Impasto Mastery: How to Use Thick Paint with Confidence | Malcolm Dewey | Skillshare

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Impasto Mastery: How to Use Thick Paint with Confidence

teacher avatar Malcolm Dewey, Artist and Author

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

    • 1.

      Course Preview


    • 2.

      The Big Idea


    • 3.



    • 4.

      The Impressionist Link


    • 5.

      Brushwork Technique


    • 6.

      Painting Knife Technique


    • 7.

      Mixing Color


    • 8.

      Painting Exercise


    • 9.

      Cape Cottage (Acrylic)


    • 10.

      Red Barn (oil)


    • 11.



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About This Class

Why Impasto Painting?

Impasto isn't just a technique; it's a creative experience that will transform your art.

With impasto, you'll create depth and texture that transform your artwork to new heights. Feel the tactile quality of your paintings, where every stroke is an invitation to explore, to feel, to be captivated.

Suitable for Oils and Acrylics! Whether you're a beginner eager to explore, or an experienced artist looking to add depth and texture to your Impressionist works, impasto is your artistic ally.  

What You'll Gain 
1. Confidence: Conquer your fears as I guide you step by step, ensuring you feel at ease with impasto from day one.  

2. Depth and Dimension: Learn how to create artworks that breathe with life, using layers of paint to enhance depth, light, and shadow.  

3.Texture and Interest: The mesmerizing effect of textured canvases that beckon viewers to run their fingers over your creations.  

4. Bold and Expressive Art: Push the boundaries of your creativity. With impasto, your paintings become vivid, vibrant, and emotionally charged.  

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Malcolm Dewey

Artist and Author


Professional artist and author. I work in oils painting in a contemporary impressionist style. Mostly landscapes and figure studies. I have a number of painting courses both online and workshops for beginners through to intermediate artists. 

My publications include books on outdoor painting, how to paint loose and content marketing tips for creative people.

My goal is to help people start painting and encourage them with excellent lessons that they can use for years to come.

