- Lesson Details
In this video lesson, world-renowned painter Steve Huston will dive deeper into impressionist outdoor color theory and teach you ways to use warm and cool colors in conjunction to improve your paintings. Steve will analyze a painting by Peder Severin Krøyer and demonstrate some ways to apply vibrant colors to your outdoor paintings.
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- Simply Simmons Paintbrush
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In this video lesson,
world-renowned painter Steve Huston will dive deeper into
impressionist outdoor color theory and teach you ways to use warm and
cool colors in conjunction to improve your paintings. Steven will
analyze a painting by Peder Severin Krøyer and demonstrate some ways to
apply vibrant colors to your outdoor paintings. You will learn
how to work with three primary colors and also which colors to avoid
when painting an outdoor scene.
impressionist color. We're gonna do another little demo and we're gonna really
explore more of those warm and cool ideas that are
the bread and butter of outdoor painting and that pastel intensity
and we will notice again how the value ranges
kept more in the middle in most or all of the painting and not so much
at the extremes like the indoor painters, the Brown School painters.
We're gonna work off a piece - a little sketch for a bigger piece, a P.S.
Krøyer. He was around the time of Zorn and Sargent,
1850s to 1910 or 20. Somewhere in there.
And part of the Skagen school -
Danish. He was a Danish painter. So Skagen school is a
lesser school, they're lesser liked for the most part. He was the best of the bunch. Not as
good as a Zorn or a Sargent but every once
in a while he did just a fantastic piece. We're gonna do a little sketch that's
a favorite of mine and see what happens.
So a little bit of turpentine, we're gonna go to our three
And that's going to give us our dirty
brown or our rich earth tone
to sketch with. Never sketch with a bright light -
bright intense color.
That's gonna get in the way of your drawing - not of your drawing,
get in the way of your later painting. So it's just that - we're just gonna do a little tiny postcard
size, little bigger than a postcard. You can see the scale there.
Maybe a 5 by 6, something like that.
Computer's fading out. And we have this woman - it's actually
his wife Marie. And she's in a little lawn chair
looking at a newspaper, magazine, something like that.
And she's basically in a white dress. And so
one of the things - one of the joys of impressionism is taking a
color that has a certain character and
trade mark to it and putting it in the shadow
and so it's always fun. Now I'm gonna do something here.
You know as we go that happens quick often in
sketches and it's absolutely allowed. I'm gonna end up sketching here
and as I paint,
it's gonna happen to you a bunch. When you
paint things start to get bigger. You lay in some lines, especially
when we're doing a pretty simple
crude drawing like we are here. You lay in some lines
and invariably - not invariably, but often times - things get
bigger as you paint. You start out with a little shape for the
head and you put in the color, head gets a little bigger. You put in the eye
and the head has to get bigger yet. And often times when you add detail
it gets bigger and bigger and bigger but just around the color spots. So I'm gonna
do that here just to show you that there's no real rules to this
you know there's no have to. The trick - one of the tricks in
painting is remember the audience -
the audience doesn't know how you got there. And so the process you use
to get to your finish, they could care less. They just wanna enjoy
a great finish. And so if you have to do a little
this, do a little of that, that's okay. We want generally a process
that makes sense. And we're gonna work on getting
a process that's nice and logical.
With a process what we really want is to
go from step one to two to three and make them simple, logical
steps. They make sense and they're incremental. They're not a big leap
You can take shortcuts as you get more comfortable but it's not a big leap
to go from the first step to the second or the tenth to the eleventh step.
And then we want a process that
if we get in trouble, or maybe I should say when we get in trouble,
we can back track to a time
that we weren't in trouble
and begin again. We move along, I got in the light side, I got in the shadow side, I
got the background, something's wrong. It looked good when I was at the light and
shadow side, it's that background that's off, I'll correct that background.
Or I get everything - I get the white canvas taken care, everything's
looking great and I start to render on it and it goes wrong. So I go back
I go back to my pots of my color, go back to the simple
silhouettes that I started with, then I begin again.
