Impressionist Landscapes - Simplifying & Massing - How to Achieve a Painterly Style | Rachael Broadwell | Skillshare

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Impressionist Landscapes - Simplifying & Massing - How to Achieve a Painterly Style

teacher avatar Rachael Broadwell, Fine Arts Teacher

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

16 Lessons (1h 22m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Sketch 1: Black & White

    • 3. Sketch 2: Value Study

    • 4. Palette Set-Up & Supplies

    • 5. Thoughts About Toning

    • 6. Dark Values Block-In

    • 7. Medium Values Block-In

    • 8. Light Values Block-In

    • 9. Color Block-In 1

    • 10. Color Block-In 2

    • 11. Color Block-In 3

    • 12. Color Block-In 4

    • 13. Color Block-In 5

    • 14. Emphasizing Structure & Texture

    • 15. Final Touches

    • 16. Process Overview (timelapse)

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About This Class

Do you struggle to achieve a "loose, painterly" quality to your landscape paintings? Do you find yourself overwhelmed trying to paint landscapes that seem to be dominated by detail? In this course, I will teach you my process of simplifying and massing landscapes into large, abstract blocks. I believe painting should be enjoyable and even rejuvenating, which is why it's important to be able to have a loose and relaxed approach! 

I will be demonstrating an entire landscape painting with oil paint, but these concepts can be applied to any other medium. Don't worry about having the exact colors that I use. I intentionally use a very simple limited palette so you do not feel hindered by specialty colors.

If you'd like to paint along with me, I have included my original photo reference in the course. I recommend watching the course in full before painting along. I especially recommend watching the segment called "Process Overview" so you can get a bird's-eye-view of how the process comes together. This will make each full lesson make more sense in context.

If you have any questions, need clarification, or encounter an issue in your painting that you're unsure how to address -- post to the discussion! I am very responsive and I'm here to help!

I hope you enjoy this course!


I will be developing a series of courses that address various concepts and challenges in landscape painting -- please follow me so you don't miss new courses coming soon!

Rachael B.