See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Course Preview: Hello, I'm Malcolm Dewey, a full time artist, and I've been teaching Impressionist styles of painting for about 12 years now. I'm looking forward to sharing this concept of Empasto painting with you and focusing on what makes impressionist painting really stand out from the rest. Impasto is so important that we have to focus on it and become more comfortable with using thick layers of paint. If this sounds good to you, I hope you enroll in the course and enjoy learning about Impasto painting. And then don't forget to do the painting exercises and share your work with me. I'd love to see your progress and give you feedback as well. Enjoy it. 2. The Big Idea: Welcome to Impasto Mastery. I want to thank you for joining me on this course and I'm going to assure you that I will do my very best to improve your Impasto painting so that your impressionist works look a lot more vibrant, full of energy and excitement. Now, what's the big idea about creating a course on Empasto, not just do a general painting course? What I found over the years is that many artists, and especially beginners, find it incredibly difficult to paint in thick layers of paint. Their paintings remain quite thin with paint because they fear creating a muddy mess of color. But we're not going to do that. We're going to find out how to apply paint with the brush and the painting knife. You can even use other materials as well. Some artists will use an old credit card, even their fingers. The point is to be able to build up layers of color with confidence and to make sure those color notes remain vibrant, fresh, and exciting. Impressionists loved Impasto. I'll be looking at that in a bit more detail as I examine some master paintings by the Impressionists. It's important that you practice the lessons and techniques that I describe. And then try out the projects and share them with me as well. You'll find the only way to learn impasto techniques is to practice them many times. Well, that's it really about the idea. The big idea is to conquer the fear of painting with thick paint and to make this part of your process and a more intuitive part of your painting style. If that's exciting, I'm sure it is, let's have a look at the materials and then jump into the painting itself. 3. Materials: Now with painting materials, this course is ideally suited to oils or acrylics. You can use guache as well, but if the guache is too thick it can crack. That may take just a little bit of practice with quash if you're not familiar with that medium. But oils or acrylics, there should be no problem at all. I also like to use a small palette of colors. That really means titanium white. And a warm and cool version of the primary colors. Of course, some earth tones as well like Burn Siena and yellow ochre for convenience now with the yellows that is usually lemon yellow and deep yellow. With the blues that is ultramarine and cerulean blue and red. Red light and Alizarin, crimson or magenta. And that's it really, it'll be much easier for you to use less amount of colors and just see how I mix them because I'll be showing you that in all the paintings as well, so you become more confident with mixing those colors. All right, let's have a look at some of the other materials I suggest you use in the course as well. Okay, let's have a look at the painting materials that I'll be using throughout the course, some more than others. Let's start off with painting surfaces. You can paint on something like this. This is Archers oil painting paper. This is very convenient oils. Of course, you can use acrylics as well. What I tend to do is tape this down on a panel or a board and paint on it. You'll see me use this in the demonstrations quite often. It is a little expensive. You can use board like this, cardboard, and jess that as well. That will work just fine. Costs a little less as well. But this is a great surface to paint on. You can paint on panels as MDF 3 millimeters and have this cut to standard panel sizes or canvas sizes. I cover this with Eso two layers. It takes paint very well. I can get some nice thick strokes on it as well. A very nice surface to paint on because it's firm, it takes the brush very well. I paint a lot on panels, particularly for small sizes. Then there is canvas. This is a small square canvas, nice to paint on. What you find is smaller surfaces are great for impasto painting because it is relatively small and you can cover the whole thing with thick paint very quickly and easily. And it's a very satisfying result. And we create what we sometimes called little gems, could even be smaller than this half the size. And you get this beautiful thick paint throughout the painting surface. This is actually a synthetic canvas. Of course, you can use cotton canvas or linen as well. Canvas, Nice option, small sizes like this, very handy. Then the main tools of the trade, brushes, I like to use bristle brushes because they have fairly stiff bristles and can pick up a lot of paint. You can spread that on quite thick as well. Soft synthetic hair brushes are not ideal for impasto painting because they are too flexible, use bristles. They work with acrylics as well, it's not a problem. These are, in fact, brushes made by Raphael, called Paris Classic, a favorite of the Impressionists as well, back in the day. This is another good brand as well, Pro Art, also Brussels Long Flats or a Long fullbs sizes, I think these are European sizes, 6.8 are good for smaller paintings. If you're using a large canvas, maybe you want to go up to a size ten brush as well, but you can use your painting knives. These are the ones that I use most often. Important part of painting knife is that it must be nice and flexible. I like a rounded tip like that. Might have sharp point, nice and flexible. As you can see, this one I've had for so many years, it's actually quite sharp. So what sharp? It's worn right down. Very flexible. You want that flex so you can push the painting knife down if necessary, but also glides across your painting surface very easily. If the painting knife is too thick, it's very stiff and there's no give to it. You want that flexibility much like you get with a paint brush. This one is a bit bigger for bigger painting surfaces, you can get a lot of paint on there. Very nice as well. You can use other materials as well. As I said, old credit cards are just a type of painting knife after all, and they work very well. Before we get into colors, get yourself one of these color wheels. That's always helpful to learn a bit about color mixing. I don't go into that too much as far as creating color is concerned. But a color wheel will teach you everything about the types of combinations of color you can use. And it also has a value scale of lights and darks, or one of these will be handy. All right. As far as paints go, you can use oils which I will be using mostly. These are good student paints, primary classical or Van Gogh paints by Royal Talens. Quality is very good. They're not as highly pigmented as artist quality, but are close enough when you're learning why spend a fortune on artist quality paints when you can get excellent results with these as well. I