Have a process where you can get yourself out of trouble
by going back to a time when you were in control of the painting. Okay so
one of the attractions of this little piece
is that it's a lot of warm
and cools. Now what I did is I took white
and I took my blue. I knew I wanted the blue to be a little
gray. Now as soon as I add white to that blue, it's gonna gray. Shadows
get a little grayer. They don't have a strong light source,
they're reflected light, they're secondary light, they're indirect light,
they're a lesser light. So I want them to
be a little gray. So I use the blue. And incidentally I went to the blue
where it was kinda dirty from another painting. I didn't go over to the other side of the blue where it was
nice and clean, I went into the dirty blue. And then I took
a little bit of my dirty brown that I'd scraped from my last painting
or a couple paintings before and put just a little bit in.
But I could also have
done a bright blue, maybe start with an intense blue because this is
your brand new painting and you're a smart -
Chase was smart - and you started with clean materials and not
dirty materials like your instructor just did.
And now I've got a brighter version of that blue.
And maybe that's okay. That's
not too gray. But if it is maybe I'll go to my
brown that I use to sketch in
the painter. Get it the same or similar value, push it
down. You always have several
ways to get to what you're after.
And then I notice as it moves up, we're getting
really a nice little rainbow of warm and cools here, relative warm and cools.
There's some real peach and yellows in that dress and
there's some real blues in that dress. But since it's a shadow
and this painting is warm light.
Warm light, cool shadow.
Or cool shadow light.
I'm gonna push the cool aspect and then I'll pick up the warm
on top of that. The warm bits of light that are
catching her dress and such. There's little pieces of light on it
so I'm gonna paint it all cool because that's the dominant and then I'll add
those little bits and pieces of light. Those little dabs of light.
The dappled light. She's under a tree and there's actually
in the full painting, the finished painting, there's this beautiful big rose bush
that's just a monster rose bush with these glorious green leaves
and white and slightly off white -
excuse me - roses in it, but this is just a little
sketch towards it. Okay now the - there's two lawn chairs
Here's my second little lawn chair. I'm gonna push this one back
And I'm gonna push it
darker and grayer. And that gets a little green. So if it's too green
I'm gonna add some red.
And it gets a little too purple so I'm gonna add some yellow.
There we go.
Now as I work
I know darn well, as I render this,
and put my dabs of paint and then more paint, it's gonna get a little dirtier.
So it's much better to be a little more intense. Let's push it back to where it's a little more intense.
get rid of some of that slightly brown blue I put on there.
Better to be more intense than
gray. I could always gray it out, the natural process of
working will gray it out, so let's make it
intense. I'm gonna get this background over here, it's
just evergreen trees.
I don't know what they are, Pondorosa pines or something.
And the green
trees are pretty dark and they're kind of in the
there's a brown aspect ot it. So again I'm gonna make
a brown. And let's just do it this time with a different
brush. Just for something different. Any process you want is fine.
Let's do a brown and we need
more brown than that so I'm gonna get my three primaries together
There we go. I'm gonna make it a little more intense than I think it should be.
Notice these are almost the same value. So in terms of
my design, same value.
That's gonna be my middle value, this is gonna be my dark value.
There'll be little darker accents but this'll be the
main - I'm gonna thin this out because I'm not gonna paint -
I'll paint very little over this in the sketch.
Just gotta sketch so I'm gonna let that
be a little thinner just so I can move along here.
Okay now notice what's happening I'm adding
this was the thing I was alluding here to earlier.
size to my canvas. And that's one of the reasons I like
to work doing little sketches on a big board.
If you're traveling, if you've gone to a class or you've gone outside to paint
and you have to drive back in your car with wet canvases, now you
have edges to your canvas that are not wet with paint. If I have to
do a complete sketch and fill this up I'm gonna have wet paint all the way to the edge that sits
in the trunk of my car, in the back of car. If I stop too fast
I end up with paint all over my nice car, if you happen to have a nice car
or your clunker car. But in any case
might be your starving artist car. But in any case you don't really want
Okay and there's a natural gradation there
that gets darker.
I actually use both blues because I know it's
a grayer, darker blue.
So a slightly red blue, slightly yellow blue is gonna give me
a slightly grayer blue. And then I'm gonna add the brown
I did again. So here's my -
I didn't even clean my brush off because I know it's gonna get
I want it to be dirty.