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Rachael Broadwell

Fine Arts Teacher


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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome. Teoh Impressionist Landscape painting, Simplifying and massing. My name is Rachel, and in this course I am going to show you my process. Teoh simplify a landscape scene and to paint in a loose and painterly fashion, I'll be demonstrating an entire landscape painting in the medium that I'll be using is oil paints. However, these concepts and applications apply across many mediums the colors that I use our recommendations, and I'm going to use a very simple basic color palettes. So don't worry if you don't have the exact colors that I have. This'll course will be very useful for you if you find that you struggle to achieve a loose , painterly style. If you feel often overwhelmed by scenery and landscape paintings, and if you feel like you tend to get obsessed with details, especially when you're painting from photo references, I'm going to show you how to simplify your landscape painting process by showing you how you can abstract the scene into bold, large shapes. How using a larger brush than what you might typically use and also using palette knives to paint can help you Teoh. Avoid getting lost in detail and to work in a more painterly fashion. How you can exaggerate the colors that you see in your photo references in order to achieve a more widely painting. And very importantly, we're going to talk about waiting until you're close to the end of your painting process before you even start thinking about detail. If you would like to pay along with me, I will be linking the photo reference that I used for this painting in the project. And I really encourage you to try to apply these concepts Teoh your own scenes and compositions. If you would like to paint along with me, I recommend watching the course once through so that you're familiar with the concepts. And I would especially recommend watching the process overview, which is one of the last videos in this course. I think that having a bird's eye view of the entire process and seeing how everything comes together in the end will make the lessons and the lectures, along with the painting process, make a lot more sense. As you go. I really look forward to seeing your projects that you post, and of course, if you have any questions at all, I'm very responsive to questions, so please feel free to post those, and I'll make sure that I answer them for you. Michael, as a teacher is to help make the painting experience fun and relaxing. So I really hope that you enjoy this course, and I really look forward to seeing your paintings. 2. Sketch 1: Black & White: when I need to simplify a subject, The first thing that I'm going to do to start solving this issue is to do a very simple black and white sketch. And when I say black and white, I don't mean drawing a bunch of lines with your black marker or your black pen. I mean literally scribbling in blacks and trying to interpret your subject as if you only have access Teoh black and white so you can see that in my photo reference. I have a lot of middle values going on in here, and that really makes it difficult to see all of the biggest, most simplest shapes. So what I'm going to do is challenge myself with this Sharpie to do a quick, small sketch in my sketchbook, and I'm going Teoh, try to identify areas in this photo that I can interpret as entirely black, and then I'm going to also interpret areas that can be entirely white. And of course, that's not true to life. As I said, there's just tons of middle values in here. There's a few very dark values and a few very light values, but to simplify it, I'm going Teoh kind of push those values quite a lot. And so you can see I started out just by kind of drawing and where the bridge is going to be, since that's kind of the focal point of this composition. But then everything around it I need to interpret into completely black and white, and that's going to help me define the abstract patterns in here and the largest, simplest shapes. And I can also make changes to the composition. For example, you see the mass of trees on the left. I brought those down just a little bit so that this composition wouldn't be so overwhelmed by all of the trees. I wanted a little bit more sky showing through. But overall, I'm just thinking of these shapes as being abstract and not as trees and water and the things that they literally are. I'm just thinking of them as very abstract shapes 3. Sketch 2: Value Study: for this composition. I'm actually going to do yet another black and white sketch this time with just a pen rather than a marker, and that the reason that I'm switching over to a pen and doing this sketch again is because I want to be able Teoh break this black and white sketch down into a few different value levels. So I already have my most abstract black and white composition on the left. And by using more of a pen rather than a marker, I can vary the scribbles and the concentration of my marks to indicate different value levels. And so this is just another step in my problem solving process that I employ. If my composition is especially challenging, and the challenging aspect of this composition again is all those middle values and also all the greens, so we don't have a lot of color indicators in this composition, and since I'm working from a photo and that from life, it's really helpful just to take a few extra minutes. Teoh really think about how this composition can come together in a way that makes sense. But it's also very simple and easy on the eyes So what I'm doing is I'm trying to basically identify three or four different value levels in this composition. Again, I've made a few changes to the composition overall, just to make it a little bit more visually interesting and varied. But I'm still working very loose. I'm just scribbling things in. I'm not at all being precise about every little detail that I see in the photograph, and that's a challenge when you work from photographs because it's right there and you can stare at it forever. But try to just keep your sketches Teoh, maybe five minutes or less. 4. Palette Set-Up & Supplies: Let's go over of the colors that I'm going to use for this simplification study. First settle put on my palate is just titanium white. This is a pretty standard white. And when I'm setting up my palate, I like to place things in about the same spot each time, which is why you can see a little bit of staining on my palettes. Next, I'm going to use cadmium lemon, and this is a very strong pigment. This is gonna be a coal yellow and with yellows, I would typically say that a cool yellow is going Teoh lean toward a lemon yellow, which this, of course, is called cadmium lemon. Or you know just what you might think of stereotypically as being kind of a sunshine color . Next, I'm going to use cadmium yellow medium, and this is a warmer horns. You could certainly have a an even warmer orange such as a yellow Oakar, and I'm going to be using a relatively simple color palette for this study. It's I'm gonna have to different yellows. But then I'm just going Teoh stick Teoh um, one red, which for this will be a permanent rose. This is kind of a cool read. It leans a little bit more magenta, and then my only blue is going to be ultra marine blue, and this is kind of a cool blue. And I say that it is a cool blue because it leans more toward into go or violet, whereas a warm blue would lean a little bit closer to green. And then I'm going to have some raw number, and I primarily use this just to help me establish darks. Typically, if