Category Archives: step by step painting

Speed Demo Video Spring Sunset Soft Pastel

It’s been a long time since you’ve seen a video, huh?!? Yeah, I’m slacking! Well, no more! Time to get to work. And more to come….I promise.

Normally, I like to perform a step by step painting demo right in nature. It is so much more pleasant than an indoor studio, however I saw this magnificent breathtaking sunset as I was driving to Springfield, IL, two weeks ago and I only had time to click a quick picture. So this demo is done from a photo.

Here is the photo:
Spring Sunset

Here is a photo of the final painting:
20170430_spring_sunset_pastel

Unfortunately the video has poor lighting, so the final (which was scanned in) looks much more vibrant. I am using new software so quality will improve with use.

I hope you are keeping up with your art. I hope you are playing and practicing. I hope you are taking time for yourself in this area. Life can be overwhelming most of the time, especially if you have a full time job and a family. You have to fight for your time. Fight for it. It will keep you healthy.

Here is a link for archival prints if interested:
Art Prints

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Let’s Paint Pines by a Lake!

The November landscape has inspired me to create a soft pastel painting. Do you want to paint one with me? OK! Here we go!

First, here is the scene that inspired me (minus the rocks)…

lake_photo

Now, before we begin, here is a sneak peak of all the steps in a time lapse…

Like it? YOU CAN DO THIS! Here we go.

20141130_lake_step1

Step 1: I am using a gray Ampersand pastel board 20×16. Why gray? For no reason other than I had it laying around. Using a pastel pencil, any light color will do because this will get covered completely, draw a rough sketch. I am using Derwent Pastel Pencils. ***Note: You can use ANY pastel brands you have and any colors. You don’t have to run out and buy the brands I use. 🙂

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Step 2: Lay down color all over the board just to have a base to work with. Don’t worry about which color is the right color to use. Most of this will be covered. The secret to painting with pastels is, lay down “harder” soft pastels first then top with “softer” soft pastels. You will find certain brands are harder than others. I mainly use Rembrandt and Unison brands. Rembrandt is harder than Unison so they go on the bottom. However (there’s always an exception), Unison brand seems to be darker. The darkest Rembrandt can’t get as dark as a dark Unison…so if I need to go dark, I will use the Unison first.
In this step, I used all Rembrandt pastels and wasn’t too concerned with exact color.

After you cover your board, take a fat paint brush, like a cheap one you paint your walls with, and turpentine and paint over the pastel scribbles. You’re just spreading and moving the pastels around. Don’t worry about direction of brush stroke or anything.
Also, don’t worry how dark it will look. When it dries it will become lighter. Here is what it looks like dry:

20141130_lake_step2b

This is completely dry. This step is important because it covers a lot of ground in little time with little pastel pigment.

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Step 3: Now we are going to start layering. Using Rembrandt (medium blue) #506,7  make horizontal likes in the sky near the top of the board. Then take Rembrandt (light blue) #570,9  and paint horizontal lines in the sky above the horizon and in the center.
Going lighter, paint Unison #grey 33, in the sky on top and Unison (light blue) #A53, over the horizon and center of the sky.
Time to wake up your inner child….with your finger blend these colors in the sky back and forth horizontally. Fun! I know!!

20141130_lake_step4

Step 4: Now we are going to paint the base of the pine trees. Using Rembrandt (dark green) #627,3 paint in some pines leaving “sky holes”. You don’t want one solid mass.

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Step 5: Now I notice, I have to go much darker. So, with these colors I overlap my pine boughs Unison (dark blue) #A37, (dark green) #Green 13, (dark purple) #DK 14. Looking great!

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Step 6: Here we are going to highlight the pine, here and there, not covering the whole tree. Using Unison light green, paint in some pine tips.

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Step 7: Using Derwent Pastel Pencil #Spectrum 11F Orange, draw in some birch trees over the lake in the distance. Go lightly.

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Here is a close up so you can see what they look like.

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Step 8: OK! Let’s anchor those pines to the ground by painting a dark color underneath them. Using Unison (dark blue) #A50, also paint the water by the edge of the ground to darken this area. Blend with your finger. Now using that pastel pencil for the birch trees, paint in their reflection in the water.