Okay so I'm making
my composition bigger all the sudden.
Gives me creative control.
It hides my goof ups. I should have made it bigger to begin with
but as I got painting everything's starting to get a little bigger.
The lawn chairs got a little bigger, the background got a little bigger
And thin it out again
just so I can cover -
and I'm gonna let it go a little. I'm going down here more than there at this point
to get - make it a little bit brown. So I'm going from
a light - relatively lighter, this is much
darker than this - but relatively lighter gray green to a darker gray green.
from a darker gray green to a darker, browner green.
Now the advantage of scrubbing this in as well,
partly I don't have to mix as much paint,
I can thin it out just a touch. I'm just putting the very tip
of my brush down into the turpentine. Just the first
16th of an inch or 8th of an inch.
Just enough to bring a little bit of moisture in there.
You can get it set.
So the advantage here
is that if it's really thin - I mean
if it's put on, scrubbed on so there's not much paint
on the canvas, it's just enough to cover that paint, then
I can go over that more easily. So I'm gonna have these little dabs of
light, dappled light, the sky holes they're called where you can see through the trees
and see the sky behind - beyond it.
I'm gonna see those things. I can put those on
and I'll have to mix less paint to do it. remember if you have,
I mentioned in an earlier lecture - I mentioned a lot of things - but when you've got
a certain amount of paint down on the canvas and you wanna cover it with something
new, I'm gonna put a sky hole, a little bit of the blue
sky on top of that green environment, you've gotta have at least
twice as much paint on your brush as
is on the surface. And if it's gonna go from
very dark to very light you may need three or four times to cover it. If I do a little bit
of white it's just gonna get muddy and dirty. That doesn't do me any good.
That's not the effect I want. I want this clean
breakthrough into the environment beyond. And so by keeping this
scrubbed and clean and
thin on the canvas, not covering it very - just
enough to cover - it's gonna be easier
to go with the top of that. Render on it or change it a little bit.
Also, as I do all these other
colors, they're gonna get polluted
by this. I'm gonna scrub my back of the chair, which is a
version of this same blue here.
It's a little greener version so I'm gonna add a little bit of green
and I'll take
a little bit of this green. I wanna make it go green - a
touch of yellow wasn't enough. Now I'm gonna push it towards the green that's already
in the environment. That's gonna be a healthier green
for our color harmonies.
And now let's get her little head in there
so we get a sense of -
get rid of that brush - get a sense of what's going on
with the body. And she has the
relatively light face. It's about as light -
it's a little darker - but it's in that ballpark. And then she's got the darker
hair that's more or less the same value as the environment here but
it's much warmer and it's got some dappled light on it as well.
And so we're gonna get a little bit of flesh tone.
Now it's a gray so I typically go over here. I'm gonna do it two ways.
It's a very gray warm. So I have a gray warm here. So I'm gonna
start with that and then it's just a little bit rosier.
I could have used any of my reds
and yellows and
mixture to get what I wanted.
And I chose those. And I like that. If I didn't
like it I'd try this with this, or this with this, or this with this, or this with
this, any of those. I've got three yellows, I've got two
reds, I can come up with a lot of...
Okay so as soon as I put that down it's going to get
dirty. Dragging that out. So I'm gonna
do it again but I'm gonna mix it thicker paint
this time so I can do a better job of covering.
There we go. There we go.
Alright. So that's our head. Now
let me show you how to paint that head
with a different mix. Let's say
we didn't have this dirty brown. So let me clean my brush.
And I'm gonna take its red flesh.
Slightly peachy so it has a little
bit of yellow in it.
And I'm gonna add my white, or some dirty white down here.
Since a dirty peach I can use that. I won't even do that we'll just pretend
Now you can see the difference between the two.
rusty red or peachy red or whatever.
It could also have been
Add a little bit of white to it.
You can see how different that is.
Now I need to gray these down so how am I
gonna gray a red orange? Here we go.
A blue green.
Orange grays blue, red -
green grays red, it's a red orange, we need a
blue green or a green blue.
There we go. Little bit
of light. Now we have
the same idea, little different. Little more intense
in its red. Maybe we like that better.