I need to mix up a very dark color, all mix my raw umber with and ultra marine blue, and you don't need to have the exact colors that I have. I'm basically just using some very basic primary colors, and I'm using a very limited palette, which I recommend so that you don't get lost with too many color options. And for this study, I have just an eight by 10 canvas panel. Sometimes I do my studies on like an oil paper, but this was handy, so I'm just gonna use that, and then I'm gonna limit my brushes to just a few and really in proportion to the size of my canvas panel. These air pretty large brushes. I don't want to use a small brush because small brushes kind of enable us to start picking at details. And I want to stay. Really, General, I want my shapes to be very large and prominent because, remember, the whole point of doing this study is to simplify this scene, and we can't simplify when we're using tiny brushes. And then, of course, I always have a palette knife. I don't know that I'll actually use this Teoh do any actual painting. But I do like to mix my colors with the palette knife, and then the solvent that I have is actually a Citrus solvent. So this is a non toxic solvents, and it actually smells pretty good. And so sometimes I like to use this instead of odorless mineral spirits because odorless mineral spirits are still toxic and they do still smell so whenever I can. I like to just use my Citrus solvent, and it's a little bit more expensive, but I really think is worth the investment. If you're going to be doing a lot of painting indoors and then the last thing that I will use is just a little bit of linseed oil, and I'm going to be using this, probably a toward the end of my study just because they tend to paint very thickly and in order to add little details, which I will do just for the bridge. I'm going to need to thin my paint, so I'll use just a little bit of linseed oil. I usually just keep it in one of these plastic air, take containers. These air actually condiment cubs that I have purchased on Amazon and the really nice for storing paint and oil and mediums. 5. Thoughts About Toning: so the first thing that I want to do is just to tone my surface, my canvas. And if you've seen my other classes, you'll notice that I like to use red to tone my surface. But toning your surface is really kind of something that's up to you. It's not. It's not a necessary part of the process, but some people prefer to do it. Some people prefer not to do it. And if you do choose Teoh tone your surface, the color isn't super importance. Personally, I like the red. Usually. What you want to look for, though, is a color that has kind of a medium value. So typically, I'm not going to use yellow because that's a very light value. I'm also not going to use a blue because it's kind of a dark value. Some people like to use an earth tone like burnt sienna. You could use your raw number and just make sure it's very thin so its not too dark or you could even combine yellow and red and just get kind of an orange. I like to use a tone that is warmer in temperature, so I probably wouldn't use a green, even though it is a medium value. And the other reason I probably wouldn't use a green, especially for a landscape actually using a green for maybe a portrait could be interesting , but I wouldn't use a green for a landscape just because landscapes tend tohave a lot of greens in them. And I really want a tone that maybe contrasts a little bit with that. And like I said, though, that is just a personal preference. So what I did here was I applied my just a little bit of my red paint. And then I used a brush that I dipped in my solvent to spread it around. And now I'm using a paper towel just to rub it in, because basically what I want this to do is just Teoh stain the fibers of the surface. And I tend to do this, whether I'm painting on canvas or on paper, or if I'm painting on a wood panel and it's primed white. Now I do have some wood panels, and they're primed with a clear Jess. Oh, and so you can actually see the brown of the woods through the Jaso. And in those cases, I probably wouldn't necessarily need to do any toning. But another reason that I do like to tone is because the surface is very dry and rough, usually whether you're working with canvas or paper or wood. And I usually find that toning the surface just kind of helps to lubricate the service a little bit, so that when you're applying paint, it glides over the surface a little bit more easy and it makes the process. I think just a little bit. I mean, literally. It has less friction, so it just kind of makes things go a little bit easier. Toning the canvas also makes it a little bit easier to judge your values, so if you struggle with that, I do recommend it. 6. Dark Values Block-In: now that I have my canvas toned, What I'm going to do initially is a very basic blocking, and I'm basically going to be replicating a little bit of my sketching process. So I'm going to first block in everything with just one value. I've mixed some of my ultra marine blue and my burnt umber Teoh get really dark, rich color. And then I added just a little bit of my solvent to that. Just a thin it down so that I can easily scribble this onto my canvas. And again, I'm just going to keep this very abstract, very loose I'm not thinking about Okay, this is gonna be a tree, and this is gonna be a bridge I again and just looking for the most basic abstract shapes that I can simplify into a dark value and then just have my toned canvas showing through where the values are going to be a little bit lighter. And another thing to know is that I am using my larger brush. I'm going to be using this larger brush for the vast majority of this painting, I have a couple other brush is standing by, but because I really want to keep everything very simple and Impressionist. I'm definitely going to stay away from using any brushes that are very small because I'm not going to be in here painting individual leaves or even branches. In fact, even on the bridge, you can see that there some detail in the bridge, and I might get to that at the very end of the painting. But I'm still going to use a brush that's pretty large, and I'm not going to be very detail oriented, even about that bridge. And I think that an important thing to remember about this aspect of the painting process, where I'm working very simply and I'm overly simplifying everything you can't even see that there's any difference between the foreground grass and where the water of this little river begins. And I think that's something that you just have Teoh be comfortable with and just trust in the process. But for now, just keep everything as abstract and simple as you can 7. Medium Values Block-In: Now I'm going to continue blocking in the very most basic shapes and values of this composition. And now I'm going to move on Teoh a somewhat lighter value. And I'm gonna be really careful not to add any white to get this lighter value. So I'm primarily relying on adding red and yellow to this mix. And for this stage of the painting, I'm really not very concerned at all about the actual color that I'm using. I just want to make sure that the value that I'm using is kind of right in the middle. And I'm just going to start identifying areas in the painting that are not so dark. And I'm just gonna start blocking this in very loosely and that this point in the painting process, I'm not thinking about color. Actually at all, I'm only thinking about values. It just so happens that I'm using color to indicate different levels of value in the composition in. Since this really is just a value study, I want to make sure that the way that I