recommend you learn with your student paints when you feel more confident, you can start using artist quality paints. And I like to use Rembrandt, also made by royal tans, Three brains that I use for my student acrylics when I'm teaching Windsor and Newton Galeria, Amsterdam by Royal Tolerance or Miami. A Credico, all very strong pigmented colors and they'll work well with Impasto. I recommend that you always have some drawing paper. This is just a basic sketch paper and you can practice. And you can start practicing your colors and making some notes about your subject as well. Before you jump in pencil, you can paint straight onto your drawing paper to help you experiment before committing to the painting. When you're painting with Impasto, you'll want to keep your brushes clean and pretty much use tissue paper throughout the painting process. When you're putting on lots of thick paint, you'll want to wipe that brush off before picking up another color. Otherwise, you can contaminate your colors very quickly. Part of the technique of painting is to keep cleaning your brush off with tissue. After every one or two strokes, wipe the brush off and then scoop up more paint. When your brush gets too dirty, you may need to clean it off. Recommend for oils, a solvent that is nontoxic. It's called zest It. There are a couple of other non toxic materials you can use as well. You can, of course, wash your brush off completely using something like a proprietary soap or even dish washing liquid, or clean your oils. But then your brush is wet, It has to dry again during the painting process. You can try non toxic substance like this. The same goes with using a critics constantly wipe your off. And you can also wash it in the water without any problems. That is excellent advice to keep your colors clean throughout the painting process. Okay, that's it. Let's start looking at impressionism and techniques in the next videos. 4. The Impressionist Link: Now this course would not be complete if I did not take a closer look at some of the Impressionist master painters of the past. By looking closer at their paintings, we get to understand their techniques and thinking. This will help you to experiment and try some of the approaches that these masters were. We're not going to become overnight in any case. All I'm wanting is for you to develop your own style of painting. But by applying some of the thought processes behind the techniques used by these masters, we can open new doors for ourselves. It's important to learn from these painters. Let's have a closer look at some of their works, and then you'll get a better idea of some of the things that I'm trying to convey in the course and that you can try in your own work. Let's take a look at these artists starting with, of course, Claude Monet, the father of impressionism. And the first painting that's really gave the name to impressionism was Sanovier called Impression Sunrise. We can see the thick paint used for the sun there and also the impasta on the water, all adding emphasis, simplifying the details into practically flat brush strokes. But also, you can see the mixing of color here, the orangey reds and pale colors roughly mixed on the palette, so they go down and get this broken color. On the right, you can see the typical Mona landscape with thick paint layered on over the grass area. The trees and leaves made up of brushstrokes of thick paint as well. Details in the figures, very suggestive, There's no photorealism. Look at this one over here with the soft edges and of course the focal point being in this one with a few harder edges but only slightly everything melting away into this atmospheric scene. Let's have a look at this painting by California impressionist called William Went in the early 1900s. Look at the impasto on the highlighted areas on the tree. For instance, thick color notes just put down also on the road as well, getting some texture on the road, shapes in the grass dots of impastos to suggest perhaps a house over there and highlights on the hills. Very beautifully done, simplified details, big strong brush strokes of thick paint. Here's a portrait painted by Irma Stone and of course you can see the beautiful thick paint. Look at all these strokes on the turban to bring these highlights on the shoulder here, thick light paint for the highlight on the beard. Textures created by layers of thick paint as well. Even on the face, the lights on the side of the nose. Those are heavy brushstrokes loaded with paint to get those highlights coming forward. Of course, in the shadows a bit thinner, where it's darker, you've got that three dimensional effect coming together, creating those dimensions within the two dimensional canvas. That is also something to consider. It's not just warm or cool color paint, but it is variation of thickness. Thicker in the lights, thinner in the shadows. The master of light himself, Quemrola, also using Impasto, of course, the lights on the waves to create those highlights. Thick paint on the hair, on those highlights. Wherever there are highlights, of course, you can really put the paint on nice and thick and then softer in the shadows. For instance, on the shadow sides of the leg, you don't need such thick impastos, but in the lights you can brush them on. Nice and thick Canadian painter, Tom Thompson, an example of the abstraction that you can get more or less using a very simplified series of shapes, practically stylized thick paint. You can see these colors have been laid on with a lot of paint On those bristle brushes. Just put down two big strokes, There may be a third, the foreground. One stroke there, another and another just dragged on thick paint, heightening the vibrancy. Heightening color contrasts between the purples and yellows. That vibrant blue sky seems to have been painted over a burnsena toned canvas. And now we're getting those reds and those turquoise colors vibrating, creating so much emotional input as well. In this painting, of course, the impressionist movement gave way to the, the development of impressionism. Of course, Van Gogh himself was heavily influenced by impressionism. And look how he's used thick paint, massive dollops of paint in the sky. Using the textures and the direction of the brush to add emphasis to these brush chokes. Look at the grass and the wheat fields, I should say, in the foreground. You feel you could touch that painting and get a tactile appreciation of it, not just a visual. One brush chokes, moving in the lines and directions of the trees as well, et cetera, those mountains rolling along. Using the brush more than just a tool to blend paint, but actually to apply paint almost as if you are sculpting with the brush. Not blending it all away, but letting those textures come forward and create a vibrant emotional painting. Another example of Ang's paintings as well. Lots of thick paint applied in different directions as well as you can see the lines in the bells heading this way, in that diagonal approach, but in the distance more calm and settled with those horizontal strokes. A tremendous variety of effects that you can get with Impasto, and combining that with the concepts of impressionism. 