Tag Archives: free step by step painting demonstration

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

Let’s Paint a Winter Storm at Night!

The Chicago area has been hit by two significant snow storms since winter started. I love snow. Not only is it soothing to watch as it descends, but it dresses the winter trees in their formal attire. How beautiful. Each and every one dazzles.

So, let’s paint a winter tree during an enchanted nighttime snow storm!

I do not have a reference photo but the technique will work with any deciduous winter tree.

Step1_Winterstorm

Step 1: Draw your tree on a 140lb coldpress watercolor paper with a pencil. My paper size is 6×9. The focal point is the tree itself so in the composition law of thirds, I wanted the tree to fill 2/3 of the paper.

Step2_Winterstorm

Step 2: Using masking fluid, paint where the snow would land on the branches. I covered the tops of almost every branch. Let completely dry. If you do not wait until it is completely dry, you will ruin your brush. You can make sure it is dry by lightly touching it after about 10 minutes.

Step3_Winterstorm

Step 3: We are going to paint the sky wet on wet. Using a 1″ flat brush with clean water, wet the paper in the area of the sky and the tree. Brush right over the dried masking fluid. Make sure you do not skip around and leave dry spots. When the shine on the paper disappears, paint ultramarine blue on top and bottom of sky and mauve in the middle. Let the colors blend and touch. You’re literally laying down a few brush strokes and stepping away. Do not over work this.
While the paper is still wet, sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on the paper and let completely dry. When dry tilt your paper and discard the salt.

Step4_Winterstorm

Step 4: Paint the tree starting at the bottom and work your way up. I used a medium round brush. If you look at the base of the tree I started with a mixture of sepia and ultramarine. As I work my way up, I added mauve to that sepia/ultramarine mixture, then viridian green, lastly at the top alizarin crimson.
Using a small round brush, paint in smaller branches repeating the colors we already used.

Step5_Winterstorm

Step 5: Rub the masking fluid off with your finger. Paint shadows under the tree using the same sky color on top.

Step6_Winterstorm

Step 6 Final: Using a small round brush paint a light mixture (meaning less pigment and more water) of prussian blue where the snow touches the branches, making a fine line. This is the shadow color of the snow on the tree.
When everything is dry, take a #3 black micron pen and draw tiny branches/twigs coming from the small branches. Outline the trunk and main branches of the tree to make it stand out.

I hope you enjoyed this free step-by-step demonstration of how to paint a nighttime winter snowstorm.

If you would like to purchase a greeting card ($4.95) or archival print click below. Thank you!
Art Prints

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.

20130303_field_step3

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.

20130303_field_step6

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.

20130303_field_step8

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!!!

20130303_field_step9

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

20130303_field_step10

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!

Let’s Paint Sun and Shadow Pine!

Okay Folks, the Holidays are over and this is a brand new year with bright brand new beginnings. So lets get crack-a-lackin’ and get serious about our artwork!

Today we will learn how to paint a pine tree with soft pastels….

pine_photo_morton_arb

Here is my reference photo. This photo was taken at the Morton Arboretum in the Spring of 2009. I love the sky color peaking through the boughs and the bright sunshine on the trunk.

20121231_step1_pine

Step 1: Make a sketch with charcoal on Ersta pastel paper (looks and feels like sandpaper). My paper is small 7×9 inches. I am remembering to use good composition by not placing anything dead in the center (remember the word dead. Dead = Don’t). I have my trunk 1/3 of the way from the left side of the paper and many smaller branches covering 2/3 of the paper.

20121231_step2_pine

Step 2: I did not make an underpainting. This is an all pure pastel painting. At the very top lay down some dark blue pastel, I used Unison BV12. Next color down, paint with a medium dark blue, Rembrandt 506,7. Next down paint with medium light blue, Rembrandt 570,9 and the very bottom light blue, Rembrandt 506,9. Even though I am giving you the brand and number pastel I used, you can use whatever colors you have or like. There are no rules.
Overlap the colors a bit, it helps to transition the next color.

20121231_step3_pine

Step 3: Smooth with fingers…make sure your hands are clean…sounds like Mom? Using the darkest blue you have, make some thin branches near the top of the painting and a few in the middle (these are the ones in shadow). Next, using a light purple, paint in some background pine boughs.

20121231_step4_pine

Step 4: With a dark blue, make some closer pine boughs. Keep this light and airy making sure to leave spaces open in between pine needles to see the sky/background.

20121231_step5_pine

Step 5: Paint the trunk thinking of sunny bright colors. I used mostly orange/brown Rembrandt 236,3 and a few touches of olive green Rembrandt 202,3 and light brown Rembrandt 231,3.

20121231_step6_pine

Step 6: Hold on to your seats, here comes the fun part Folks!!! In nature, when you look at something, let’s take a tree trunk for example, you look at it and your brain says, brown. But it’s not just brown. It’s reflecting many, many colors that your brain doesn’t process. Take a long look at a tree trunk and see if any MORE colors pop out at you. In our painting we got them right here!

Add some vibrant color branches. Go ahead. Get a little crazy. I used red/purple Rembrandt 347,5 and red/brown Rembrandt 538,5.

20121231_step7_pine

Step 7: Make some lovely shadows on your trunk. I used a Carbothello pastel pencil #770 (dark purple). This step gives great depth!

20121231_step8_pine

Step 8 Final: Kiss it with the sun! Using a bright yellow/orange Unison, I painted selective parts of the trunk and some top branches. Next I used some blue sky color and added some sky “holes”. Lastly I took my Carbothello pastel pencil #760 and 770 and made some really thin bare branches. And we are done!