apply my pain isn't too thick, which for me is a concern, because with my style, I do tend to use thick imposter applications of paint. So I'm just trying to be really careful not to have too much buildup at this level because I'm going to be applying color on top of this value study. And you can see that the way that I am putting these blocks of color on Teoh my surface are indeed very blocky. So I'm still not thinking of the literal things that I'm painting. So I'm not thinking of trees of water, of grass, anything like that. I'm really only thinking about the values, and at this point I'm only looking at my photograph through my own personal filter of just finding values. And if you find yourself struggling to determine the values when you're looking at a color photo reference, you might consider using a filter to make that photograph just black and white or monochromatic. While you work on this stage of the painting 8. Light Values Block-In: for the final phase of the initial values block in I'm going, Teoh now get to work on some of the lighter values that I see, and I'm initially going to start out with just some yellow. So I'm using both my lemon yellow and then my medium yellow together so that I don't have a temperature that's too strong in one direction or the other. And for this composition, I know that yellow is going to kind of be a dominant color anyway. And so I'm going to go ahead and start building that into my value structure. And if you squint your eyes, you'll actually see there's not a huge value difference between this yellow and the color that I mixed previously for a mid value. And so I'm going to use this where it's appropriate. In this composition, however, the sky and there's a little tiny reflection in the water just under the bridge that is much lighter in value than this. Even so, I will end up mixing another light value, and I'm just going to use this in areas where I don't necessarily want any white, so it's a light value, but I still don't want any white in this mix, and there's a couple of reasons why I really avoid using white until the very end. I tend to paint from my darkest values, and then I try to work up to my light values. Now different phases of the painting process are going. Teoh cause it to look like I'm going back and forth a little bit because I will be using some white in this portion of the painting. But I'm only going to apply it in areas of the painting that are going to have white in them in the end anyways. So as I'm working on all of these masses in the foreground in the mid ground, where we have a lot of our middle values, I really want to avoid using white at this early stage in the painting because using white is going, Teoh somewhat pollute every color and every application that you place on top of it. And so I really try Teoh light in my values by using yellows or even reds in the initial phases of the painting as much as possible. But now you can see that I'm adding some white to this mix and for this guy, I don't necessarily want it to be overtly blue. It's actually just going to be a very light value. And so what I'm mixing here is technically blue and yellow, which of course, is green. But it's going to be such a light value that in the end it's not going to read as green. But I don't want it to be two starkly blue. But I also do need some temperature variation in this overall painting, which, of course, is going to have a lot of warm temperatures in a given the trees and the water. There's a lot of yellows and greens and only even throw in some oranges into this composition as well, even though they're not necessarily present in my photo reference. So what I'm doing, you can see that I had blocked in some of the branches that are crossing over the sky area of this painting, and I'm trying as much as I can to just paint around those dark marks again, because if I just completely pay over those with this really light value, then when I tried to go back and paint those dark branches and again, it's going to be really difficult to paint with dark paints over the light value of the sky . This guy will just end up kind of diluting those dark marks that I try to place on top of it. So as much as possible, I just want to try to pay around those branches, and I don't want my sky to be completely flat. So I'm just adding a little bit of variation, kind of just messing with this value, starting to think a little bit more about color, especially in this area of the painting, because I won't have to do a lot of work to it later on in the process will be mostly working on our dark areas and our middle values so we can get the sky color as close as we want to at this point, and you can see I'm really being very reserved about where replaced my lightest values. Down in the water. There's a little bit of a reflection of the sky in the water, but I don't want to overdo that. Oh, and the other reason that I really try to avoid using white too early in the painting process or to light in my values with white when I don't necessarily need Teoh is because using white toe light in your values can tend to make your paintings look a little bit chalky. So if you find that that is happening to you, you might be using too much white Teoh. Shift your values lighter and you might need Teoh. Start relying a little bit more on recognizing that each color kind of has a value inherent to it, and you can usually use those colors to lighten your values rather than resorting toe white . 9. Color Block-In 1: Now I'm going to be making my first color pass on this painting, and I'm going to want to start with my darker colors. So I'm removing that light sky color from my mixing area, and I even whites it away with my paper towel just to make sure it wouldn't pollux any of my dark colors. And I started out by mixing just some blue and some yellow to make a green, but I wanted to tone it down, so I also added a little bit of my red in there, and this is going to be a nice dark green, and I'm going to use this very liberally when I'm working with dark colors, dark values. There's really no reason to be reserved in where I placed these, because is pretty easy to apply lighter colors and lighter values on top of your darker ones. And as I referenced my photograph every once in a while, I'm not really looking at the specific color and trying to match the colors that I see in the photograph that has a lot of problems inherent to it. If you try to stick too close to the colors that you see in a photograph reference. Overall, it's going to make your painting look very flat and also a little bit lifeless. The colors from our cameras get compressed quite a bit, and painting outdoors and painting from life is definitely the best way to see all of the true color variation in our world. But even if I'm working from a photo reference, what I do is I somewhat ignore those specific compressed colors that I'm seeing in the photograph. And I'm really just trying Teoh get the basic essence of these colors. So obviously I mixed up a green and I'm allowing the value to be very dark, and I don't want this to be too saturated of a green. So I had added a little bit of red, and now I am. It's still working with a very dark color, but I've added a lot of red in there so that I can begin Teoh block in some of the branches in those distant trees. And the reason that I'm interpreting those as being a little bit more red is because I want them to be able to contrast against all of the greens in this composition, and I also just really don't want my composition to be overwhelmed with a bunch of greens. Even if I had lots of value, variation and even temperature variation in the greens, it can