Maybe it could be a little lighter.
So that it pops.
From the dark
environment a little bit more.
Here's a little light, more intense. Notice this is a kinda
a variation of my octopus. I'm just - probably shoulda strung it
out for you. But I can come out here. Let's go ahead and do that.
I want a lighter more intense version of this same color. So I'm gonna leave
the dirty color, or whatever the color is on my brush, I'm gonna go back and get
more intense colors.
Now there's a lighter, more intense
version of it.
Now I'm gonna mix.
So once I'm in that gray area
a lot of the mixing I do is without cleaning my brush to mix this new
variant on the color because I want it to be gray. Slightly
dirty. And so
I allow it to get a little gray by the dirt of my brush but I'm just going
to my pure colors now. There it is again.
And each time I just stick with it until
it rings true. Now I'm not gonna really know if that's right
until I get the rest of my white canvas.
taken care of. We have a yellower hand.
And it's a cooler yellow
hand. It's cooled off quite a bit from the face.
Pulling down here, little hand down here
so let's move along here. Let's get her hair. Now it's a deep
orange, a dark orange, a brown.
Or just a dirty orange. I'm gonna go
ahead and just mix in this dirty blue
green that I had, kinda brownish blue green. I'm gonna up it so
it's much warmer version of that same color. That's gonna show her
warm hair. Everytime I touch that face I'm going to
get my hair color dirty.
So I need to correct that.
There we go, there's her hair up in a bun.
We're not worrying about the drawing, the drawing's gonna get in the way of the color. We're just looking
for color notes. Okay.
Behind her now, let's get rid of some of this
white here. I'm gonna go very dark this - I'm gonna go into my dark
phthalo blue, my dark ultramarine,
and a little bit of my yellow.
Transparent orange. My dark value yellow or yellow orange.
Get some more color up there. Cleaner. So when I add more
color to my pallet...
As you get going you do these studies, you might be doing studies all day long, you might
do ten or twelve studies or you might two two or three studies
so these colors get dirty. Don't scrape them off, leave them, and put
color next to it. If this gets really dirty I'll leave
it, I'll put color next to it. Down here, over here, I'll scrape this away put it down here,
wherever I have room for. If this white gets dirty I'll put it over here.
Or come down here and do it. And then when I need to make something
oranger but I need it a dirty orange or
yellow then I'll go to my dirty. If I need it cleaner I'll go to my
clean. So I just need the dirty
version now. So there it is there. And this gets
particularly dark here.
And particularly dark right there. And you can see now how
let me fade this out, even though it doesn't. You can see how this is a bit of a
gradation - or it is a true gradation now. Notice one of the
advantages of gradations now. A gradation can
move your eye through the painting. If we go from lighter to darker
more intense to grayer, or cooler to
warmer. That moves you through. It gives you a change
to follow. We're interested in change. So the thing that moves in the
bush, it's what attracts our attention. Not the still things. And so
we're interested in that change. So gradation is change. It's
going from one thing to another, it's gonna attract our attention.
But also gradation can be form. We can
gradate over that cheek as it goes from light to shadow, from lighter
value to darker value. From maybe warmer color to cooler
color. That change of value or
color is gonna attract our attention and we're gonna feel that movement over it and in that case we'll feel
the movement over the form and feel the solidity of the form.
But I can also pop this up. Now this back lawn chair
really separated from the environment. And when I first laid
it in I laid it in in a middle range. And that's typically
the way I wanna work in Brown School or in impressionist.
Whether I've got a full range of value or a limited range of value
I'm gonna start out with a slightly more limited
And then when I start rendering on it I will force the
value range. When I start adding detail I'll force the value range
even stronger. The darks will go darker, the lights will go lighter.
So what separated nicely in my
painting, when I add those accents, when I keep working on my painting, will separate even more.
He is picking up a little bit—or not a little bit—a good chunk of very dark value.
It’s not black.
It’s a color.
He’s not using black.
He’s using a rich color in there, a blue-green, but it’s still quite a bit.
Now, by the time we finish, some of this will get backed off.
Lose a little bit of this.
But it’s a pretty good chunk of dark value.
