Nature Elements

Study to Studio Process in-depth. Key elements in the landscape are explored (sky, tree, water, shore, grasses, far tree groupings) and how to successfully fit them together for large work.


This large summer painting, surprisingly, would not have happened with out my prior humble winter 'gray day' studies. This video shows how plein air observation can unlock creativity.

Create a larger painting than you are used to. You can either 'size up' a small study as I did here, or try without. But DON'T SKIP THE PART 1 HUMBLE STUDIES exercise first! The subject matter does not have to relate but I'll bet in hindsight you will discover one informed the other. Beginners might feel more comfortable focusing on painting just one element such as the main tree shown in this video.

This 2 part video lesson is great for all levels and media. It's great for getting looser, and especially for those who want to break out of a rut and improve. New artists might wonder what all the fuss is about as in the beginning it's fun to try any project. However, not all art efforts allow students to move forward in learning. Photo copying will foster bad habits that get harder to break. Small task-focused creative efforts offer a quicker path to 'outside the box' creative thinking.

OIL: Try to stay in the drawing and block-in stage as long as possible with large oil art. Avoid rushing into details too soon. you might need to scrape down, restate, or adjust often. I can't remember any good painting I ever did in oil that did not get this treatment.

WATERCOLOR: Know your groups of light, medium and dark. Strong light/dark contrast or sun/shadow is better with dry edges (not wet-in-wet). Larger work can suffer from not enough paint and pale anemic washes. A larger palette might be needed, or at least put out fresh paint blobs. Use your largest brushes and consider pre-wetting the paper for the first light wash (such as doing the sky all wet-in-wet).

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