Video Library


Planning an idea, sketching, and gouache all help prepare for larger paintings. See Silver Harmony video in 'Process' library for an oil painting of this study.

1hr 30min

Studies are important, and can be fun! In this demo video I present several ways to understand the subject with sketches. Two ways to try a study... 1) copy my demo step-by-step, or 2) find your own material, re-design it based on the tips in the first part, and create your own painting. Demo is in gouache but you can use any media (even just a pencil). Curves in the landscape and basic design tips for shorelines are covered. I do not always do a study but mostly I do as I've seen it make a big difference in my art. Often if I skip a study I have to spend a lot of time re-designing the 'big' painting which wastes paint and can dilute the vitality of the work.

I just can't stress enough how playing with studies can lead to better art. Try to find a way that works for you to move ahead with studies (dots of color, shape, value, line)... it will be time well spent.

Try to overcome the urge to skip a study.

Most students skip this 'chore' to get to the 'fun stuff' (painting). Or, the sketch demo looks easy and simple so often students assume I've solved the problem and thus skip the study.

Simple sketches will take 10 min. Consistently in classes I find students skip the value sorting, and compositional sketching ideas to jump to the main painting (about 95%!!). Yes, the concept is very simple and it should look easy so you can understand it. It's more work to sort this for yourself and re-design an image for better composition, but this is what leads to success and growth. Practice this skill, it will get easier.

The shoreline/curve ideas presented will work for seashore, marsh, rivers, or lake reference.

Marsh Photo