You know this guy has a Brown School training.
He’s not a true, true Impressionist.
I like to use real darks when I need real darks to get that structure.
I’ll stay in the pastels, the midrange, middle dark, all the way up to almost white
to get my temperatures.
In that midrange my intensities.
I can get the best of both worlds.
The Sargents, the Zorns, the Kroyers, the Sarollas, they took the value lessons of the
indoor painters and applied the color theory of the outdoor painters and got the best of both.
They could use that rich vibration of warms against cools when they needed that.
They’ve got the value range to fall back on when they needed that.
Whereas the true Impressionists, which were really just the French Impressionists.
They were the only real Impressionists because they invented it.
They had no interest in the drawing or the structure of things,
the perspective, the contours.
They weren’t interested in any of that.
Luscious brush strokes that were descriptive of form,
going down long axis like a Sargent would.
None of that would interest them.
That was just dabs of paint, a Titian style called pittori, just dab it on, graceless
strokes that didn’t attract attention, but you could dab color against color, warm against
cool, rich against gray, light against dark, and get this vibration going.
Now we’re going to do a yellower, get some of our peaches and yellows in here.
Well, you know, I take that back.
Let’s get our green grass first.
Let’s do that first.
We want to get rid of our white canvas before we starting going in on
variations of the theme.
Here is my yellow grass in shadow.
It’s going to be a similar color to what I had up here but just in the lighter range.
I get down here.
Now, in Kroyer’s world, since we’re painting Kroyer’s painting, as we go back in space
it gets darker and darker and darker.
As we come forward in space it becomes lighter and lighter and lighter.
And so the light values, the light is lighter.
And the shadows also get lighter.
And so we have a ribbon of grass, really beautiful blue-green grass in shadow.
We have these ribbons with a little bit of light, a little bit of shadow, a little bit
of light, a little bit of shadow.
This goes into the ground shadow which we’ll get in a second.
There is a little bit of light here.
It’s a little darker just to anchor that corner and bring that around in there.
Notice, again, I had to get a little bit bigger in my environment, my whole frame, I should say.
Now we’re going to do the light side of the grass.
This could be a little bit bigger.
One of the things in terms of design.
I notice this starts out more broken.
As it comes towards us, let me draw it here.
I’ll leave out the broken.
It’s start out like this and then fattens up and then moves along the bottom edge.
That’s the shape of that shadow more or less.
Notice how every time we move a little distance it changes its shape here.
It gets skinnier and then gets fatter, and then it stretches out.
It doesn’t go straight across.
It kind of wanders across on a curve.
I didn’t do it here.
Let’s do it here.
It even breaks apart as it goes back that way.
Every time we go to a different section of this little shadow shape, it tells a little
bit different story.
It’s interesting because it’s changed.
That’s another kind of gradation.
We have the gradation of color, warm to cool, rich to gray, light to dark, but we also have
the gradation, the change of shape.
All those things keep us interested.
If everything is the same.
If I talk like this all the way through the lecture, no fun.
Not very interesting.
It bores the heck out of us.
We want to escape.
But as we go along, it changes.
It becomes funny.
It becomes serious.
All those things keep us interested.
Whatever you paint, you want to see it change somehow in shape, in size, in repetition,
All those, what are called visual components, each one potentially can evolve as it moves
through that surface paint.
We want to see how that evolves and changes, and we want to look for those evolutions.
Now, in this grass there are actually several colors.
I’m just going to push the warmer color.
I’m not too concerned about the strokes getting blended.
Notice how dirty my brush is here.
I don’t care too much about that because this is grass stalks.
The fact that they smear darker and lighter together as we move along through that grass
just adds to the feeling that the grass is going, the little shaft, the little stalk
is going up into light and then falling into shadow, that type of thing.
This even evolves into a slightly bluer, and this evolves into an even bluer, and to a
large extent, darker.
So notice how it goes lighter to darker to darker.
Warmer to cooler and cooler and richer to grayer.
It’s evolved all the way through there.
That keeps it interesting.
You don’t have to do every single thing, but you certainly can.
You definitely want to do a few things that show that sense of change.
Now, this is the ground.
This brown ground.
