- Lesson Details
The main tree in this meadowy scene was mostly in sunlight in the morning, but by this time in the late afternoon, it was almost completely in shadow. Approaching the same scene at different times of day can help you expand your understanding of the different effects of light.
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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And again the light is changing a lot.
And I don't know right now if I'm going to be doing a grey day's painting
or sunny painting. That's going to depend on the next 10-15 minutes.
But I've got a composition that I like and I like all of the flowers
in the foreground. And yeah,
I'm going to get started on making a few lines for the composition.
I've got a really warm kind of orangey panel,
which should be good because I've got a lot of greens and blues.
The whole composition is really greens and blues.
And having something that's the opposite of green and blue will actually help get some vibration
into the painting.
And when I was setting this up,
I really wanted to get a variety of shapes and a variety of sizes.
So I've got one really big object, the main tree, then I've got trees diminishing
in size as they go back into the background.
I’ve got different heights. So the tree is not the same height as the mountain.
It's a little bit higher.
I’ve got different angles. This is a slightly different angle to this one and to this
angle. So all of my big angles are a little bit different.
Sp different heights and different angles and different sizes and I might have to start this
painting as a grey day painting because at this point,
I don't know if the sun is coming back.
So I'm going to - I might just make a little plan again, divide the painting in
to about five or six or maximum seven different masses. Okay,
so I'm going to make a little plan on a palette.
Just a little thumbnail sketch of the painting.
And this is mostly just so I can start thinking about the colors and values and
start simplifying the scene.
Okay so I've got it broken up
into the main shapes. Now
I'm going to look out at nature and I'm going to try to think of what's
the lightest thing, second lightest thing, third lightest thing, all the way down to five or
six or seven. And in this case
we got a grey day
and or a cloudy day affect and the sky is easily the lightest thing. So that's my
first thing I'm going to put down.
I don't want to make it white though.
I want to gray it down a bit.
Okay, so I'll get my sky mass in there.
And that is the lighter thing by far.
I’m gonna think about the next lightest thing.
This is kind of difficult because on a cloudy day
you often have a lot less contrast
in the - everything on the ground.
There’s just less contrast. Sunlight effect
there's lots of contrast, cloudy day effect almost done.
So I'm going to have to make really clear, clean decisions about all of these
pieces here. So I'm to say my next lightest thing is the ground plane,
with the exception of possibly the white flowers.
Maybe I'll put those in as a separate mass right now.
Because they're important to the painting.
So they're going to be darker than the sky even though they’re white. I’ll just put those
in here. White flowers, so they're white flowers,
but they're actually gray. Next thing I'll paint is the ground plane or the grass.
And it's going to be a little bit keyed down
in relation to a sunny day effect. Keyed down
just means going to be a little bit darker.
Okay ground plane. The next thing
is probably going to be the middle ground hill and the lights of the
trees, they’re about the same value right now.
So I can just group them together.
So they're going to be just a little bit darker than the ground plane.
Everything else is kind of almost the same value except for the shadow of the tree.
So the hill, the light of the tree, it’s a same value, slightly different color,
and the mountains are all really similar.
The mountain is just bluer, more violety. So I mixing up something that's almost
the same value and now just missing the shadow of the tree. Okay,
so that's the basic value plan for this composition.
So as I proceed with the bigger painting, I’ll have to just keep this in
mind. So this is what the painting should look like from
50 feet away. The final painting will have more variation and variety,
but it should read like this more or less like this thumbnail.
Okay, I'm going to start with the shadow of the tree this time,
which should be the darkest thing in the composition.
And I got to decide how dark I want to go because I don't want to
go all the way to black or I’ve got to decide how to key my painting
basically. That's pretty dark.
I might even want to go a little bit lighter than that.
Okay, try that. So I'm just going to paint the shadow and I'm going - even though it's
a sort of cloudy day affect,
they’re still kind of
two masses in the tree.
There's a lighter mass and a darker
mass. It’s just a little bit more diffused and actually harder to see, they're just closer
in value to each other.
And there's a diffused shadow underneath the tree as well.
And there’s another tree back here.
And I’ll just kind of try to tie those together.
And I might even put a few accents already in there where you can see the
trunk. You can see a little bit
into the tree. Okay. I think I'll move on and mass in the ground plane.
So for now I'll just kind of
scrub in or just mass in a general tone. And I won't paint it solid because I'll
come back over the top of it
later. I'll paint around the white flowers a little bit.
I was just trying to get something down that I can paint back into a general
tone. I'll get the hill mixed up and the mountain and get them going.
I might just go back to my plan here.
So this mountain has to be darker than the ground plane.
So I can see them next to each other on my palette and it's
quite a bit darker.
So I think I'm okay there.
I think about that mountain going through the tree or behind the tree I should say.
And I've got to make a decision because if you can see, the middle hill,
especially here, It's about half violet and half green.
So half violet and half green.
So I'm gonna have to try and choose either to make it more green right now and
paint the violet into it
or more violet, paint the green into it,
but the important part is to get the value right.
And so I said at the beginning that this middle hill has got to be
a little bit darker than the ground plane here.
That's what I'm going to go for.
And I think I'll probably - I’ll try to make it violet, just just to try it,
and I'll paint the green into it.
So I think it's a sort of grey violet.
It's not as blue as the mountain.
Kind of hard to describe these colors,
but they're all just - it's not actually important, the individual colors, just how it relates to
the thing next to it.
I've got more of a warmer grey violent as compared to the background mountains.
And I'll just start putting some of that
here. This is a really subtle effect.
That's very compressed values. Everything's kind of the same.