5. Brushwork Technique: All right, now let's get into some techniques to help you understand the impasto strokes and application of paint. And ways to make it easier to understand and to practice the impasto painting. Before we get into a final demonstration, I think it's very important to build up your confidence and understanding of what a clean color is. With empty, you'll be able to paint a lot more confidence and more intentionally. And as you develop your confidence and practice, you'll be working quicker and getting that energy into your painting. All right, let's start off with a basic understanding of the colors and brushwork. The first thing we want to look at with techniques is brushwork. Brushwork, forming the largest part of our usage of paint. And when it comes to Impasto, very often it's going to be the brush that you're using. Now a lot of the time we're using a fairly large brush. Here's a size eight. And it would be a good size brush to use for anything from a small little study like this. Even more regularly, it'll be something like a 1012 or an five size, that's very common. And a large brush will work well with that. Also a size six will do very nicely. But let's have a look, first of all, at how I go about handling a brush for Impasto, the basic brush technique that I try to use is to try and get as much paint on the brush as I can for a reasonably large amount. Let's take some blue, you'll see I've got a wedge of paint on the tip of the brush. It's not right up to the Ferro, but it's really the first third of the brush. And then by holding the brush, resting on the four fingers of my hand, and hold with the thumb like that, I can do a stroke of the brush, leaving a good amount of paint on the canvas. I'm not holding it like a pen tightly, I'm not gripping it like this. I've got it held in a loose but manageable fashion in my hand. Let's make up a green. Very often you'll be mixing up colors like this, getting a green. And you'll see that although I've got a green, it's not mixed completely away very often. When I'm using Impasto, I want a bit of yellow, a bit of blue over, although it's green. And you can scoop up once more a wedge of color like that, apply it, and get that impasto stroke with the texture. Now you don't want to apply too much pressure. Okay, if you do a lot of pressure, if you've got a lower paint in your brush, you still get some texture, but it's a lot thinner than you want. Once again, quite thin. When working wet over wet, especially let's get variety of green. Now I'm going over a wet surface, I've got to keep the pressure of the brush, especially quite gentle. I may contact and drag the brush over. We've got a raised amount of paint there. Instead of pressing down too hard, the worst thing to do, of course, is to come back in and go over it again and you will lose that impasse effect. Not to say that this is wrong, it's just not an impasto stroke like that. What we're looking for is the impasto. We've got to apply the paint with a lot more gentleness here. I'm going to make a light yellow scoop, some of that up, the paint on the tip like that. And I can apply that gently. I've got yellow, I've got now three distinct layers to make a high light, put in more white. It's about the pressure that you apply and also the direction of the brush stroke. We're not pushing the paint in to the lower layer. We are applying it on top in a horizontal motion or a vertical motion up. I've got that impasse over there. And a cross that's a clean light color note over a dark, but it hasn't mixed in. Then I've got to take my brush away and leave that alone. The next stroke can be next to it. This is how you build up your layers of color and gives you an interesting or varied broken color effect. If that's what you want for your impressionist landscape or if you want a single clean color not, you'll apply that and get that clean color, not without mixing into the others. Now once again, types of brush strokes, I've shown you the horizontal stroke over there, the vertical stroke. There's also the twisting motion. I will apply the paint and twist the brush away. Just twist it away, pull the brush up and get that motion in the brush stroke. That's a really good stroke to use. You can use it to create grass effect or waves. It's very good to create that sense of motion in water and apply their layers light over dark. The high light, you're getting that thick bit of paint and a tape is off a little thinner as well, getting a little bit of a scumbled effect. To recap, number one, hold the brush. You want to hold it between your fingers and thumb lightly and be able to roll it around and move it up or down. Number two, the direction of the brush strokes up or down, vertical stroke, the horizontal stroke, holding the brush parallel to the canvas lightly. And also the twisting motion I've just described. Then there is the pressure that you apply with the brush. Use it lightly. Don't jab at it. Don't mix in pressing too hard. Just use your wrist motion. Use your forearm work from the shoulder. Move the brush. Number four, you want a color like these coltes. You can avoid blending the paint away and therefore getting muddy paint. You want a clean note instead. 6. Painting Knife Technique: Now another way to apply impasto is to use your painting knife. I use a painting knife quite often during my painting process, even though most of the painting is done with a brush. Sometimes I'll do an entire painting with the painting knife, but that is more of an exception. The reason is I, if everything is done with a painting knife, it tends to get a hard edged and monotonous with the shapes of the, that the painting knife makes. With the brush, I get more variety and I like the saying that the soul comes through with the brush. Very often I'm going to apply perhaps a lot of paint with a painting knife and then manipulate that with the brush. There are all sorts of ways to work this. I also have a complete course on painting knife techniques. You can look at that course as well in conjunction with this one. But let's have a look at a few basic ways that I will use the painting knife for this purpose. All right, let's have a look at the painting knives I'm going to be using, choosing my favorite one A, but make sure it's clean, right? Keep your painting knives as clean as possible. Let's have a look at a little bit of color mixing. Just mixing up a bit of green And I'll show you how I use the painting knife to create different shaped marks on the canvas. First of all, a variety of thickness. You can try it just with the bottom edge and just using more of the flat surface of the knife and the edge for a fine line quite verse tile. You can make many different shapes. Now applying paint and then just dragging the painting knife gets you broken color. You can use this to create textures or grass effects or anything that is relevant. Also, varying the pressure of the knife shows a bit of the layers on the bottom coming through. You can create textures just by varying the face of the blade overlapping colors. You can see different values, create a sharp edge there between the dark and the lighter color. Now let's just say this is grass with light and shade and I'm mixing up a cooler layer. I can go over the existing layers