I really hope you enjoyed this free step by step demonstration on how to paint a pine tree using soft pastels. Try it yourself, it is not as hard as you think.

Original painting sold on Etsy. Click here to view.

Archival prints/framing/greeting cards sold on FAA. Click here to view.

Thank you to all who have faithfully stopped by this site to learn how to paint and wish me well. Let’s make 2013 the year to paint!

Let’s Paint November Sunset!

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What is it about November that I like so much? Could it be the calm before the storm (peace before holiday chaos)? Could it be the de-clutter of leaves on the trees, providing a sort of de-clutter in my mind? Is it the warmth of the sweater that surrounds me or the first sip of hot chocolate? I’m sure it is a combination of all of these and many more. I love autumn even when it sheds its happy colors and puts on a more subdue garment. At this time of year, the grays and browns dominate, but you can still catch some exciting colors in the sky.

20111126_nov_sunset_photo

So let’s enjoy this time of the season by making a pastel painting of a November Sunset! This is going to be 100% pastels from start to finish. It won’t be too hard and you will have sooooooooo much fun in the process!

20111126_nov_sunset_step1

Step 1: I am using a sheet of Kitty Wallis Museum Grade 18×12 pastel paper. It feels like sand paper. You can get this wet and apply an undercoat, which we will do in a few steps. I made a rough sketch with a pastel pencil, it doesn’t matter what color, it will disappear in the end.

20111126_nov_sunset_step2

Step 2: Holy Hot Tamales!!! This is a fun step, well all of them are fun, but this step will connect you to your child like self buried deep, deep, down somewhere. Don’t worry about the bold dark color. This will be painted over. In this step and the next few, we are just laying down color. I am using Rembrandt pastels. Scribble in most of the sky using a dark pink, a little red and some orange. Repeat the same colors in the water.

20111126_nov_sunset_step3

Step 3: Now take a medium blue and scribble in the rest of the sky and some of the water. Take a dark blue and scribble in where the distant trees are just above the horizon.

20111126_nov_sunset_step4

Step 4: Look Mom! Look what I brought home from 1st grade! Hahahahahaha. In this step scribble in the land with a dark maroon/brown. Wait until you see what comes next!

20111126_nov_sunset_step5

Step 5: Now we are going to spread it around. Pour a small amount of turpentine (smells) or turpenoid (doesn’t smell) in a cup and wet a 2″ bristle brush. Dab on a paper towel to get excess off. You do not want it sopping wet. Start on the lightest color and touch the pastel spreading it around with small sweeping strokes. Clean brush before you move to the next color.

20111126_nov_sunset_step5b

That’s what I’m talking about! Yessssss. Spread it around now! This is an undercoat. Don’t worry how obnoxious it looks. We are going to apply another top coat of soft pastels. Only a tiny amount of this color will show through. Let this dry completely.

20111126_nov_sunset_step6

Step 6: We will start at the top and work our way down. When your undercoat is dry, take a light pink pastel and paint in the sky. I hate saying exact color names or numbers on my step by steps. I do not want people to run out and buy more art supplies because they think they don’t have the “right” color. All colors are right. All colors are usable. Use what you have. When I’m determining what color to use on top of an undercoat, I just use a shade lighter.
Paint in the sun colors using a lighter orange and a touch of dark yellow. Paint the lower half of the sky with a light blue.

20111126_nov_sunset_step7

Step 7: With your finger and a light touch, blend the two colors with a sweeping strokes.

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Step 8: Using the light blue sky color, fill in the water near the horizon. Take a medium blue pastel and paint in the distant trees. Using your finger blend the trees upward towards the sky. Looking good so far.

20111126_nov_sunset_step9

Step 9: Now I realized my maroon land color was not dark enough, so I’m adding a very dark blue Unison pastel color. The darkest Rembrandt is not really dark enough for me. Unison pastels can get very, very dark. I also painted more of the water with the light sky blue color.

20111126_nov_sunset_step10

Step 10: This is a close up of the land where I’m going to describe how to paint the dried grasses. Now because the light technically is coming from the back and it’s the beginning of evening, the grasses will not have much color. Using a dark blue pastel pencil, make dots and lines on top of the water just above the land. This represents cattails in the distance. Next take a gray-purple pastel and make lines for grass on the land. I like to be messy about it. Neat is boring.

20111126_nov_sunset_step11

Step 11: Take a lighter pastel, like a light gray-brown and make some grasses in the front. Take your dark blue pastel or pastel pencil and make some tiny grass sticks here and there in the very front, some put right in the water. Oh this is coming along nicely!

20111126_nov_sunset_step12

Step 12: Using a dark blue pastel pencil, paint in the trees. I thinned them out from the picture. I didn’t want them to be too distracting. After my trees were established I went over them with a dark brown color. Working on the water, take the same sky colors and paint the foreground. Don’t forget the nice orange color of the sunset. Make sure you add the tree trunks reflecting in the water.

20111126_nov_sunset_step13_FINAL

Step 13 Final: Add more blue sky color to the water in the foreground. Because the wind was so strong, it was breaking up the reflection in the water, so paint some more like blue and pink in the water.
Lastly, let the sun kiss the tree trunks and limbs by adding some hot colors; hot pink and orange work nice. Finished!

“Sweet November Sunset”
pastel
18×12

If interested in purchasing the original, click here to see availability.

I hope you enjoyed this free step by step pastel painting demonstration. I am so very honored that God has blessed me to be able to share this with you.