be a little bit overwhelming. And so I tried to just interpret some colors a little bit more subjectively. In order, Teoh add contrast where it might not otherwise exist, So red is a complementary color to green. And so that's why I decided Teoh add a lot of reds to the dark color that I used for those branches, and I'm also going to use it a little bit on the bridge area, and I will say to that this bridge is going to remain very unfinished until the very end of this painting. I'm not going to do much work on that at all, because there are some details in there, and right now I'm really focused on these big shapes, these abstract forms and I'm focused on value. So the colors that I'm using for the bridge right now we think of those more is being kind of a placeholder for where that's going to be located, and another thing that I want to make note of is that in these initial color passes, I'm going to be basically working from this one mix and just shifting the color in the different directions that I wanted to go. So rather than having any really pure and bright saturated colors, I'm going to keep. My color is very muted, and this helps me to get a lot of cohesion between my colors. It helps the color palettes and the color scheme of the painting overall to be a little bit more unified, and it also is going to help me. Teoh have a nice base on which I can build more saturated and bold, bright colors. And so I think it might be tempting. Teoh, you know, get excited by bright colors that you might see in the composition and want to start working in those right away. And I think that there are certainly lots of different ways to paint that are acceptable, and it's really just up to your preference. And so this is kind of my philosophy that I like to start out very general. I like to build a nice dark base and structure for my painting, and then I like to use colors that are a little bit more muted and interpreted. And then, in the end, I get to use a lot of artistic license and really decide what I want to emphasize. And I think if you do choose to use more saturated bright colors in the beginning, you might end up with a painting where different elements of the composition are in competition with one another. And so, by keeping things a little bit more muted and basic in the beginning, I can make those choices more consciously, and I'm not in as much risk of over doing it. And I'm trying to keep my color mixes basically in line with the values that I've already identified. So I don't want Teoh make any big changes to the value structure that I laid down for this composition. And so when I am mixing colors, I'm trying Teoh keep the values consistent with the values of my initial blocking. One area of this painting, in particular that I'm going to end up taking a lot of license with is just this little bit of water right here in the mid ground. In the painting, it's kind of a yellowish green, and overall this composition was extremely green. And as I said, I really want Teoh push things and be very subjective in my use of color. So I'm interpreting some of this water as being very orange, and so that might seem kind of unnatural. But usually what I find is that if I stay close, Teoh the appropriate value, the lightness or darkness of that area and the temperature. So how warm or cool the color is. I can push that color in one direction or another so 10. Color Block-In 2: for this next pass of color application, I get Teoh bring my value up a little bit. So I'm going to be working in the middle range of value, and I'm also going to start using colors that are a little bit brighter and more saturated . So I'm starting out here by mixing up basically your standard orange. So just some yellows and on my warm yellow and then some of my permanent rose. And this is where I'm really going to start exaggerating some of the color in this painting just to add a little bit more visual interest. And I don't need Teoh entirely cover up anything that I've done before. In fact, I really don't want to, because there's always a reason that I have applied colors and one of the benefits of painting in the alla prima method Alla prima, of course, meaning all at once, or some people just call it wet into wet application. But the benefit of doing that is that your applications of paint are going Teoh blend in or mix in with the previous applications that you've replied because everything is still what and this especially happens for me just because of the way that I apply paint in a very thick or in pasta method. So now I am taking that yellow, and I've just added a little bit of my blue and they're a little bit more of my cool yellow , and now we're going to get kind of a really nice standard green. Now this isn't the most saturated green that I could possibly get. Because, of course, I did use my previous mix to create this. And so it has a little bit of red in there, so it's a little bit more muted. Then it could be, but again, I'm leaving myself room at the end. Teoh have a lot of license and really make decisions about where I want my boldest colors to be. And you'll notice, too, that at this stage of the painting, I'm still using the same brush that I have been using for this entire painting so far. Every once in a while, I am cleaning it off and just kind of getting the bristles so that they don't have a lot of paint on them. At no point do I really need this brush to be completely clean, usually just wiping it off on a paper towel is enough just to get the excess paint off so that I don't pollute subsequent mixes. But using a large brush is really the best way that I have found to get really loose looking paintings and to avoid fiddling too much with details and large brushes. Air surprisingly versatile. E I think that if you challenge yourself to really stick with using a brush that you feel is too large, you find different ways to use that brush. Teoh make even smaller marks. For example, I can load paint just on Teoh the very tip of this brush, and use that to make very narrow marks such as lines. I can also load paints just onto one corner of the brush and just paint with that corner to make smaller marks. If I need Teoh, you can see that at this stage of the painting, I really am kind of using the whole brush for the most part, and I'm controlling the size of my marks just with my stroke size, so I can put down a really large stroke and cover a lot of area, or I can keep the stroke relatively short, and I can also change the direction that I paint just by shifting the brush or even changing the way that I'm holding it in my hand. And just doing that gives you work a lot of variety. Typically, I like to do my mixing with the palette knife, but for making small shifts or just adding a little bit more color into the mix, I will typically just use my brush to do a little bit of that mixing because taking the brush out of my hand and grabbing the palette knife gets to be a little bit cumbersome sometimes. So anything that I can dio Teoh improvise and make the process more fluid. There's definitely no hard and fast rules about that. In fact, a lot of people I've seen don't even use they're palette knife to do any kind of mixing at all. Personally, I like to use my palette knife to mix colors just because I end up not losing paint into the bristles of the brush or if I mix the color and it's not quite right. I haven't lost a lot of paint into the bristles of my brush, and then the downside of using the palette knife. Teoh mixes that sometimes I end up mixing up more color than I need. Teoh, or the shifts that I make are sometimes a little bit too much. So there's pros and cons, and it really just depends on