and build up texture that way, all controlled and clean off the knife regularly, especially if you're changing color like this now to a light warm color yellow oak and white to create a scumble effect. Just dragging that quickly over the existing paint works better. Wet over dry, of course. Then scraping and revealing and layers underneath, perhaps the canvas that you've toned beforehand, just scraping away as you can see and making that nice texture. Let's have a look at some sharp edges, which you'd probably see with buildings for instance. And I'll paint this little barn or building. It's quite small, but I'll try and get that put together with the painting knife now using thick paint, that's the whole object but also keeping within the lines. In this case because it's a building and the edges will be fairly sharp. But this is the shadow side, even though I'm keeping the edges quite sharp because the paints laid on nice and thick in this, just spreading the paste out as it were, it still looks fairly loose. That's because of the thickness of the paint, Has an inherent texture put of shadow under the roof line there. Spread that out because it's also thick paint. It just has a generous look to it. There's no canvas showing through. That's something that's really unappealing when you paint on canvas, and the texture of the canvas comes through very prominently. That means the paint is not nearly thick enough. Now look at that light side of the building looking like you sing a cake. You can be fairly accurate with the painting knife, but if you go over the lines where you don't want to, as I'll show you just now, you can easily repair that. The slight inconsistency in edges is all part of the impressionist look to it over there that is now going over the line. I can't keep that in. Just cut in with the sky color and get rid of that. I apply the paint along the roof line and then move the painting knife outwards towards the sky to try and keep that edge fairly consistent and strong. Let's get a bit of cross colors down light and shadow the light side of ear. What I like about impasto with a knife is that the color notes are pretty much clean from the start. When you want a good thick color note painting knife will do that, as you can see, one stroke and that color is a bit too high. With that, I can put in a bit of color for the building. Again, just quickly to resolve that. But in a few strokes, the building has been painted and what I find to be an appealing a quantity of paint, you can do delicate shapes. I think I might just add a figure as well. Let's get a little bit of background color suggestion of some clouds or whatever it may be. All right? I'll add in a figure, just with the few touches of the painting knife, you should be able to get the suggestion of a tiny figure like this and it's consistent with the landscape and the style that you've been painting. 7. Mixing Color: Now if you're unfamiliar with mixing colors, you may be a bit intimidated about using your brush. And mixing on the go and thinking about what's going to get pastor strokes and what isn't. And you may find just getting a little into the muddy paint color. Now there's a good little technique to use to avoid all that concern about mixing on the go. What you need to do is mix some colors before you start painting. Have a look at your subject, get an idea of the main subject colors you're going to need. And use your painting knife and just pre some piles of paint. You can go straight into the painting with the correct colors. At least to do a good blocking in and perhaps a bit further than that. Then you can mix more colors. Figure out where you need to go later on in the painting process. I'm just going to show you very briefly how to do this and the results you can get. That's going to be a big help to you now. There are ways to make things easier as well and that is to pre mix your color or as much of it as you can. If you know you're going to need a lot of green paint. Let's say dark green, mix some up with your painting knife as much as you think you'll need. Now I've got these three distinct green colors and I'm ready to paint now. I can pick up a lot of that paint. Get the first layer that's shadow color. I'm not using too much Impasto, a good thickness, there is still texture, there's a shadow. Wipe the brush off. I'm going to go into the middle value green and apply that over there. Now I'm going to apply a bit thicker. There's an impasto stroke over there. Then my lights once again, picking up a good amount of paint. Putting that down. Put down one stroke. You can see I've picked up very little of the paint below it because I've put on one stroke. Note I haven't played around with it and contaminated my brush. Pick up another light. If you do see you've picked up a dark green and spoilt your light green, you obviously must wipe that off. Go straight into your paint. Pick up again a bigger high light as well. They picked up that green. But I don't worry, that's over there. Now, once you put down your thick colors like that, you can always then manipulate a few edges if you want to. That don't all have to be hard edges. You can soften up an edge. Try and nice thick highlights. Leave them alone unless they are particularly wrong and you're correcting them. But for the most part you want to keep that. That's the whole point of getting that in Pastor. Note, easier to put down clean colors if you've pre mixed a few piles of that. 8. Painting Exercise: Now, what if you're not quite confident about getting into a big painting? Well, that's a good thing because there's a beautiful practice that I like to use. I still do it and it helped me so much with my empasto painting techniques. That is to create a color thumbnail or a small color study, something around about 68 at even half that size. As you'll see, you get this beautiful, as I call them, little gems, glowing thick paint textures, there really are so much fun to work with, but they also help you build up energy, speed, and decision making. And you end up with an attractive little painting as well. It's a great exercise. Let's have a look at this in action. Okay, first thing, let's try out a few different formats. I'm just taking a crayon and drawing out a few vertical and horizontal formats. You can spend an hour or so going to try out this sunset scene and just use that as my inspiration for this little study. Now we're going to pre mix a range of colors. This is a way to prepare yourself and also to get familiar with your color mixing. At the same time, use a painting knife to get some clean mixes. I'm doing a range of orange colors from warm to cool. This is to help guide me get the paint down nice and quickly. I'm also figuring out color mixes here. We're doing the lights for the sky and the sun. You can see I'm using the reference simply as a guide. I've got my own idea for the colors I want to use. It's going to be close enough, but of course, I'm looking to create an expressive impression as well. There'll be a bit of my own interpretation of colors, mixing some snow colors. I'm actually using a cobalt blue and Alizarin Crimson only change from my usual palette. I've got some cobalt blue. That's just to get a little bit of a sweeter