Wednesday, November 19, 2008



6x10 inch Plein Air Painting
by Tom Brown
To purchase this painting, email me at

I thought it would be interesting to show the process of creating a plein air painting today. This canvas was photographed step-by-step for an upcoming CD release, and a few of those steps are shown here along with a photo of the actual scene.
I began by sketching the main shapes with a thin wash of ochre paint, switching to blue for the mountains. I then mixed cadmium red and blue to create the warm “darks” of the nearby trees. It was important to capture the pattern of light and shadows quickly because they would not remain constant for long at sunset.

Next I blocked in the warm greens for the nearby trees, then established colors in key areas like the sky, distant mountains and cliffs. This locked in the quickly changing portions of the scene before the light could change.

With the keynote colors safely captured, I blocked in the foreground shadows, then worked on one area at a time throughout the entire composition. I completed the sky, added more detail in the cliffs, and began working on the middle distance.

Below you can see that the middle distance was completed, final touches were added throughout the painting to add interest and sparkle, and it was finished. In the process of developing this canvas I used thick, juicy strokes of luscious pigment to add interesting surface texture. Click on the “detail” image above for a better look.

I hope you enjoyed this little demo. Leave a comment if you did, and have a happy day.

Today’s happy thought:
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Blogger Tom Schek said...

Hey Tom... I think I speak for all your subscribers in saying that seeing a painting broken down into steps is both fascinating and instructive. Thanks!

5:08 AM  
Blogger Kathryn Grider said...

Hi Tom ~ I loved seeing the process of this painting! very nice. Love your work!

6:38 AM  

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