what you're most comfortable with. 11. Color Block-In 3: and now I'm just going to continue working on color. But all the while that I'm working on color, it's really important for me to continuously remind myself to keep things really simple in general. One of the challenges here is working in a way that is very simplified. But I want to also implement different ways of achieving variety in here so that the variety conduce some of the work that would otherwise be done by adding a lot of small details. So, of course, one thing that we've already talked about is having variety within your values. So the lights and the darks. You also want to have a variety of temperature. So how warm or cool your colors are, and then another way that you can achieve variety will still keeping your composition and your technique very simple, is to have a variety of texture. And so that's kind of what I'm working on in this section. The texture that I want to use in the trees that are kind of in the background is gonna be a little bit softer and then in the water. I want that Teoh have a lot of horizontal and smooth textures and then, of course, in the foreground grass. I want to have a little bit of a more energetic texture, and they're so lots of brushstrokes, a lot of imposter. It'll applications just to really bring out the texture of that grass. And there's gonna be, hopefully a lot of contrast between those two textures, the texture of the grass in the foreground, and then the water of the mid ground and this area in the distance. That's kind of under and behind the bridge. It's a little bit tricky because it seems like there's a lot of things going on back there . There's a shadow from the bridge over the water. There's a lot of greens reflecting into the water from the trees, and then there's also little bits of sky reflecting into that water. But rather than thinking of all of those different things, I'm really just trying to keep it very loose and simple. And I'm trying to just interpret the values and the temperatures in that area to help me simplify that little bit of a challenging aspect of this composition. And I think it's really important to continuously remind yourself. Teoh Trust in the process of working from your big general shapes and gradually working up Teoh these smaller shapes that are really going to bring everything together. So if you're looking at your composition and it doesn't yet make sense, don't worry, just keep working. 12. Color Block-In 4: and now I'm going to spend a little bit more time in this color pass, just really working on getting some good variety of color. I'm going back into the water where a little bit of this shadow is falling on the water, and I decided that the value was a little bit off. It was a little bit too dark, and it was a little bit disjointed from that orange and yellow that I applied where the sun is actually hitting the water. So I went back in with a mixed that leaned a lot more toward read. It didn't have as much blue in it. And so it's still very dark, but it helps to kind of unify that area and bring that all together. And now I'm going Teoh, get to work on some of my lighter values. So I basically just mixed up this yellow, which is pretty bright and saturated. Do you still have a little bit of red on my brush? Because I didn't feel the need. Teoh really wipe that off too much, so some of that red can mix in with that yellow, and sometimes those intentional color mingling zones add a lot to your painting, so don't shy away from using a brush that's a little bit dirty because you never know what you're going to get. It might be unexpected, and at first you might think that Oops, it's an accident. But, ah, lot of times I think it actually adds here, painting some going into this area of the trees where the sun is illuminating the leaves, especially toward the outer edges. And in general, as I move toward my lighter values my brighter colors. I tend to just be a little bit more sparing in my application. So I put in a little bit more thought into where these are going to go because thes colors , even if I use them to cover just a small portion of the painting. Our eyes air really attracted Teoh these bright colors and lighter values. So I definitely want to make sure that I don't overdo it, and still I'm keeping everything very simple. I'm keeping my brush strokes very blocking. I'm still using that same brush that I started out with so you can start to see how I maneuver the brush just to work in smaller physical areas of the painting rather than switching over to a smaller brush. And this just really helps to enable me, Teoh, keep everything very loose and very simple, very painterly So far in the water area, I didn't pay too much attention to the direction of my strokes. But as I said, I do want some variety in texture here, and the grass is gonna have a lot of short vertical strokes. And so I want the water to really be in contrast to that and say I'm going to start adding just a few horizontal long strokes in there. And adding these horizontal strokes is also going to help to unify these different colors and different values in the water and help to bring that all together in the composition. But I don't need Teoh have these horizontal strokes all over the water. Actually, just a few should really do the trick. So I'm going to really think about where replace those, and I'm gonna work really hard not to overdo it. And sometimes it seems a little bit strange even to me to say something like, I have to work really hard not to overdo it. But I think that we do have a natural tendency as humans to be extremely detail oriented and Teoh. It feel like we need Teoh put in every detail in order for our painting to make sense. But that's actually just not the case. And so time experience in practice will show you that using a process of simplification helps you to achieve a really cohesive composition while keeping it very loose and painterly. And I think that that's just one of those things that is literally easier said than done. So now I'm going back in. This is another very dark color, but you can see that because I have so many light colors in the leaves of the trees that as I apply this really dark kind of magenta or purple, it's just a very dark color that leans a little bit red. It's difficult, Teoh really get those to be dark at this point, which is fine because thes trees in these branches are in the distance, and so theatrics, fear IQ perspective would dictate that those not be quite as dark or something right in the foreground, even though with in the photograph. If you look at that, those branches do read is almost black. That's just one of those issues with photographs where you don't want toe lean too much on your photograph because in life our eyes don't interpret those colors in the distance nearly as dark as colors and values that we would see in the foreground but are a little bit closer to our I. It's a little bit difficult to see how I'm holding this brush, but I would like to just make a know of that because to make these really small lines. First of all, I'm not really focused on having these lines be completely continuous. Or, you know, a certain with what I am doing is I'm using a very loose grip on my brush, and I think that's one of those things that might be a little bit counterintuitive at first , because typically we think if we're painting thes lines that we would want to have a lot of control over the brush. But I usually find that using a very loose grip on my brush and just letting the bristles of the brush drag along the painting very lightly. It's a very light touch that helps give a very natural feeling to those