It’s really very much in here.
Let’s mix that in this.
I’ll show you how to use your pot of dirty color from your last.
We need to go darker.
It’s a darker brown, so again, I’m going to go to my dirty yellow, red, blue, more yellow.
It’s got some white in there so I’m going to go to my clean yellow or yellow-orange.
There it is there.
Now we’ll bring it there.
It’s more in that value range.
If you’re not sure, squint at the painting and squint at yours.
Make sure you get the same or greater contrast.
It needs to be bluer than that.
I’m going to do a blue, and it has blue-greens and blue-purples it seems to me.
I’m going to do a blue-purple.
There is my octopus.
I’m going to say it’s that.
I’d rather this be darker, a little too dark than too light because I want it to be
shadow and going back towards that dark world in here.
I said I also had blue-green, so let’s do a blue-green over here.
Quite often you won’t be able to get what you’re after with one color.
You’ll have to lay two or three colors together, and that can be very frustrating or a lot
We’ll opt for the fun.
I’ll lay in some of these variations.
Now I really have three colors.
I’ve got the brown.
I put some of the brown in there, and then I’ve got the purpler brown.
Put some of that in there.
I’ve got the blue-green-brown.
You can’t buy a blue-green-brown, but we can mix one easily.
All we do is mix our brown.
We mix our blue green.
Same value or similar values.
It’s not exactly the same values.
We do a gradation between them.
We can take our pick.
Now, if I were to not use that, I would just use my orange, my red, and my blue.
I use the ultramarine blue because the phthalo blue is so intense it’ll just take over
the other colors here.
Then add white to control the value.
Then there is brown ballpark of that.
Then I begin the same thing over here.
I actually like that better than what we had before.
Now, let’s finish her up a little bit.
Get rid of that last little bit of white.
We’ve got some brown, some of that same brown, brown underneath because of the wood
of this Adirondack-type chair, whatever it is.
It’s not quite that, I guess, but it’s the best I can do to describe it.
Alright, now, let’s get—and she’s got a fairly intricate pose.
She’s got her hands kind of across.
One is up over the arm of the chair.
The other is up to her face and to her chin.
There is quite the intricacy there.
We’re not going to worry about that stuff.
I just want the overall sense of her.
I’ve got that warm.
There is a little bit of white.
Let’s just get rid of that.
Now we’re going to start adding—did I say warm?
We’ve got the cool in here, the blue.
Now I’m going go adjust the shape a little bit.
Again, I’m not concerned really at all about the drawing, but I want it to have some sense
of what’s going on there.
It doesn’t have to be much.
That’s going into that dark, dark color.
I want to make sure I’ve got a load of paint.
I don’t need much here.
I could remix, make a bit pot of paint to really cover because you can see, I hope,
how that green, that really deep dark blue-green is polluting that face in a way I don’t
I could remix, make it much more.
What I will do.
There is no rendering really on the face.
I’ll do this.
I’ll scrape that off and I’ll just scoop it right onto my brush.
Wipe my palette knife off.
Now I’ve got a big old load of paint there that’s going to cover easily her face.
Try to see what’s going on there.
There it is there.
Now let’s get that hair.
Then let’s pick up some of the cools in here, play with that blue dress a little bit more.
I’m going to come down here.
I want to make sure that it’s on the canvas.
Not on the canvas.
Not on the camera.
Let’s scoop some of this out.
Take that off.
It’s a blue that’s going to go into the yellow, so I’m going to pull that green.
It’s the same green I had back here.
Pull it out here.
I’m going to push it yellower.
There is yellow and there is orange.
The orange is going to—it gets a little darker.
It’s going to be in here.
We’ve got lots of choices and we’re not sure which choice, maybe,
so I’ll try this yellow.
It needs to be darker so I’m going to pull it down into here.
There is now a yellower version.
I don’t want it to be too close to my grass.
It needs to be a different yellow than the grass.
It needs to be in the peachy orange.
I’m going to do it again with a bias towards the red, making that yellow not fairly straight.
That was slightly warm.
This is very warm.
There we go again.
I’m going to let go into the greener yellow.
See what happens there.
Now I’ll come over here.