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Step 9: Using Rembrandt medium blue, like the sky and Unison (light blue) #BV8, paint over the water, lightest color in the middle. Blend with your fingers.

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Step 10: Now we are going to start layering the grasses. Darker color on the bottom. Using Dark Brown Rembrandt #408,3 and dark blue Unison #A49 scribble in some grasses. The lighter grasses I used a medium olive green Rembrandt #227,3.

20141130_lake_step11

Step 11: Here we are layering the grasses with lighter colors and highlighting the pine bark. In the grass area, scribble using a light sage Rembrandt #202,3, beige Rembrandt #236,3, and yellow Rembrandt #227,5. For the pines bark, I highlighted with a red Derwent Pastel Pencil #Deep Cadmium 6D.

20141130_lake_step12

Step 12: Let’s paint the lightest blades of grass and make reflections in the water. The lightest blades are light yellow Unison #Y15. Take some of your grass colors and paint them in the water. Then, take your finger and pull down.

20141130_lake_step13_final

Step 13 Final: In this step I added more punch to the pines. Using a very light yellow-green Unison highlight some pine tips. Then, sneak in some other striking colors like hot pink and purple…it gives it life. And you’re done!

If you would like a print or greeting card visit below:

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I hope you enjoyed this free step by step soft pastel demonstration of pines by the lake! Remember, you can do this!

Let’s Paint an Easy Oak Leaf!

Yes, it will be easy. Yes, you CAN do this!
So let’s get started and learn a simple way to paint an oak leaf using watercolors. But first, let me show you my palette so that you have the names of the colors.

watercolors_palette

The bottom colors are hard to see, they all look dark, but you get the idea. Click for a larger view. I listed the color name and in parenthesis, the brand name. I know I should be using all the same brand names and not mix, but beggars cant be choosers. I buy what I can afford at the time and make it work.

20141018_oak_step1

Step 1: Using a regular #2 pencil, draw the outline of the oak leaf on watercolor paper. I am using 140lb cold press watercolor paper.

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Step 2: Do not pre-wet the paper. We are working small, so there is no need to lay down water first. Paint Cadmium Orange with a medium round brush, over the entire leaf. While it was still wet, I added more orange to the edges excluding that part of the leaf that flips over like a dog ear. See how the edges of the leaf are darker?

20141018_oak_step3

Step 3: In this step we’re going to add different colors to the edge while the leaf is still wet. In the upper left add some Burnt Umber. Watch it spread some. In the upper right hand side add some Indian Red, excluding the part of the leaf turned over. Let dry.

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Step 4: On your palette, mix Indian Red and a little bit of Alizarin Crimson to create a rich red/brown. Make sure your leaf is dry. Paint a line on the bottom left edge of the leaf.

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Step 5: Wash your brush with clean water, tap on paper towel to get excess water off. Immediately after step 4, only touch the edge of the Indian Red/Alizarin color and pull the color inward with your brush that only has water on it.

Do you see what we did here in step 4 & 5? We painted on the leaf when it was completely dry with color, then we pulled one edge of the color inward with a clean brush that only had water on it. Let’s do it again on the bottom right side…

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Step 6: Ok, here we go. Paint the bottom right side of the leaf with a little line of Indian Red and Alizarin.

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Step 7: Clean your brush off with water, tap a paper towel to get excess water off, then immediately touch the inner edge of the line and pull it towards the center with your clean brush. You’re doing great!

Notice we didn’t cover the whole entire leaf when we added layers to it. Remember the leaf started a solid orange. Here you can see we went around some bug holes and veins.

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Step 8: Let dry. Next using a rigger brush and Sepia, paint in some veins and a few dark spots. Let dry.

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Step 9: Here we are going to do the same thing we did in step 4 & 5 and 6 & 7. With Sepia paint a line in the upper left corner. Clean your brush. Touch the inner edge and pull color towards the center.

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Step 10: Using Sepia and a little Cobalt Blue, paint the stem, around the bug holes, and under the edge of the leaf that is curled over.

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Step 11 FINAL: Watch this leaf POP!!!! We’re bringing it all together now! Like at the end of a symphony every instrument is playing!! Ha ha ha…I get so excited!
Using only Cobalt Blue, paint shadow on the right side only. And you’re done!