strokes a lot of times when we used too much control. Teoh paint something like branches. We get lines that are a little bit artificial looking, and so a lot of times with those really delicate areas is a good practice, actually, just to loosen your grip and relinquish a little bit of that control. No more king just a little bit on the's dark areas on the bank, right next to this river. And I'm starting to think about this bridge. I'm still not going to be doing too much with the bridge at this point, but so far I basically have one curved line to just kind of place hold where the bridge is going to be. And no, I'm adding the bottom of the bridge. But I'll wait until pretty much the end to add the slats on the bridge. And I dont know exactly aware of this bridge begins and ends. I think that everything's covered in foliage, so I'm not too worried about having a starting and ending point of the bridge in just letting those lines disappear into the shapes on either side of the bridge. I think a lot of times and especially what I've seen with students and what I've experienced myself as a beginner is that when we're painting man made objects, we want those objects really to make sense for ourselves. And I think that it's especially important. Just Teoh. Step back and remind yourself that whether it's manmade or not, whether it's a building or a tree, we can paint it very loose. And it's still going to read appropriately. As long as we have our values, our colors or temperatures working in our favor. We don't need to worry about having every aspect of every object that we're painting makes sense. And in fact, I would just remind you that it could be really beneficial, even though it's very challenging. Teoh, think about your painting as an abstraction and not necessarily as a representation 13. Color Block-In 5: No. At this point, my composition is still looking a little bit disjointed. But I know that if I keep working on this and just keep with this mindset of keeping everything very simple and loose that this will come together and be a very nice, cohesive loose painting in the end, what I'm doing now isn't just trying. Teoh. Mix up another very bright color. Teoh, bring that sky out a little bit more. You can see that with everything else I've done with this painting So far that sky has sort of lost emphasis. And even though thes really light, bright values are going, Teoh be a small portion of the physical painting. They're really going to visually stand out a lot as long as I can keep them very nice and strong. So I'm using very thick and pasta brushstroke applications. Teoh just start adding in some blocks of this really nice, very light value, this color, which has just a little bit of blue and also a little bit of yellow in it. And I'm just working Teoh, go around some of these other shapes because I don't want to obliterate them. Although I will say that when I'm working on trees that are kind of in front of a sky, I will allow those branches as they extend further away from the trunk of the tree and into the sky. All allow those lines. Teoh break up a little bit, as if the light is shining through and, um, making those a little bit less solid, as if they're being lost into that really bright light. So I don't mind if I cover up some of those, but I don't want Teoh. Use this to really cover up too much else in this painting, and I just want to add a few little bits of sky peeking through the trees. And then again, just a little bit of reflection in the water way in the distance. A little bit goes a long ways when you're using these really light values. So I'm adding just a little bit more yellow and blue into this light mix, and the reason is that some of these tree masses, especially way in the background, I want to just push those into the distance a little bit, so I'm using a very light value and very cool colors, so I'm using my cool yellow. And my blue, of course, is very cool. It's my ultra marine blue, and I just want to push those greens a little bit further into the distance. But I don't need to do anything terribly drastic. And the thing about leaves and simplifying leaves is really to not even think about which leaves belong to which tree. Let those leaves form masses as much as you can, even if you're massing multiple trees together. And as I'm starting to think about the bridge, there is just one spot in the bridge where I can see a lot more bright greens and light shining through the slats of the bridge. So I wanted to just block that in a little bit. But of course I am kind of just waiting to the end. Teoh, add those slots on the bridge, so I just made sure I had a nice block of really vivid bright color in there. No, I'm adding a few more horizontal strokes to my water in the background again. Don't need to overdo it. A few of those horizontal lines will really help to give the impression of flatwater 14. Emphasizing Structure & Texture: and now I'm actually going to start using some palette knife painting techniques because I think just the way that I prefer to paint. Not that this is the right way to paint or anything like that. But this is just kind of my style in the way I like toe work. I like to use lots of really thick imposter. Oh, techniques in pasta basically means that the paint is built up. There's a texture to it. There's an actual tactile quality to it once it's dry. And so I really like to add these techniques to my painting. I'll either do it an entire painting with a palette knife techniques. Or I'll just add these when I get to a stage of the painting where I really want Teoh emphasize some elements, and I do have an entire skill share course on palette, knife painting techniques if you're interested in learning more about that. But basically I'm going to be applying this pains in areas that I really want. Teoh add a little bit more structure to, so I'm adding some palette knife more to the trunk of the tree and then the lower branches . And again, I'm just going Teoh. Allow some of those thinner branches that are going away from the tree to dissipate a and emerge with the sky a little bit and be a little bit less solid. And so I want some contrast in my tree between the branches that are more solid, more thick and those ones that are going away from the tree. And basically I'm just loading the paint onto the edge of my knife, and I'm using a very light touch just to allow the paint to transfer from my knife onto my canvas. So I'm not really applying any pressure at all. And then I'm also going to be using palette knife to help add more structure to the bridge and make it feel a little bit more solid. And again, we really don't need to worry about making this bridge something that has a beginning and an end. I mean, really, the bread just kind of just blending in with all the foliage around it, so wherever might stroke happens, Toe end is where the bridge is going to end, and now I'm going to add some palette knife marks inside the foliage. But I definitely don't want Teoh overwhelm those areas with texture again because I want those textures that are more in the distance to be a little bit softer. But I'll probably want to use quite a bit of palette knife in the foreground just because it does make a very sharp, crisp mark that can give a lot of feelings of energy. Teoh your painting just by virtue of adding some of that texture. And at this stage of the painting, I am being just a little bit more judicious in my application of strokes because this painting, at this point, I would say, is 90% or maybe even 95% done. So it's really just a matter of identifying areas that need a little bit more structure, because again, we've kept this whole composition