Pull that in there.
Now I can get these yellows pulling down through.
They’re about the same or similar value.
We get these lovely
Then it goes down into deeper blues than are in the purples to distinguish themselves from
the grassy blues.
The paper she has on or her magazine or whatever it is.
It’s right there.
We have some even pinker areas here.
You can see we’re starting to get a rainbow of colors in here.
We have yellow blues and redder blues and peachy blues.
A real orange moment.
Now this is the wood of the chair coming in here.
Notice how I’m doing one quick stroke.
If I did a darker red-orange that was browner so I put it in the brown I already had there.
Then I did lighter version to go over it to give it a little bit of a kick of value.
Just one stroke and I’m done because as soon as you go over that once you’ve got
this on your brush and you’ve got to begin again.
Here is the stroke here.
Then there is a greener version of that.
There is our geese saying good morning to us.
There is our stroke of the chair there.
You can barely see it here.
Let’s get a little more definition to the background now.
Notice I work in one area and then move to another.
Try and bring the whole painting up together.
Don’t render one area and then go to the next because what you think is right will
end up being most likely wrong because the relationships will change.
You will get working in here, and you’ll just see this against this against this, but
not this against this and this against this and this against this.
It’s everything in relationship to everything else that we’re interested in.
And so it’s really important that we draw the whole painting up together.
I’m running out of—there are her shoes down under there.
Let me adjust that face back a little bit.
Then it’s a little cooler.
The face is a little cooler.
I wanted to force the warm because it was the warmest part of the whole painting other
than these strokes of the chair.
There is another one back in there, actually.
I wanted to force that warm flesh.
The flesh is different.
I pushed it warm.
Now I’m going to come back and add the cooler shadow to it, the cooler light.
This was my color here.
I need to do a cooler version of that.
I need to pick up in here.
Oftentimes you’ll have—look at these different blue grays we have now poking around, greener,
really brown, slightly purplish.
I can choose any of those.
I’m going to choose that one, or if none of them are right.
It needs to be a little bit lighter.
Notice I dabbed some off.
I wasn’t sure if that was too much because that’s a little pot of color.
I can quickly ruin it and then I’d have to start over.
I took most of white and put it over there to check it and then add that white back in.
It turns out it wasn’t enough.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, or you go to the edge and start adding it in at the
edge and seeing what happens.
What I want is this face to have both warm and cool in it.
It really picks up in here also and then a little bit in here.
We get variations on us.
Then we’re going to add our redder now on top.
I end up with three colors on that one face searching
for the correct one.
Letting all three breathe, and when I do those three I’ll lay it down one and then I’ll
lay down another.
I’ll lay down another.
I’ll let the old color show through.
I’ll end up doing this and this and this kind of thing or having it this way and then
taking hatches of the second color and then hatches of the third color, and you get kind
of a crisscross pattern where they’re sneaking through.
But allowing that old color to show through, if it’s an absolutely disastrous color then
you want to scrape it off.
If this is getting too much too thick I’ll scrape it off like that.
Come back and correct with the new color choice and begin again.
If it’s in the ballpark, if it rings fairly true, then we want to go ahead and let that
stay alive in there.
It’s a yellow light so we’ve got a little bit of yellow catching that, catching that.
We have a pinker bit there.
We’ve got a really pretty little dash there.
That can be a little lighter.
Now watch, I’m going to put this inside that first choice.
There we go.
Now we can feel that light on there.
Then on her hair it’s going to be two colors.
I’m going to go a grayer brown.
Then I’m going to go cooler on top of that.
When you lay that—let me just show you here—if I take a warm highlight or a light value or
any value right there, then I need to raise its value up even lighter, if I push it towards
Now that warm and cool vibrates.
Not only is it getting lighter, I’m rendering it up to a lighter highlight or lighter half-tone
or lighter reflected light, whatever it is.
I’m shifting the temperature.
One of the hallmarks of impressionism is every time the value changes the temperature changes.
You can make a change radically to get a little pop there.
Now, when we get that, the cool red-violet with that, or that warm-red violet with that
relatively cooler blue-green, it really kicks.
That gives us as much as if we just kept it red-violet but made it even lighter.
