- Lesson details
Some people associate landscape painting with big natural views, but there’s no difference in approach in painting an urban or rural landscape. It’s often valuable to have a human element in a landscape painting. A building, a fence, a road, or a path: these are things that allow a viewer to feel more connected to the scene. This next demo was set up in an alleyway. This scene was chosen because of the way the telephone poles broke up the mass of the sky to create interesting shapes, and because it allowed for the use of two-point perspective.
Landscape painting in a studio compared to painting on-location are completely different experiences, each with their own set of challenges to face. Painting landscapes on-location means you’re faced with constantly changing natural lighting, as well as nature, but the experience itself can really make your inspiration flow.
In this painting course, Artist Ben Fenske teaches you the fundamentals of landscape painting through a series of lessons. These lessons include easy to follow instruction, analysis of famous landscape paintings, and demonstrations shot on-location, to help you better your painting skills.
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I'm going to try to
get the scene drawn in and and blocked in or massed in in about an hour.
It's almost a one-point perspective,
but I've set myself up just a little bit to the side.
So I'm not dead center on the alley.
There’s a lot of nteresting shapes going on here.
There's the electric pole. There's a lot of different intricate rooftop shapes and then some tree
shapes. And the ahadows are going to be moving quite a bit.
So I'm going to try to just get this thing drawn in about 10 minutes and
then start massing in.
everything on the canvas and I'm just kind of going more off a feeling this time
because I haven't made a thumbnail sketch.
I’m gonna put that electric pole in first because I want to make sure I have enough
room for that. A little comparative measurement.
And I think I might even just move it over a hair.
I’m just trying to get some of the main lines sketched in.
So I just took a comparative measurement just to see how high this rooftop is going
to go and it’s - the top of this roof is, I measured it's about halfway up from
the bottom of the pole to the top of the pole.
So that kind of just gives me a little bit of assurance that it’s in the right
spot. So I’ll just take a couple measurements like that and then I can have a little bit
more confidence to move forward. But really my goal right now is just to kind
of get this thing blocked in.
Then if I came back to it later,
I can kind of fix things.
And I've got some shapes that are very - have very obvious two point perspective on them and I'm
going to pay attention to that as I go along.
But just getting the main lines out here.
A few more comparative measurements. Just wondering where the edge of the wall will be and
the edge of that house. And I'm not trying to go for any specific value right
now. I'm just kind of trying to suggest as I go, as I'm drawing this out
I'm trying to suggest some Shadow,
but I'm not really going for anything specific.
Come over the top of that in a minute.
So I'm simplifying some things and other things
I'm picking out. And I'm using a lot of turpentine because I just want to get
it covered. So I’m doing some horizontal comparisons now,
so I'm comparing the rooftop of this house to the rooftop of this house over here,
and this one's going to be a little higher.
But mostly I'm just trying to get the thing in there
right now. I wanna make sure not to make this electric pole straight because it's not
straight. It’s going to be a lot more interesting if it's not straight.
Or vertical I should say. Be nice to have a cloud or two in their but
that may or may not happen. I'm almost at the point where I have it
sketched in very roughly. Almost too rough. But nearly there and then I can just start painting,
throwing down color. I think this roof’s got to come down even more.
Okay, so I'll just - from this point I'll adjust as I'm painting.
So a very sketchy roughed in drawing because I'm trying to go fast.
I'm going to start mixing up a few colors now.
Just suggest a little shadow and maybe a window or two and then I'll get going.
are pretty good. I've suggested already a sort of light and dark pattern.
But I haven't decided on any specific shape opinion still pretty open.
So as I'm painting along with color,
I can kind of move things around, correct things, change things.
And I haven't put down any specific color value.
So it's all still very open at this point.
In fact that car might be in this painting now.
Okay. The sky is too light already or
too dark. Just trying to find the right color.
And I just want to get something scrubbed in for the sky.
I don't need to paint the whole thing,
I know. And mainly because I want to just bring this roof down that's kind of
why I started there. And I'll bring this one down there here to. Move that over.
And I think I might leave a place for a cloud if I feel like putting
one in there, so I'm not going to fill the whole sky in right now.
I will suggest this little reflection on my window right away, sky reflection.
I'm just trying to come up with a few more specific
shadow colors. And I’m gonna start laying things on a little bit more solidy. One other
thing I want to make sure I include are these little puddles in the middle of the
alley that reflect the sky. Kind of nice. A lot of reflected light coming off the houses
on the left. So I'm going to keep that in mind.
What it’s doing is it’s making this shadow more yellowy than it would normally be.
Or warmer I could say. And these shadows back here are a little bit bluer
because they don't have so much reflected light going into them.
So I'll make them a bit bluer.
And they are. They are cast shadows.
They're being it's a shadow being cast by the house on the left - or on
the rights, shadow being cast by this house down onto the alley.
And cast shadows always follow the form of the thing that they are cast upon.