very simple and generalized. We haven't worried about details, and so the way that we're really going to bring all the elements of this painting together and make the composition really cohesive is just by looking at different areas of the painting and determining what needs just a little bit more structure. And I don't want to confuse structure with detail, although that is kind of a blurry distinction. But essentially, I want Teoh. Add to the overall impression that there's lots of variety in here. And so if we have a lot of really loose, painterly brushstrokes, having a few areas with brushstrokes that are a little bit more judiciously applied and a little bit more solid is going to give us a really good sense of structure while still keeping the proposition overall very, very simple and abstract. - And now, because we have so many warm temperatures in this painting, I'm going Teoh, use some palette knife with just some ultra marine blue. So thistle is about as cool in temperatures I can possibly get with my limited color palette here. And so I just want to identify areas of shadow that are really well defined, especially shadows within the green areas, that I can go in with this very cool, dark color and create just a little bit of subtle contrasts. So good areas are, you know, where the bank meets the water, the more solid parts of the tree trunks and branches and even some of the shadows in the grassy areas. And I'm also going to use my palette knife. Teoh go into the water. Just add a few more of these horizontal strokes, especially with just a little bit of green, and, you know, back there under the bridge, where it's a little bit dark. I think right now I have maybe a little bit too much orange back there. So adding a little vertical stroke green really helped to balance that out, and I decided against using the palette knife in the foreground. And I think that's mostly just because I'm realizing that I'm going to defeat my original intention of having lots of variety and texture if I used the palette knife too much throughout the composition. So now I'm going in with my large brush again, and I'm just going to add a few vertical strokes short and vertical in the grass. Just add a little bit of energy. I'm using a color that's more yellow than it is green, because I have a lot of green in there. And so I need Teoh have just a little bit of nice warm contrast, and then I'm actually adding a little bit of orange into the screen, which will give me a really nice kind of mossy green color to use within this grass as well . - And I've decided I want Teoh add just a very few but thick imposter, so strokes of even lighter values into the sky just to add a little bit more brightness shining through the branches of the trees. And so this is the first time that I've actually switched over to a smaller brush, and this is actually going to be the only other brush I used for this painting. I know I should three in the beginning, and sometimes I have more brushes available to myself than I end up using. I really try to keep my brush used to a minimum, especially when I'm doing a really loose Impressionist painting. But I want to add just some nice imposter. So strokes into the sky. Teoh help increase that impression of light shining through the branches. So I'm not gonna try Teoh completely cover up the sky that's already in there. I'm just trying Teoh reemphasize a few spots, and now we're just about finished with this painting. We're going to finish up the bridge and maybe just do a few more small marks and then we'll be done 15. Final Touches: this painting is now about 95% done. I just want todo a few last things just to really bring the composition together and help it to make more sense. So what I've done is I am using some linseed mixed in with my ultra marine blue, and I'm using my smaller brush. Although it's certainly not the smallest brush, and I'm going Teoh start to add more structure to the bridge. The reason that I added linseed oil to this mix is just basically because I have already applied so much pain to this painting. It's very thick. There's a lot of layers, and so, in order to get these really small marks to lay on top of all that paint, I needed to thin this mix down. So first I'm just adding a few vertical slats to this bridge. And again, I'm not too worried about whether or not those lines are solid or I'm not worrying either about where that bridge ends and where it begins still, and now I'm going in with some diagonal slats and then di ago slaps the other way to create exes and really the only truly important aspect of things bridge is just that. I want some of those really nice bright greens to show through some of those slats. So I achieved that, and I'm basically going toe. Leave the bridge alone at this point. But I'm going to continue to use this thinned down ultra marine blue just to add a few more shadows here in there again, this composition overall is very warm and temperature. There's lots of greens and yellows and oranges, and I added a few strokes of just my ultra marine blue with my palette knife. But I think that there's some things that I can dio makes him softer brushstrokes with the blue as well, just to help to find things in a little bit. And you can see em really thinking about where these strokes will be most effective because I want to keep those strokes to a minimum. I don't want to overdo them, so I want to be very judicious and how I apply those now I'm gonna add a few more nice warm soft strokes to the foreground grass and then my original photograph. There's just some little flowers in the foreground, and at this point, I haven't really decided if I'm going to add those or not, I think ultimately I will. Although sometimes with those little details I find that just leaving them out. It is almost the better choice. But sometimes you just have to take a chance and experiment. And I think in this case I will put those in because we have lots of these nice light, cool values in the sky and just a little bit in the reflection in the water. So I think having some of those really light flowers in the foreground will kind of just be a nice touch way. Need a little bit more variation in our values in the foreground, where everything is leaning a little bit toward the middle and now to create some shadows and dark areas in the grass and actually going to go in with this red? There's a little bit of blue in there. I basically added a lot of red to the blue, and that's going to help break up all of those greens a little bit and just add a little bit of temperature variation into the grasses. Alright, so I've mixed up a lot of white with just a little bit of yellow and even a little bit of blue. And I'm just going to use very simple small strokes, very thick. Just Teoh. Add a very few bits of wild flowers into the grass. - And now that I'm starting to really run low on paint on my pellet, I'm not gonna worry too much about maintaining the integrity of my piles. So I just went back in with a little bit more blue. I'm dipping my brush into my linseed oil off to the side just to think this blew down a little bit. And I'm just looking for small areas where I can re emphasize a little bit of shadow in the grassy area. I try to keep grass fairly soft. And yet I also want Teoh have enough variation in values and temperature and texture to make it interesting. But I definitely don't want to go in there painting every blade of grass. All right, so this painting, I think I can call it done at this point. So I really hope that you enjoyed keeping it simple. And I hope to see your simple loose paintings in the projects. Thank you. 16. Process Overview (timelapse):