See you can do it! Just remember, watercolors are done in layers….lightest color first; Don’t cover the whole entire leaf, but let some orange show through, detail with darkest color at the end. Great work!

As your free autumn gift from me to you, I hope you enjoyed this step-by-step demonstration on how to easily paint an autumn oak leaf using watercolors. Now go out and collect some leaves!

Step by Step VIDEO Waterfall Glen Watercolor Sketch

After many months of technical difficulties with my camera and such, I am FINALLY pleased to present this video series of Waterfall Glen. This was taken last August and will help you with your summertime watercolor sketches, dealing with that ever dreaded subject of too much “green” color. This was filmed during my MeetUp group: Chicagoland Sketchbook Hikers.
Enjoy!

Video 1 of 5 (all videos are about 10 mins each)

Video 2 of 5

Video 3 of 5

Video 4 of 5

Video 5 of 5

Have fun and play along! 🙂

To see more videos visit my YouTube channel

 

Let’s Paint a Warm Winter Field and Tree Pastel!

I don’t know what it is about an open field with few trees, but I just can’t get enough of them! Maybe it’s the open expanse of the field and the sky together, making you feel free or perhaps the feeling of looking far into the distance causing you to ponder the distance in your own life? Who knows. I just like them. So let’s see how to paint a field using warm soft pastel colors…

20130303_field_step1

Step 1: My pastel paper is tinted dark gray and feels like sand paper. I’ve had it for so long, I honestly cannot remember what brand. My paper size is 10×8. Make a simple sketch, with the horizon line 1/3 of the way from the bottom of the paper. Next sketch in some distant tree lines (scalloped edge) and two young trees in the foreground. I used pastel pencils to make my sketch.

20130303_field_step2

Step 2: I always start on top and work my way down. This is a dry pastel painting, meaning there is no underwash. This painting is small enough that I do not need to. Starting at the top paint the sky with dark (R 506,7), medium (R 570,7), and light blue (R 570,9). I am using Rembrandt and Unison soft pastels and will note Rembrandt as R and Unison as U.

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Step 3: Blend with your finger. Go right over the trees, it doesn’t matter we will fill it in later.

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Step 4: Make some distant trees in the background. My trees are two colors: first a medium brown (R 409,7) and then a purple/brown (R 538,8). Keep the top of the tree line scalloped and uneven. Gently smudge the top of the tree line into the sky.

20130303_field_step5

Step 5: On this day, the sky was mostly cloudy and had a peach color far in the distance. So that is what we will paint, using Unison soft pastels now, paint the horizon a peach color (U Orange 11), the middle of the sky a light lavender (U BV 1). Blend with your fingers lightly.

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Step 6: We are going to go even lighter in the sky with another layer of very, very, light lavender/blue (U BV 8). Blend with your finger in circular motion like puffy clouds. Oooo, the sky is looking real nice so far!

20130303_field_step7

Step 7: Now the clouds in the sky are never just white. There are many colors swirling around, like pink, yellow, purple, blue/gray. So here and there we are going to add touches of pink (U Red 18), yellow (U Orange 18), and light lavender (U BV12). Blend with your finger.

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Step 8: Now we are going to work on the field. I used three colors, first a dark purple/blown (R 538,7), next a tan color (R 231,3) and lastly a nice russet color (R 411,7). I love all of those yummy warm winter colors!!!

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Step 9: Let’s work on the trees now. I used a Carbothello pastel pencil navy (1400/760)

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Step 10: After I get the basic shape of the trunk and branches, I like to hit it with some amazing “pop” colors. The color of the sun on the trunk is (U Orange 3). I also used purple Carbothello pastel pencil (1400/385), and just a hint of moss green (R 626,5).
Highlight some grasses in the field with a mild yellow color.

20130303_field_step11_final

Step 11 Final: Lastly, add some individual grasses in the foreground green/gray (R 202,3), and red (U Red 9). Then make a shadow under the trees with purple (U BV5). And you’re done!
This image may look a little different color-wise, because I scanned in the original painting instead of taking a picture.

“Deliberate Solitude”
10×8
pastel

To purchase a greeting card or print click here.

To purchase the original pastel painting click here.

I hope you enjoyed this free step by step instruction on how to paint a field and winter tree using soft pastels!