looking blue for the snow colors. Picking up a nice dollop of paint with my number six long flat brush. Putting that down with a confident brush stroke. At this stage, you could call this a blocking in, but it's already typically two layers thick because I'm using quite a lot of paint. Warming up the snow colors for the distant area where there's a bit of reflected light from the sky that's down. Now I'm changing the brush because I'm going to go into the warm colors, this beautiful, deep yellow. Now this is experimental color. I'm thinking the shaded colors where the tree line will go using cooler reds, then I'll transition to a bit of a darker red. Now the sky that's lighter, there's a bit more lemon yellow in the mix of a gradation to it. Well, let's put in the sun, mostly titanium white. Touch yellow. I'm going to mix up some dark color, ultramarine and burn Siena with a bit of Ellzarin crimson to get the tree line starting off with the darkest colors. And you can see I'm using the painting knife for this because it gives me a little bit more control of how to put on that thick paint nice and cleanly. And you'll see more of this as we look at painting knife coming up closer to the source of the light. The trees get a bit of refracted light which just gets that blown out. Look to the tree, a bit of orange and yellow coming into it all the time. I'm making decisions about what color I want to use and try out. And this will guide me when I do a larger painting. Here I'm putting in a bit of a purple color to break up the tree line and indicate snow in the distance helps to create a little bit of depth even in a tiny format like this, and some highlights on the snow towards the foreground. Okay, we've got a little study here. The point is to learn how to apply thick paint quickly and confidently. And to also get some ideas of what colors are working. Before you start something larger, you can practice on these thumbnail Impasto sketches. 9. Cape Cottage (Acrylic): This next to critic. Painting is a small study, one that is something you could do in perhaps half an hour. It's a lot of fun. The shapes are more abstract. The painting, though, still has a lot of impact and I use a few touches of impasto to add that sparkle and bring it to life. Let's have a look and see how this turns out. Here's the reference. Very pretty scene. I think it will translate very well into this 68 that I've created here with some masking tape. Setting up this for a quick and spontaneous sketch focusing on light and dark and getting that punchy light and dark effect to conclude the painting using a rigger brush ticket basic composition in with a bit of Burn Siena and ultramarine Same padlet as the previous acritic painting, but I'm going to limit the empasto to the lights. I've put some impasto medium into my titanium white and the deep yellow for the rest, the paint straight out the tube. What we're going to do is create the shapes keeping them fairly loose. Almost a series of abstract shapes making up this entire painting, but then finishing off with the lights in good thick impasto. It's going to be also an example to show you how to use impasto in a fairly limited way, but to get the maximum impact, to show that light as we'd like to say, getting the light effect, You don't want to underperform the light areas. You don't want them to just fall flat. You want them to stand out and have that stark contrast with the cool shadow areas that are painted a bit thinner. And speaking of those areas, I'm using can white and a touch of magenta to create this grayish blue shadow in the foreground. These shutters will be what sets off those bright, strong lights. Using a number six and a number four brush for small painting like this, you don't really need a large brush because even a number four will give you a good strong abstract shape. Now, what do you mean by abstract shapes? You may ask, when you break up a painting into a series of loose shapes, you're working with abstraction. Horizontal lines, vertical lines, but also a lot of squares and rectangles. All those types of shapes where you arranging them as it were, like a jigsaw puzzle. It still has a representation or look still recognizable as a scene in nature. You've just broken it down a bit more that can, of course, you can use similar colors like cerulean blue. You may find other names in the acrylic range that you use. Could be a sky blue even you can make that slightly darker with a bit of ultramarine mixed in. Basically, we're after a cool blue. These dark brown with ultramarine and burn Siena create a much better version of burnt umber. For instance, I find the use of burnt umber has a negative effect on colors, creating a lot of muddy colors. But marine burn sienna do a great job that burn sienna is of course an essential part of my palette for landscapes. Try to use that combination as often as you can instead of burnt umber. Another reason I always use burn Sienna is it is really a red color and goes beautifully with a lot of greens. That little touch of burn Sienna. Balances out all of those green colors now, touches of white already bringing those in. And you see how effective they are. I'm not using pure white, of course, I'm mixing color into it now. Getting a light blue sky, always adding a touch of warmth to a sky color a little bit of yellow in there, gets at that slight reflected landscape, light back into the sky. After a while, you'll start seeing this in nature as well. It's not something that is just a flight of fancy, but landscapes do reflect back up into the sky a variety of shadow greens and greens that are in sunlight. Make sure you convey that distinction very clearly to the viewer. You don't want your light green. The greens are getting sunlight to look like they're shadow colors. Then you are really losing the potential of the scene. The part of the cottage in shadow has a coolish white actually, put just a little bit of magen in it to get a cool violet color. Harmonizing those colors by bringing it into the foliage in the painting as well. The roof gets this grayish color as a violet, but more magenta as that dries, it will a little darker. And you may want to brighten it up. But I'm now starting the em pastos where I want them in the focal area of also on the side of the cottage, adding a little more yellow. Just dabbing those thick layers of paint down or spots of paint, whatever it is. There's a good amount of it. We are working also in layers. It's the second or third layer here getting the color into the road as good and thick, just buttering it on. And you can see how effective it is against those cool blues. And it gives the entire scene a sparkle as well. You can drop a few notes here or there to suggest a bit of dappled light. A few sky holes and a few leaves up against the sky there, getting some color into it. Suggestion of a mountain in the background. Just a cool gray shape. I want the roof a little brighter though. As I mentioned, that violet color was quite thin and once it dries, it just gets a just to warm up. Brighten that up a bit. Now into the details. The staircase leading up to that attic window, or repeating a few colors here or there, I've got to adjust the tree trunk of the tree, finish