So I'm going to keep that in mind and sort of think about the form of
the alley as I put those shadow on there.
And there’s a few more back there.
Try to find some of these interesting shadow shapes before they go away.
And I don't want to spend too much time on this because I need to move
on. So I can start relating everything.
Okay I’m gonna get some of the light in there now.
And I’ll vary the color a bit as the color of the local
object changes from asphalt to concrete or concrete to asphalt.
Try to follow the form of this alley.
Just trying to decide which things to simplify and which things to be specific about this
point because I can't do everything, there’s not enough time.
Trying to think about all the lights and how they’re all kind of in the same family.
And all getting hit by that sort of warm light right now because it's going in
to late afternoon. So ‘m trying to put a lot of warmth into the lights.
Everything has a sort of yellowy cast this time of day.
So this is kind of a warm grayish green rooftop.
I'm going to get some of the greens going now.
So I’m going to start off at this one here.
And again it’s kind of warm light hitting this green bush.
I'm just leaving all the shadows alone.
So I'm just painting the light right now.
And I might want to get some of these leaves up here.
I’ll get a few more greens going.
I'll come and get the sky holes later.
I wanna get some of these greens in the reflection of the window right away too, it's what makes
it seem kind of interesting is all these little reflections.
I'll get some of those right away.
And there’s one down here in the puddle, some
green reflecting in there, some sunlight green reflecting down onto the ground.
I've got all the values more or less already kind of organized in my head.
I took a few minutes
before I started and stopped and looked at the whole scene to organize the values.
So I know what the lightest thing is.
I know what the darkest thing is
roughly. I think I'm struggling right now just to get enough paint down.
And I’m going to have to simplify a bit in places. Start carving out the other side of this roof with
some of these sunlit greens. So it's kind of nice to have a little bit of a messy
drawing because I can then carve into the - some of the darker shapes that I've laid
down. And I don't have to worry about covering up all the white then.
I’m gonna get some of the reds going.
Reds and oranges. And a really nice gradation on this pole.
It's going from a sort of grey orange down to a deeper red.
Try to get some of that.
If the drawing or the initial color is doing its job
I don't want to bother
painting it in right now. I just don't have time.
So I want to get some of this reflected light here before that goes away.
There’s a tree here getting a lot of reflected light from these houses over here.
Start suggesting that reflected light.
I don't want to let any one part of the painting fall too far behind us.
That way I can kind of relate - always have everything relating to each each other, all
the parts relating. That's really the goal of a sketches just to get
the idea and get all the parts relating and working.
And the other side of this house is getting blasted with reflected light.
So I was going to be light and yellowy, yellowy orange. I just want a
little bit less. I'll try to get a little bit of a gradation from warm to
cool on this asphalt right here.
And I think I'll put in that blue car now because I think it fits here.
It'll balance out the composition a bit.
See if I can get that in there.
I just want to get the main shape right now.
A little bit of a shadow underneath it.
And I'll get some of the sky reflections going.
And this car right here.
Get the edge of this house in here. Okay,
I'm going to go back to the sky brush and start carving out a few things
like this tree and the edge of this roof.
I might just get rid of that part of the roof.
A few sky holes to help suggest that this roof continues behind this tree in two point perspective.
More sky reflection in the window here. Things are changing very fast out here.
And in a second I want to clean up these roof lines a bit.
Here’s the part of the drawing that I was least sure of actually.
It’s one of the farthest things behind right now.
I wanna bring this roof down even more.
it. Which were there when I was setting up, part of the reason
I like this scene. And I think I want to change the design of this shadow
a little tiny bit. And then just pull this back a little bit.
So I think I started just a little bit too quickly and I'm seeing a lot
of things I want to change for the shapes, bringing this
tree up just a little bit.
I have to look at this shape a little bit more.
I'm bringing this down a bit.
Kind of want warm up the sky a bit, more feeling a warmth
in this sky. I might add a little bit of this
transparent oxide, just kind of warm it up.
Hopefully not darken down too much.
Okay, so it's been about an hour.
I've got the canvas covered, I've got
all of the masses working together,
they need a lot of work, everything needs a lot of work,
but it's all coming up together and hopefully there's a sense of unity and a sense
of light already. So I’m gonna take one final look and then I'll leave it
there. Okay, I'm going to leave it there.
I'm not really concerned about
filling every tiny crack in at this point because I just wanted to get this thing blocked
in, get it going, get a sense of unity, get a sense of light.
So I like to look at everything kind of the same. When I'm in a wilderness
landscape I sort of approach it
the same way I do an urban landscape
or cityscape. I'm looking always at the same things.
I'm looking at the big masses.
I'm looking at values relationships, color relationships.
One of the main differences is here
there's a lot of local color differences and there’s, for example, very
light things on the ground that you don't often get in a wilderness situation. Also
very intricate shapes and the linear perspective is a lot more obvious. Okay so I’m gonna wrap up for the day and
see you guys next time.
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