Tag Archives: how to paint

Let’s Paint a Birdhouse on Wire Fence Speed Demo VIDEO

Last June I went to Christ in the Wilderness for a 4 day retreat. Every time I visit, I’m rewarded with beautiful solitude, majestic nature, the ability to think and pray. It is like a spiritual renewal or refreshing. God works in mysterious ways and I believe he was speaking to me through nature, almost preparing me for the near future. More of that on a later post.

While I was there in June, I took video of the surroundings and was inspired to paint a picture of a lonely birdhouse on a wire fence that borders the property of CITW. After completing the painting, I was inspired to name it:
“Going Home”

This perhaps is in direct relation to the passing of my dear friend, Alanna. She always said our bodies are vessels and this world is not our home. How true.

Today’s video is in two parts. It is a pastel painting with a watercolor underwash on a white Ampersand Pastelbord. There are a few minutes of beautiful nature in both videos. The first video is a demo of the bulk of the painting and the second video is a demo of highlighting the details. All supplies are listed in the info section on YouTube. Enjoy.

Video 1 of 2 (9 minutes)

Video 2 of 2 (5 minutes)

It was brought to my attention that sometimes the videos do not show up in your email. That’s weird. I do not know why this happens. In any case, if you are reading this post from your email and do not see the videos embedded in your email, visit http://www.letspaintnature.com and view from the web site.

Interested on a print or greeting card of Going Home?
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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!
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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.

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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. ūüôā

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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.

20141130_lake_step5

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.

20141130_lake_step7

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

20141130_lake_step7b

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

20141130_lake_step8

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.

20141130_lake_step09

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.

20141130_lake_step10

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!

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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 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.

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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.

Let’s Paint Evidence of Autumn!

Look around you…this time of year you can see evidence of autumn. Look at the very tips of the trees near the top. Do you see it?

Yes, just a hint of autumn. My favorite time of year.
Well, I’m not going to waste any time. Every day from now until the end of November I will savor, because I know it won’t last. This precious time will go blazing fast…so let’s preserve this moment in time by painting “Evidence of Autumn”,¬†using soft pastels…..

20110918_evidence_autumn_step1

Step 1:¬†Make a rough sketch using a charcoal pencil. This is a 7×5 Ampersand Pastelbord. Do this step fast and don’t worry about detail. Most of this will be covered my paints anyway, I just do it for a road map¬†to where I’m going next.

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Step 2:¬†For the underpainting, we will use watercolors, it’s quick and it spreads. The blue sky is indigo blue at the top and cerulean blue near the horizon.

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Step 3:¬†Mix some alizarin¬†with your indigo and paint some boughs on your tree. While you’re at it, paint the distant trees in the horizon.

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Step 4: Fill in the tree with some sap green. Fill in the field with yellow ochre, burnt umber, and indigo blue. Be carefull because the watercolor wants to spread like crazy on the Ampersand Pastelbord. Use little water and more pigment. It will dry light.

20110918_evidence_autumn_step5

Step 5: Using cobalt blue watercolor, drop in some color in the distant trees and a touch in the shadow of our main attraction, the autumn tree. This will be the last time we use watercolors. Our underpainting is done. Let dry completely.

20110918_evidence_autumn_step6

Step 6: Now the fun begins! When your underpainting is completely dry, grab a dark blue pastel and scribble in the sky near the top of the painting. With a medium blue, scribble in the horizon sky. With your finger, blend the two.

20110918_evidence_autumn_step7

Step 7: On the sky, scribble some light blue pastel. Go ahead, go¬†crazy. It feels good, don’t hold back. Blend with your finger.

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Step 8: Using an electric blue pastel, paint the shadow areas of the tree. Add some light purple on the ends.

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Step 9: Take a dark sap green pastel and paint sections of the tree. I like to use nice up and down strokes. Use what ever feels comfortable to you. This is your style.

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Step 10: Take a dark blue pastel and paint in the trunk. Blend with your fingers. For the distant trees, paint them with a light and dark purple pastel.

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Step 11: Now we dazzle! Highlight the tree with a lighter green. Keep in mind which direction the light is hitting: left to right.

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Step 12: Did you ever want to kiss a tree with autumn colors? Well, now is your chance! Fly up there and touch the ends with orange and yellow. This is living!!!

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Step 13 Final: Add the sun! The brightest colors go last. Use the lightest orange you have to highlight a¬†few leaves.¬†Use the lightest yellow you have¬†to highlight a¬†few leaves over the green. As in, “a few leaves”, I mean: dot, dot, dot.
In the field paint some goldenrod by painting some yellow touches here and there. You’re finished! Now that wasn’t¬†too hard was it?

I hope you enjoyed this free step-by-step pastel demonstration. I know when¬†I am¬†painting, I feel more alive than I¬†do any¬†other time of my life. It is soul nourishing. I can’t live without it.¬†I hope I can help you feel that way too.

“Evidence of Autumn”
7×5
original pastel
no mat, no frame
$55
(includes shipping in US)

Click here to see availability.