The Fine Art  of


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Articles in this primer
Painting Kit - Your materials list
Pick a site
Getting started
on this page - Before you begin painting, Getting to it!, and
Things you attract
Return to Begining
Return to Art School




Getting to IT!

Your paints are out, now what do you do. Remember you are not painting a 'tree, house, building' you are painting shapes with three values. Light, middle and dark. Landscapes are easiest to do if you paint the thing that's furthest away first. If you intend to show a skyline it would be a good guess that the sky is furthest away.

When working on a clean sheet of paper there is always a tendency to put this first color on too light, especially if you are in a bright light.  Try to paint a darker sky than you think it should be.

Next I like to put in one of the darker values as a key for the middle ground. Just a little, then fill in the larger shapes with local colors.

Carry on as you would in the studio, but remember, you are OUTSIDE. The longer you stay outside the  more things are changing around you. The light for one. So paint faster than you feel comfortable. 



Before you Begin Painting

Before you drag out the brushes and paints you must sketch an outline. A few dos and don'ts. For purists you may want to do a value study first, however this is personal preference.

Don't: Set your easel up over an ant hill! (been there, done that and it's not a good idea)

Do: Start with the most important subject matter. It should take up the largest area on your paper. If it is a tree or a lake or the whole mountain, start with that.

Don't: This is not a drawing so don't spend a lot of time on the sketching.

Do: Capture a few design lines, suggest the top of a building or the skyline. If doing a vista, indicate where the distant mass ends and the middle mass begins. Where the middle mass ends and where the foreground begins.  If the house you want to paint has any strong shadows you may want to indicate them within the outline of the house.

Don't: Draw details!!. Remember you are outdoors and this should be a quick rendering. If you want details, take a picture go back to the studio and paint there.




The Things You Attract

1. Bugs - These come and go along with the weather, I've noticed that fewer bugs are around in the Spring. Always carry bug spray.

2. Onlookers - These come in many shapes and sizes. Depending on your nature, some may be less a distraction than others.