Tuesday, January 29, 2008


    Now that we have the right paint, the right brushes , and a great painting to copy from.  Let's begin.      A great artist friend of mine told me 40 years ago, " if you want to learn how to paint, start by copying a painting you like.  As you do you will notice a lot of important things the artist did in his painting.   ( It is usually a bad idea to try a paint from a photograph.)  You can't learn from the artist style of painting.   
     After doing several of these,  then you can do a composite painting : you take the sky from one painting, the mountains from a different painting, and the river from again a different painting.  And you may even make some changes of your own.  You  are copying, but not just copying; .. you are employing some creative license.   The new painting is very different from the ones you were copying from.  The painting above is a composite with creative license .   And it is amazing the pastor agreed that ," THE COPY WAS BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL PICTURE."  Now  that is the result you want to get.     
     1. You use a pencil to draw the main dividing lines, draw the mountains lightly,  that separates the sky from the land;  then draw the trees  line lightly, that separates the mountains from the bottom of the valley, then draw the water line and /or waterfall.   That separates the trees and land from the water.  
      2.  Now you paint the shadows underneath by carefully painting black shadow on every thing but the sky.   You paint an irregular pattern of shadows on the mountain outline, (remember nature is a master of irregularity ) DON'T PAINT THEM SOLID BLACK !  Paint an patch work of irregular shapes.   Now paint irregular patches where the trees are, and paint irregular   black patterns in the water.  
     3. Now that we have this layer completely dry,  we can paint the next layer. ( If you paint over the black while it is wet,  then it will mix with the next layer of paint and instead of a shadow  underneath you will have a muddy mess. )  And your painting will not have the depth that you need to have a beautiful picture.   If you use oil instead of ACRYLIC  you will have to wait days or weeks for the black to dry.  
     4. Now that the black paint layer is dry, you paint from back to front.  The furthest  thing  in the back of you picture is the sky.  So you paint it first.  Again we need an irregular pattern of blue and white clouds .  It is better to use a lot of different colors of blue.  Remember nature is a master of different colors and shapes.   Make all the trees different shapes and make all the clouds different shapes and  different colors of blue and white.   Be sure to  feather them together so that the colors flow from one to the other.   Do the sky quickly,  don't spend too much time on it.  Then leave it alone.  That is what a commercial artist told me one day.

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