that off. Get the shadows in this foreground area lining up with the shadows in the road just a little more light in there. And these plants on the side of the A few touches of red to just heighten up the greens a bit. There are a few final touches. I'm also going to add some of the vertical shapes for utility poles. They help to link up one shape to another. You can see these impasto dots just add some sparkle almost as if you're painting water. You want a few of those sparkles to just set things off nicely. Get this roof line distinguished from the distant mountain with a high light across the top. That's all it takes. Lovely little cool violet for that shadow under the roof line. Very little detail is required, mostly suggestion. When you're working in a small format like this, it gives so much freedom to suggest shapes. You're adding a figure, that's going to be extremely simple. A shadow to tie the figure down to the landscape, touch of color. Let's get this tree trunk, a few branches, neatening up the shape just a little as well. Cutting in with some background color. Very similar to painting with gach paint. If you've tried that before. Acrylics is very similar, you are working with a paste Ga and acrylics have that same working nature to them. So I like to drop in good strong can colores. There's no real mixing of color on the canvas like you would do with oils from time to time. The critics, you've got to make sure your color is clean off the palette and put down without under mixing with other colors. This utility pole in shadow using blue, that's it, pretty much done. And sign that off. And get the tape off as well. And there it is. So have a go with your little acrylic study and have fun. 10. Red Barn (oil): I have added this demonstration, one that I did some time ago for my Youtube channel, and I thought it was a good one to include as a bonus in this course as well. Because there is a really strong impasto element that comes into this, especially when developing the foreground and just adding a bit of interest and something different to what could otherwise be a very boring foreground. I've included the reference as well. So you can have a go with this painting. And I've made some adaptions, as I will explain in the video as well. But have a go and try the foreground element with that impasto as well. And bring that into your other landscape paintings where you're not quite sure what to do with the foreground. Hope you enjoy it. This is the inspiration for the scene. The beautiful light foreground and the darker foreground at the back. I think it should look pretty good. Now, the color is pretty much my standard palette of colors. Warms and cools of the primaries. I've thrown in orange there. For added convenience, I'm going to start mixing some colors for the background. That's the mountains in the background desaturating the Alizarin, crimson and cerulean blue. A little bit of yellow ochre in there as well. For the shadows on those mountains, these beautiful mountains in the Western Cape get these incredible shadows across them. But there's still some of that warm light as well coming through. We'll add a little bit of a yellow ochre and lemon yellow as well in the warmer areas, bringing some of that lemon yellow in, heavily desaturated of the Alizarin plus a bit of white paint, knocking that green right back to give us that good aerial perspective. Just finding my way, looking for shapes, all right. Squint a little. If you're outdoors, especially painting on plan air, you got to squint at the scene. But don't squint at your canvas. All right? Open your eyes for that. Just paint in those shapes, Try and get the value correct. Of course, how light or dark it is is critical then how warm or cool that color is. While the background plays a secondary role in this scene, it's giving me that darkish, cool background which will make all the colors in the foreground really pop. It's still important, the ultramarine orange touch of yellow, I can start blocking in the trees. Very important, these trees, they give a strong dark accent behind the buildings, But I'm making the greens. There's the orange in there. A little bit of lemon yellow. Lemon yellow is of course a cool yellow, but with all the other colors like ocher and burnt sienna and orange involved. The greens are relatively warm, describing the direction of the light, of course, the side of the trees catching the light. Make sure all your shapes are consistent with that idea. Can only have the sun shining in one direction. Make sure all your shadows are consistent with that little things like that. Sometimes we just forget. Now how to describe those Eucalyptus trees in the background. Well, as simply as possible, they pretty much all clumped up. The sky holes through the trees are very small. Don't do too many of those in a small format painting like this. Otherwise it looks like your trees have come off second best to a shotgun and they peppered with holes, it just looks wrong. Background trees behind the buildings, much cooler, quite dark in the reference, but I'm making them. With erlian blue and touches of ultramarine. They do recede a bit. They are in fact behind the eucalyptus trees even further away. The beautiful foreground is what really interests me as well. Pretty much soft edged shapes throughout the foreground. I'm going to have to try and make it interesting, man, we'll see how that develops throughout the painting process, but now mixing up some color for the barn, making it a red color. All right. The color in the reference is a nondescript beige color. I'm going to give it a bit more interest, hopefully, red bar, the roof is, I don't know what color you call it. A desaturated yellow color. Very light. There's a little bit of blue in there, but that's the thing with landscape. So much of the colors are type of gray or some type of neutral. We generally refer to them as grays. They can be warm, it can be cool, light and dark. But it's not a tube color. It is some neutral. Now, this side of the barn is in shadow. It's getting some reflected light, picking up a bit of the warmth from the field in the foreground, but it's still going to be cooler. I have to understand that as I'm painting it, that although it's red, it's going to be a cool red. So a touch of red and blue. I'm just going to work my way through that idea. As long as it looks believable, that's the main thing. Barn doors in the front. As you can see, I've changed the shape of the barn a little. Made a bit more upright. That has just narrowed the footprint of the barn. It doesn't look quite like a garage, but more like a tall bar. I'm adding a few buildings as well just to break up the scene and also to create some harmony of shapes and color. By that I mean repeating the reddish shapes of the barn in these other buildings. Very much abstract shapes. Just a rectangle has got to describe a building or a roof. I started with a size six long flat bristle brush. I've moved to a size four flat bristle brush. For these smaller shapes, basic parts of a tree. Without trying to describe the tree in any great detail, you really don't want to have details everywhere. Simply suggestions of details. The focal point is the barn and I want