So this has to be darker than the ground plane.
Just slightly. And I might have to lighten the ground plane up a bit.
This whole painting is kind of violets and greens. Okay,
I think I'll mix up the light of the tree, which is almost the - the light
of the tree is almost the same value as the mountain.
It's so similar. It's also almost the same value as the middle hill so lot of
similar values. I’m gonna have to make sure that the colors are at least
different. And I'll try to find a slightly different color for the light of this tree.
I'll probably try to have little bit less intense color there. That's one back here.
And there's some kind of red bushes.
I'll put those in too. In the middle ground. Also this one I almost forgot.
Okay, I'll start getting a little bit of a color in the foreground too. I'll
put the - start suggesting those flowers.
And I don't want them to compete with the sky.
So they've got to be darker than the sky.
I’ll just throw a few violets in here.
So I'm mixing up something darker than the sky.
Put down for the flowers.
And I guess it's time to get the sky in.
Which is kind of - looks like the sun’s coming back up.
So at this point I could change it into more of a sunny day effect,
I could keep going with the cloudy day effect.
And it's a decision I'm going to have to make it. Actually
I don't know right now.
I'm going to look at the sky and see how it's going in the next five
minutes and make a decision.
But if I wanted to turn it into a more sunny day effect,
I would just have to increase the contrast between the light and the shadow,
basically. Okay. So at this point,
I think the sun is out to stay and that means I'm going to key
up the ground plane a bit
and maybe increase the contrast on the tree from the light and shadow.
So basically, I'm going to make a few things lighter.
I'll start with this grand plane, lighten that up,
and then I'll get back to some of the greens
in the middle and background. So just keying everything up now.
I lost the flowers little bit,
but I'll get them back in a minute.
Okay, I'll key up the -
maybe I'll put a few top planes on the middle.
Get some of the greens going on the middle hill. Okay
I'll key up the the tree - lights on the tree a little bit.
And then it’ll start looking a little bit sunnier.
That might be even be enough.
So I'll look for some greens and think about the fall off of greens as they
go back to the back mountain. So
the thing that will look green here will probably look extremely gray on
the palette. And it's really just a variation of this violet color,
but it should appear green on the painting.
Let's take a look at that, maybe a little bit lighter.
Maybe more orange or red. Okay,
that's a little bit better.
Okay, so I just want to show you on the palette
how gray this color looks.
And I'm just going to put it - I'll put a spot of it next to my
cad yellow for example. I see that that looks like mud, it looks like gray mud.
But if I have all my colors sorted out,
it should look like just green when I put it on low on the canvas
or on the panel. So that's where the illusion comes in.
It's the illusion that this is green when in reality
this - if I isolated this color and especially if I put it next to something like
yellow and ask somebody what color that is
they might say, oh, is that violet grey?
What what kind of grey is that?
But if I put it next to a blue in the painting it looks green.
I'll try to leave some of these shadows.
Some of the blue I'll leave as shadows
on the mountain. Okay, this hill is a little bit closer to us.
I'll get a little bit more intense green in there.
Okay the sky has changed quite a bit.
I think I might be able to put a little bit of blue in there right
now. So everything's kind of a decision.
Every minute is different and it's all about choosing
what you want to include your painting.
I'm hoping this will look a little bit better than what I have
so I'll put a little bit of blue
sky in there. Okay I've got to get a few of the - going to start to work
on the variety of the foreground a little bit because that was the interesting part
of the painting. I might just quickly
lighten up the shadows or make them a little bit bluer there.
That’s a bit too much.
Yeah that’s too dark - or sorry too light. Okay.
There's a little path cutting through here.
And at the top of some of this grass is a little bit more gray orange.
Over here it's a bit more orange yellow.
Okay. I'm just going to continue to key up a few things including
this and I might just scrape
some of that paint off. I might just scrape some of this to get a lighter value.
And this as well. I was just fighting too much the paint that was
already down on the panel
because I changed the effect. So I’ll just scrape some of that off and it’ll
be easier. Okay. Even that just helped a little bit
by scraping off some of the darker paint.
Okay, now I can key it up a bit more.
That's just too much paint.
I'm just keying that up
still. Just keying this up a bit more. Okay,
I'm going to start throwing in some
of the color of the foreground or some yellow orange flowers.
I just want to start suggesting those flowers a bit.
I have some of them back here too and I'll hit the white flowers again,
too, because they got lost
somewhere. I'll just try to emphasize a few of these clouds, make them a little bit
lighter. There's some purple flowers,
I'm going to try to make a few
spots of purple in the foreground as well just to get more variety in there.
I'll look for some more violets running throughout the painting.
I might even throw a few violets in the tree shadow.
Try to lighten up a few parts of the shadow too.
I'll try for a few more sky holes in the tree.
It’s looking just a little bit
too solid. Get a few darker actions in the foreground. And just get rid
of it. And I'll just get rid of a few of these distracting
canvas or panel spots, but actually most of them don't bother me at all.
So I'll just leave them, just one or two of them are kind of distracting.
Okay, so there is a quick one hour sketch dealing with changing light and how to make
a few decisions along the way. I actually changed my mind, I started with a sunny effect,
went to a cloudy affect, went back to a sunny effect.
And so I was struggling a little bit and to get the right contrast going back
between those effects. But I'm going to leave it there for the day
and call it a sketch and and pack up.
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1. Overview of the Scene1m 9sNow playing...
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2. Sketching & Blocking in the Masses19m 39s
3. Painting Variety into the Masses20m 37s
4. Final Thoughts & Conclusion25m 5s
5. Time Lapse Progression10m 2s