That would make it, give us a similar pop.
That cool on the warm makes it seem a stronger value than it really is.
But it also makes the colors more dynamic because they are shifting temperatures and
maybe even intensities, and you get a color vibration that way that activates both.
The red looks redder and the green looks greener because of the relationship,
because of the juxtaposition.
Alright, then we want a few more kind of pinks down in here
throughout and then some darker accents.
I’m going to gray this down in deeper folds in here.
Then we’re getting a little bit of the background sneaking around in here.
In these deepest shadows, oftentimes, I’ll put—I’m going to put more in here than
is warranted just so you can see it.
I’ll put it in a deep, cool shadow.
I’ll put a dark warm rather than a dark cool.
You would think in the shadows as it goes deeper and deeper into the shadows.
We get cooler and cooler and cooler, and you may well, but for this same reason I’ll
push them very warm.
And now we get that warm cool vibration going on.
They energize each other.
It’s gets exciting.
It looks more lush, more beautiful, more dynamic.
It just gives you one more tool of contrast that you can use.
Here is a pale, warm light.
Catching her dress.
That’s a little too much there.
Then behind her is a dirty gray.
It’s warm or cool.
I’ll try both.
I tried the cool and settled on warm.
I put a strong little warm in there.
Let’s get a little bit of dappled light in here.
We’re getting kind of a half-light.
I’m going to go into my brown or my dirt here.
We have these kind of half-light dirty warms in there.
Here is a greener version of that same thing.
Where we’re getting a little bit lighter.
It’s dirty so I’m using dirty lighter rather than a clean lighter.
Some dappled light forcing through the trees, and then we’re going to get the sky holes
Let’s see here.
There is a little bit more of a warmth in here.
Warmer than that.
Now we’re going to get a light here, some dappled light on the ground,
some cooler versions of that.
Then we want our sky.
We’re going to keep these grayer.
Not quite that gray so that our foreground stays more intense.
Let them vary a little bit.
Then I’m going to step back.
I’m stepping back because I want to take a look at it from a distance.
I’m going to squint at it.
I get back from it.
I look back and squinted at it to see if it works.
You have an advantage on me because you’re seeing it smaller, and so in effect you’re
seeing it farther away.
That’s giving you a feeling of the overall, whereas I’m right up here looking all the
There are really kind of too many dabs, but since it’s just a little study I’m just
going to leave it there.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, although I wish it were.
Let’s say we’re looking at it, overall it looks really nice.
Boy, I did a good job, I’m thinking to myself.
But it gets a little dirty there, so what I’m going to do is I’m going to come in
and push a few little brighter accents of color.
Just in this case the blues.
Maybe I’ll do a little warm too.
Just see one little pattern on her dress.
I just can’t stop myself at this point.
Nope, I can’t stop.
It’s just fun to play.
Most of the time you come back and you look at them a few hours later, and they don’t
look as good as they did when you did them.
You’re just having so much fun you mistake the enjoyment for the success, as you should.
But, what I’ll do is if I work on a painting I’ll turn it away while I work on a different
painting—see there is a little bit here—or come back the next day.
Paint it that day.
Come back in the morning.
Take a look at it and critique it.
Say, okay, now that the excitement, the thrill is gone, what does it look like?
Do I still like it when I walk into my studio?
I’ll kind of walk around knowing where that painting is sitting up,
and I won’t look at it.
I’ll get around to a good position and turn around and look at it and say,
okay, what do I see there?
What’s bothering me?
Is it really a nice little sketch?
Not so bad.
The blue can be a prettier blue in here.
I’m going back and forth.
Now that I have some paint on the canvas, I’m wanting to do more vertical strokes
so that it doesn’t glare.
Let’s clean it up a little bit.
Alright, so we’ll stop there.
I hope that helps.
We’ll try again next time and take it a little bit further and start looking at an
object and doing a little bit of rendering to see how those colors can start to turn
We’ll see you next time.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview46sNow playing...
1. Exploring warm & cool ideas13m 35sNow playing...
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2. Working with colors14m 5s
3. Structure and tone12m 59s
4. Pushing your tones13m 6s
5. Finalizing your painting12m 38s