This course is designed to fill in the gaps left by conventional art instruction. We all want our paintings to stand out. To express our feelings or catch the eye of a collector. What is it that makes a painting move from ordinary to stunning?
The secret is learning how to see like an artist. No matter what your subject the basic foundation for color, value, edges and shapes needs to be in place. I take this further with extensive video demonstrations that give you the confidence to try yourself.
Challenging and fun assignments with demonstrations will help you put theory into practice. In this course you will learn by doing - the best way! Supplemented with over 200 pages of notes, video, slideshows and full demonstrations you will be able to take your painting to higher levels quickly and confidently.
This course will give you the confidence and direction to paint with impact.
(Course Updated April.2017)
Module 2 gives you more details about useful art materials that you can use on this course. Watch the video for details of the core materials required. Please also read the supplementary material for more information on your materials.
Canvas lined panels are easy to make and provide an excellent surface to paint on. These panels have the benefits of canvas, but are stronger and convenient to take with you on plein air painting trips. This brief demo shows you how to make your panels and prime them.
How to prepare your painting surface is very important. You painting experience as well as the future of the painting itself depend on good priming.This video explains how to prime the painting surface before you begin painting on it. This procedure applies to canvas lined panels or panels without canvas. Prime and tone both.
Stretched canvasses are a good option for larger paintings. Panels can be too heavy, for instance, so a canvas gives a lighter option with a good surface to paint on. Here are a few options when purchasing canvasses. As always you get what you pay for so try for good quality canvas.
Want to learn how to stretch your own canvas? It is not too difficult and is a rewarding exercise if you enjoy a bit of DIY.
Setting up your studio where you can work in peace is a priority. This lecture is about finding that haven of creativity. I also show you my painting space.
Please download the supplementary notes for more about creating a working studio.
Why is this section on shapes so important? I give a brief introduction to this section.
An outline to the section plus materials required.
This lecture explains how you can measure values using the Munsell value scale. By comparing color spots on your subject to the value scale you can identify the correct value of the color. This makes mixing accurate color simpler. Values are one of the keys to painting with impact.
Download the value scale below, print it out and stick it onto card. You will then have your own value scale to use during this course.
How to assess shapes in the confusion of a scene? This video shows ways to simplify the process.
Assignment 2 is all about three value notan painting. This is the most common notan study used by artists so make it part of your process.
The Next step in learning to simplify a scene into shapes and values is the outline study. More shapes and a fourth middle value come into play.
We go beyond the notan study to select more shapes and values. From outline to painting a four value monochrome study.
Do an outline study to practice identifying more shapes and values.
Another step up! This time you are going to paint a four value study. First in monochrome then in color. A few more shapes and values in the color study too. Now you can see values and shapes AND mix the color to match.
Try your monochrome color value painting based on your outline study.
Now try mixing paint in color to match the values. Paint a color outline study to gain confidence in matching color and value. You can add more shapes and value in this study, but not too many. Simplicity adds impact.
Try your own color value painting based on your outline drawing.
An overview of the upcoming lectures on color.
What is color? This lecture starts this discussion by looking at the three qualities that make up color. Then we look at relationships between colors using these qualities to help us. A technical topic that will become clearer when you get into your assignments.
Color relationships are important for adding immediate impact to your painting. We look at various color relationships, with examples, and how they can be applied.
Color mixing from the primary colors can seem daunting to say the least. But it can be simple if you practice it regularly. Color mixing will save you money and make you a better painter more quickly. The ability to mix your colors instinctively plus adjust for value and saturation is an essential skill. This video shows how you can mix your landscape colors easily. Practice mixing these colors over several days until you are comfortable with the basic steps.
I never use tube black in my paintings. So how to mix excellent darks that harmonize with my painting? By using existing colors from your palette you can mix fantastic darks. Here are a few trusted methods.
In this lecture I take a brief look at the sources of light, reflections and the nature of shade.
This lecture looks at the difference between local color and observed color. How to use a color finder and are shadows always cool in temperature?
This demo video shows how to start your painting with the shadow and light shapes. This is part of making a good start to your painting to simplify the major shapes into light and shadow color ranges.
PRO TIP: Practice making a start. Do this over and over with different references on small painting panels or even primed water color paper. Getting a confident start does a lot for your confidence and the painting's success.
Color Notes placed correctly bring the "music" to your painting. You can prepare color notes accurately using a color map to get correct mixes for tricky colors.
The assignments continue in the Assignments Section below. For now lets go onto other important topics before completing the remaining assignments. Alternatively if you are a roll and want to press on with assignments then go for it.
Why are edges so important? How can we manipulate edges for impact?
We look at edges used in a painting and discuss why those edges were used.
A brief demonstration of typical edges that you can use in your paintings.
A summary of the four key elements that will give your painting immediate impact. Also download the 4 Keys Poster to keep handy in your studio.
Feeling overwhelmed? Focus on this one skill as it is the most important pillar to learn right now.
Now lets us see how we can carry over that notan to a painting so that we make a great start.
What are the key elements of composition? Keep distracting elements out of the painting and keep the viewer's eye within the painting as long as possible.
Classic composition do's and don'ts
Composition is important, but by following a few basic rules and using structure your composition will have impact.
When faced with a landscape scene you may find yourself wondering what to do with all that information. Maybe you freeze up and revert to painting everything.
Let us have a look at a landscape scene with lots going on. Plenty of potential, but you must see what to include and what to leave out. Decide what it is you want to focus on. It is usually the strongest elements that instinctively draw your attention. Stay with those. exclude the rest.
Still struggling to simplify the scene? Time to force yourself to paint the big abstract shapes! Use this method until you have developed the new habit. Get a LARGE brush and small panel. Size 16 brush and a small 10 x 12 panel. Then paint the painting using the same brush and see how far you can go. Repeat this exercise many times. It is a critical skill so please do not laugh it off.
Drawing can be an emotional topic. Is your drawing good enough? I give my view on why painters should not fret about drawing.
Many artists are intimidated by drawing, but this video shows why painter's have nothing to fear.
I am a professional artist with twenty years experience in painting mainly in oil, acrylic and watercolor mediums. I have studied art for most of my life and continue to develop my style of painting. I enjoy teaching art, which has led to me developing courses to help artists seeking to improve their work.
I follow a representational approach to subjects using a painterly or impressionistic style. Plein air painting is a favorite part of my approach to painting. I currently produce paintings for sale to collectors worldwide.