Video Library


Buildings, sun & shadow, texture and distant hills are featured in this demo created plein air in Tuscany. Also noted: special tips on how to navigate changing light conditions.

1hr 4min

This video captures changing light conditions in the landscape. Narration and visual examples show how to overcome this when painting. Shown is the actual scene when I started with inserts and the top blurry portion of the video shows the current scene and light conditions. Reference photo in downloads shows palette, picture, and artwork.

Try working outdoors in changing light. Use a weather app before heading out to know if conditions are 50/50, or mostly overcast/sunny to help you choose which condition to capture. Dark Sky weather app ($3) shows cloud percentage of cover hour-by-hour and is very useful. For Virtual Europe Class members, the 'Paris Grays' video shows how I capture mostly overcast light with just the right amount of sparkle on the water to avoid a drab scene. It's a good compliment to this video which shows how to maintain sunny conditions.


1) Choose sunlight or overcast and stick to that plan

2) When your chosen light condition is happening capture accurate color dots (or color relationships).

3) When the light is gone, work on 'filling out' the color dots with better shapes and how edges meet. Pick a color dot that is easy to manage such as a tree dark, or warm "nook shadow".

4) Always relate your groups of 'light, medium, and dark' and correct the mass shapes when things get off track.

5) Beginners can snap a photo if this 'chasing the light' task seems overwhelming, all artists should try to use memory as much as possible to sharpen observation skills.

6) Avoid tidy edges or sharp lines, this often undermines a painting quickly and is not accurate information nor time well spent. I find lines and crisp edges happen frequently when a painting is floundering and we wonder 'what to do next'?

7) When in doubt unify! Scrape out a small part or all of a painting (oil), or blot/melt edges (watercolor).  

8) Restate. Move on from mushy middle blobs to accurate lights and darks.

9) Review in the studio and tweak if needed. It's probably a better painting than you think it is when indoors away from the scene, vs in the field.

10) Practice!

Tuscan Villa Photo Art