How To Begin A Landscape Painting Using Oils

In this painting tutorial the artist talks about how you use different stages to plan and organise your composition to optimise your results on your canvas.

The landscape painting consists of an old barn within the hilly landscape of Townsend, Tennessee. With a small flat paintbrush using serilium blue oil paint by Charvin he begins to paint ‘gesturally’ and lightly looking for shapes within the composition to work from in another tutorial. He also explains how he uses a long bristle brush to work on this stage because firstly it is easier to work this type of brush, and secondly with the short haired bristles the movement of the paint on the canvas is not as fluid so can easily cause shorter and more jerky strokes.

The reason for the use of the serilium blue is that it is light in color, so when painting summery landscapes in particular it, it blends easily with all the other colors usually used within the palette thus not being overly dominant and taking control of the landscape. When locating your focal point it is common practice to place it off centre, so on this occasion the barn itself has been placed to the left of the ‘visual centre’ to allow a more natural composition.

Within landscape painting there are usually a series of geometric triangles created, these triangles are found wihin the rolling hills, the roofs of buildings and even the skylines. The artist in this oil painting lesson shows how you can look for these and maximise on their ability to completely control and improve a painting. The angle of the planes found within the hills and the barn building channels enough information with very little small brush work so the tutor in this video moves on to a larger but similar brush to introduce more fill to the composition with the chance to introduce more tones and contrast within the painting.

The first stages of the painting are very mechanical but extremely important so great care must be taken with your time management here – the more time you spend on this stage achieving the perspective and shapes the more you and your painting will benefit in the later stages as you won’t be correcting mistakes from this stage. This initial stage is also very important as they allow you to find form and values within your objects.

The white oil paint is then introduced into the painting to add highlights to the top of the fields to again increase the depth of perspective. Using an ultramarine and alizerine mix, a darker complimentary blue is created and with a thin paint brush parts of the roof and linear regions can be ‘reconstructed’ to give a more prominent aspect in this early stage of painting.

It is very important to achieve a range of tones when beginning a landscape painting as well as perspective and balance, so what this painting tutorial teaches is essential in gaining all of these practices.

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    1. Hi Dick,really like your very instructional videos so many thanks.I am interested in your Surname “Ensing. Can you tell me if it is derived from “Ensign” which as far as I know was a Flag of some kind or a person who carried flags of a particular cause.Greetings from Ireland.

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    2. Hi Dick I love the Hat, Is it U.S.made ?Would love to include it into one of my “Still Lifes” I am hooked at present on Flowers and Vases and I wonder do you do very much in that line? Now I’m getting a bit bored with that and wonder what next do you think I should move over to, maybe Compositions ,Seascapes or other How do I decide..?.

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