Virtual Europe

An intuitive start leads to looser work and more options for composition. Demo in Oil. See Assignment tab for Watermedia notes.


Don't be too eager to draw everything out and have tidy edges. To loosen up try 'blob-to-reality' painting. It's important to know what your main values will be (sky is light, field darker or mid-tone, trees are darkest. Then you can have fun with color mixing on the panel and try out details when ready. See Assignment tab for media details and more about pre-drawing or not.

PHOTOS & PROCESS: Use the provided photos to re-create my demo. Artists should be mindful of how you feel about not drawing all the elements in before painting. Does this make you very uncomfortable? Or does this feel like freedom? Knowing which type of artist you are is important. There is no right or wrong way, so if you feel an overwhelming urge to pre-draw consider how you can adopt some of my intuition style to fit your way of painting. Start with areas of similar value to be intuitive, for example the sky and the near field. Artists looking for a challenge should gather your own set of photos to work from. Look for interesting shapes and jagged edges. Look for consistent lighting conditions. This will help you splice together a successful combination.

BOSSY INNER VOICE: Notice how some of the art goes quickly when I'm sure of the grouped shapes and value, then when I get realistic and literal as to objects (road, tree, building shape/size) I slow down and struggle with this. I add and subtract paint - you can see this as a mistake, or as part of the intuition process. It's important to quiet the bossy inner voice that might yell at you: 'that looks terrible' I know I had to make my inner voice be quiet while creating this! Trust the process and see where it goes. Be careful of what I call 'catalog brain' which is the side of your brain that likes to take over artwork by cataloging the world into 'white cloud, blue sky, green tree, tan road, etc.' Suppress literal interpretations with grouped shapes, value, and juicy paint blobs.

Oil Notes: Brushes in this demo are slightly dirty from a prior painting session. I used 4 brushed to create this painting: #2, #4 (2), #6 Ivory Long Flat brushes by Rosemary. Panel is 10x10" Centurion all media primed but you can use any size, including trying to stretch my design to fit a vertical or horizontal.

Watercolor Notes: artists can still try the blob and intuition idea, but do draw (try pale brushwork lines instead of pencil) some very general main bands of your landscape so you have an idea of where things are and to break up the white of the paper. To 'save' the lights and brights, paint these first so you can cut around later with darker colors and washes. Place a very pale wash of burnt umber for the road and building cubes, also a few pure yellow dabs for the near sunflowers. Next paint the pale sky as shown with mingled colors (don't worry about the darker hills and trees as they can overlap the sky later). Next create the dappled near fields and don't use a green chroma that is too strong (mix warm greens, Burnt Umber works well to warm up green mixes). Finally start your darkest darks (the trees) and go around the buildings with your dark color of the cypress (Hookers Green + Burnt Umber + French Ultramarine).

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