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I'll walk you through a landscape painting process

How do I get to this ..........

From this reference photo....

I'll start by saying this is My process. Another artist will have a different way of working - hence I will say I am walking you through My process. There is not a right or wrong way to do this. You will find your niche/ way of doing things. I feel I have found mine.

My deep painting influences would have to be Van Gogh and Monet and maybe a bit of Matisse. Colour has always been a strong theme for me. Large blocks of colour depicting shapes I see in the landscape. Movement is another thing important to me. A static thing like a landscape, for me, does have movement. There is wind, there is birdsong, there are bees buzzing. The clouds (if they are present are moving)..... and maybe a motion feeling as I snap this quick pic as we travel along back to Oswestry from our holiday time in Borth. This pic is somewhere on the Welshpool road!

How to be inspired and where to start?

Well, first off, I have to be inspired with the view! I will need a reference picture - either as a photo or a quick sketch.. I always try to make an interesting composition. In the one I am using - I wanted to capture the pulling in of the lines of the hedgerows contrasting with the curved block of the road passing away in front of me. I love a good block of raw colour too - hence the deep cerulean blue sky with not a cloud to be seen...

Here I will show you the progression from start to finish. I will say that the painting may need a little more work in the botton left foreground. However for now, getting back into my "painting saddle" I am more than happy with the outcome and I do not want to fiddle with it more today.

Colours I used were: Cerulean Blue, Indian Yellow, Black and Titanium White.

I mix up some cerulean blue with black and its quite watery. With a soft bristle flat but rounded end brush, I swish some guiding lines that I want to emphasise from the reference photo.

If you read my post on colour, I talk about using a "mother" colour to mix in with all my other colours. That way all the colours are harmonious. I start to block in the spaces that I am noticing. I am going to notice things different to you maybe, and I am not going to put in EVERY detail I see. My photo is a reference for me to explore, not be a slave to it.

I am not sure what happens next! I actually try not to think too hard about what I am doing, otherwise the painting nose dives quickly. I am wanting a cohesive feel to the landscape - no matter what my exact colour choices are. I don't know what type of brush movements I will make until I am on the journey. There is an aspect in my process that I would say I intentionally " turn my analytical brain off".. and cruise on auto pilot.. I listen to my gut isntinct of what is going to balance but also bring a pang of interest.. For me to have a completely accurate painting, but it have not soul or personal response, is a fail for me. I would not be happy with the outcome..

Interestingly, when I look at the finished painting - there is a distinct "lack of detailed information", but I am really happy with the outcome! Which tells me my brain is receiving sufficient information for this to have a pleasant and comfortable reaction.

I carry on adding blocks of colour - mixing any colour with the "mother"... and interpreting the view as I think best with my colour choices. Of course, there are not blobs of cerulean blue in the foreground, but like a good old impressionist, I like to dip the brush in the sky and spread it around a little!

I am very happy with the composition of this. Maybe a little more work needs to happen on the left foreground - but generally I am really happy with the balance. I also enjoy focusing on the smaller parts of the painting to see separate areas that are working well. As you will see the upper hedgeline is very undefined... but especially at a distance it hangs together well.

I do not like to over work a painting and always try to stop before that happens!

Here are some portions that I particularly like:

These 2 sections below are my favourite small parts!

I hope you can see from this - that I work very loosely - with a vague plan that is based on a strong composition. (of the source material). What I mean by that, is the reference photo or sketch will be organised in a balanced and interesting way - with lines and shapes framed by the edge of the picture. It excites me to see the paint is creating its own story. The inutitive brush marks all make up the whole "song" of a painting...on their own they may seem a bit random - but as a whole, it all hangs together.

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