Friday, October 31, 2008



6x8 inch Plein Air oil painting
by Tom Brown

To purchase this, email me at

I painted this on location using my small laptop-sized paintbox, and I shot photos as I worked. I felt the artists who follow my blog might enjoy seeing how I approached this subject.

This little demonstration is not like the fully detailed lessons in my CDs and DVDs, but it gives you a brief overview of how I went about creating this painting.

In the photo below you can see that I sketched the large shapes of the composition using a thin wash of French ultramarine blue, then mixed some of my “dirty purple” to place the darkest darks. This mixture is ¾ cadmium red and ¼ French ultramarine blue.

I then mixed colors for the foliage using ochre and phthalo green, with a touch of cadmium red to warm it in places. The tree on the nearby bank was much warmer in color and I used more cad red in this mixture. At this stage I also painted the nearby bank itself, then added limbs to select trees.

The house nestled among the trees came next (see photo below). The house was partly in shadow, and I was careful to capture the light and shadow pattern before the light changed. At the same stage of the painting I established the color for the land at the water’s edge.

In this next photo you can see that I now established the key reflections in the water, beginning with the house and trees on the far side of the water.

Finally I added the sky and the reflection of sky in the water. I further developed some details throughout the painting to refine the composition and decided the painting was complete.

I hope you enjoyed this. I always welcome comments. If you liked this little demonstration please post a “comment” below to let me know. Thanks for stopping to look.

Today’s happy thought:
Free online art lessons.


Blogger indylyn40 said...

Hi Tom, Your work and skill are stupendous. I work mostly in wc and am considering going to acrylic as the solvents in oils disagree with me. I have your daily paintings e-mailed to me and just love your lose impressionistic style. I recognize the CA landscape as my son lived in San Diego and I traveled CA for many years. Would love a workshop but alas my senior pennies won't stretch that far. Thanks for sharing your talent.

Linda in Colorado

10:58 AM  
Blogger Amy in Kentucky said...

Thanks for sharing your free lesson! It was interesting to see how you approach your painting, the colors you used and to see it step by step. It looks so simple yet the end result is a very impressionistic autumn day. Love it! Thank you for the daily emails!

12:10 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Hi Tom, Thanks for the lesson, I appreciate the color mixing tips too. I'm using your tips as I paint a little still life with fruit and a bowl.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Kathyatmoms said...

Hello Tom,
I look forward to viewing your new paintings everyday--and now a free lesson--what more could I ask for? As an ex-Orange Co. resident, now in northern Cal., I especially enjoy seeing areas I recognize from the past. My memories of hauling paints down Thousand Steps in Laguna, for instance, bring back fond memories. Keep it up and thanks!

Kathy in Auburn

9:10 PM  
Blogger James said...

I wanted to add my "comment" of thanks for the step by step detail post. I know it takes more time to prepare. I have been keeping up with your posts on my RSS reader, so I just had to click over to the blog to respond. Your local students are very lucky to have you and the great weather.

Thanks Tom!

10:02 AM  
Blogger Ann Reyes said...

This was a great lesson, Tom! I really enjoyed seeing and reading your step-by-step instructions. Thanks! And, it's a wonderful painting!

10:29 AM  
Blogger Marian Fortunati said...

I just discovered your blog and really enjoyed this lesson. Even your very small paintings look so realistic ... while at the same time light and loose. Just lovely.
Thank you so much. I'll be back!!

3:09 PM  

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