to get the foreground to lead the eye to the barn. From there, everything else is secondary. Some cooler yellowish colors near that barn. I'm also trying to describe more space from the foreground into that middle ground, which means differentiating parts of the fields with cooler yellows and warm yellows throwing in some texture and accent colors. Line is simply a dividing line that ok, color from foreground field to middle ground field. Back to the six brush, picking up a lot more paint, yellow, a bit of cerulean, some white. Now is the case of building up layers of thick paint and texture, creating some interest, but leaving things still quite abstract. Now I'm putting in a foreground shadow. I think that is just another device to divide up space, create more, perhaps interest as well, but something to step over in the Get into the lights as well. I'm having that warm and cool contrast and light and dark contrast, keeping the shadow foreground fairly thin, but going in for more texture in the lights. Warming things up with a bit of orange into that yellow. But always desaturating the yellows with some white as well. They don't look too bright, but they've been desaturated by the bright sunlight. That's the main idea. This creates a harmony with all the colors because all the colors are influenced by the same light, right? You can't just throw color straight from the tube onto your canvas and hope it'll harmonize. It won't notice how the brush marks add interest as well. It's the texture of the brush. A few darker accents with a bit of burn, Siena, not too many, but just enough to grab the eyes attention. Create a little staccato effect. Some of the strokes, a longer stroke, shorter strokes, dabs and dashes. All things you do with the brush to create different shapes and more interest. Just some shadow next to the barn to tie it down to the landscape a bit more. The roof really standing out nicely now from the dark background of those trees. I've got to just bring that the base of the barn down a little. A few shapes to adjust. A few brush strokes to adjust ovia, just bringing some of the light through to match the horizon line suggestion of a few of those bushes and smaller trees. You can see that in the reference. Put a few of those in there. I use them to break up shapes as well. I've got to get the frontage of this barn, correct. I'm not entirely happy with that as yet. See if I can place some doors in there, maybe that'll finish shadow under the roof line. That's very important. I want to bring a few shadows onto the roof to suggest some of those trees or have branches hanging over the roof, so there's a little bit of shadow there. Once again, that's just breaking up a flat shape. Breaking it a little more interesting tends to be a bit of a fiddle though with a small painting like this, I keep fiddling with that shadow until I'm happy with it. That has other knock on effects like the roofs to be repaired as far as its shape is concerned, a little more cool red in the side there thing that just adds a bit more strength, leave the barn, go onto the other trees. And that's one of the things I like to do is work the whole painting. A few fence posts, using the rigger brush. These little vertical shapes are very important to break up all those horizontal brush strokes plus a foreground fence post or two is going to take the eye towards the barn. Try to vary the posts, if you do this technique, some darker, some lighter, especially further away. Make them smaller as well. That must correspond with perspective. I'll just try and shape up that roof a little. Get the edge nice and sharp over there in the focal point, cut in again to. Make the shapes a little more organic. Touch of color there with some of that brighter green. Put your darks back in. If you lose those darks, as we tend to do, make sure you restore those dark shapes. Okay, definitely coming along. But a few lights now. Just feel we just need a bit more contrast but more light. I'll bring some lights into those crees as we go. The front of the barn is also going to have to be fixed up. I really not happy with that. Just a little note of light on these h outbuildings, but avoiding details, things like that, that are going to stand out too much. Just color notes, just enough. Yeah, I'm going to try and get a different color in the front of this bar somehow. It just needs to be simplified a little more and cleaned up. Now, this is one of the problems when you do try to the scene from your reference, make sure you have an idea of what it is you're going to put in there. I'm still going to have to lighten this up a bit more. My biggest struggle is the size of the shape. It would be better if it was something bigger. I could get a nice big brush into that. Just trying to restore some of the shapes around the front of the bond that I have lost. Fix up this edge again, needs a strong edge there at that focal area. A bit of a darker green shape along the edge shadow side of the barn. I think that ties it into the landscape a lot better. Now, I'm tidying up this middle ground area before I return to the barn to add the final touches. All right. I think a white outline for the doors will look a little more authentic and also brighten that up. Yeah, I'm happy with that. I think that takes care of the problem. Restore the fence post shapes, a few little details. However, now the foreground has got a little too fiddly. And that's because I used a small brush there. Back to the large brush, pick up a good amount of paint and get some of that energy of the brush stroke back again. As you can see, getting a painting like this done, even a small one, requires lots of back and forth. You try, you fix things, you get it right. You got to know it's right. If you lose something, get it back. If you don't like it, scrape it off but get it right. And you'll know straight away when the painting starts working, you'll then you can move on to the next thing. Fix whatever needs fixing. Because a problem in a painting can't be left. It will just plague. It'll stand out and leave the painting unfinished. Solve the problems, and then your painting is done. I'm going to put a figure. It's perhaps not entirely necessary but I do like a little touch of life. You could put in farm animals as well, but that could lead to all other issues. A quick figure, Sign it off, That's it. Painting done. If you like the painting, let me know. I enjoyed painting it. I think it's a pleasing result in the end. Happy with us. 11. Conclusion: Well, I want to thank you for joining me on this course. I hope you have found out a few new things, perhaps got some ideas that you're going to try in your own paintings. Please practice with the references provided to get an idea because there's no substitute for actually doing the work and creating those paintings for yourself. That's the only way we take ideas and bring them into our thinking process and it becomes part of our process and painting style, that's the way to work. So have a go and you're more than welcome to tag me in on Instagram or wherever you want to show your paintings. And I'd love to see your work as well. Well, keep painting and until we meet in the next course, shows for an hour, happy painting.