canvas covered board
treated as follows:
One coat of texture paste was applied with a 25mm ‘Hog’ brush.
One coat of white acrylic primer was applied to the board.
prepared board was painted with a variegated, coloured ground using
'turpsy' washes of Cadmium Yellow, Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium
6, and 8 ‘Eskoda Perla’, Filbert brushes.
No.3 round Sable or synthetic ‘rigger’.
this demonstration a limited palette of six primary colours (a 'warm'
and 'cool' version of each primary) and an 'Alkyd' white were used:
Red, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Lemon, Ultramarine
Blue and Cerulean Blue. ‘Alkyd’ Titanium White was used to speed
up drying time.
greys were mixed from the above primaries and white.
1: A 'warm', light toned grey.
2: A 'cooler', light toned grey.
3: A dark neutral grey.
odour solvent or White Spirit (used for cleaning the brushes only),
a 2B pencil and a palette knife.
One: Draw Out & 'Block In'
drew a simple outline of the subject using a 2B pencil.
began to 'block in' some of the dark trees in the composition. Ultramarine
Blue plus Alizarin and a touch of one of the yellows will make a
good 'dark' which can be adjusted if necessary by adding white.
Two: Continue the 'Block In'
looked carefully at the subject, squinting my eyes to decide on
the major shapes, then I continued the ‘block in’ by using 'darks'
and 'mid tones'. Slightly lighter, blue / greys, both 'warm' and
'cool', can be mixed for the wall.
this stage I mixed a few 'mid' and 'dark' toned greens for the foliage
in the overhanging trees. I painted the foliage masses in an abstract
manner with a combination of ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ colours and ‘lost
and found’ edges.
now, accurate rendering of colour and detail is not necessary, but
the painting must be fairly accurate with regard to tone.
advisable to experiment with mixes, as there are numerous ways to
achieve the required colours from this limited palette.
Remember, that by adding too much white to colour mixes, you run
the risk of ‘cooling’ the mix too much, or of making the mix appear
Three: Develop the 'Block In' & start the distant foliage.
continued to develop the overall ‘block in’ and at the same time
began to introduce a few lighter, bluer tones to the distant trees
and bushes. By using these 'cooler' tones I was able to create a
feeling of recession in the painting.
Four: Mid Tone Greens in the foreground
now moved my attention to the 'dark' and 'mid' toned 'shadowy',
greens in the foreground.
To enhance the 'shadowy' feel to these greens I introduced a subtle,
'purple / grey' to give a broken, textural effect.
I now paid particular attention to the transitional area where the
wall meets the grass. This area should be carefully blended, ensuring
a 'soft' transition which doesn't attract the eye.
used a few slightly lighter toned greens to paint the overhanging
foliage. These greens can be mixed with combinations of Ultramarine
Blue, Cadmium Yellow with a touch of Cadmium Red plus White for
the 'warmer' greens. For the 'cooler' greens I used Cerulean Blue,
Cadmium Yellow Lemon with a touch of one of the reds and White.
gate, along with further wall details can now be worked on.
Five: Complete the painting
I paying attention to the lighter tones, highlights and final details,
the foreground 'block in' was completed.
now had a wide range of colourful grey mixes to work with, any of
which can be adjusted using, either the pre mixed 'greys', or the
now painted all the lighter tones and the final 'highlights'. I
was careful to avoid the mixes becoming too 'chalky' or 'cool' when
create the feeling of sunlight, the lighter greens were mixed with
a predominance of Yellow. A range of lighter yellowy, greens can
be mixed with a combination of both of the Blues and Yellows together
These lighter, purer, sun-struck areas will need to be mixed only
from the primaries and should be 'fresh' and 'clean' looking.
how the highlights have been painted. The paint has been applied
thickly, using impasto, creating texture which subsequently enhances
the light effect. Look at the use of impasto in the foreground where
the light streams through the gate. It is also very apparent in
the highlights on the gate and gateposts.
now added final details such as the twigs and branches. Care was
taken to keep the painting 'loose' and not to overdo these details.
Before cleaning down my palette and packing up, I took a little
time to make sure that all the 'edges' read well; there should be
a pleasing combination of 'soft' and 'hard' edges which will ensure
that the viewers eye travels through the painting in a pre-determined,
I now took a final look at the 'tonal' sequence of the painting
which should read convincingly.
Gate / Beck Hole
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