Helpful Hints for Landscapes
Base coat the canvas with a pale color or gesso the canvas. Lightly sand, do not
sand until smooth, you need some tooth to the canvas. Wipe off any dust. I don’t
always do this for an oil painting but always do when painting an acrylic canvas.
When base coating items in the pattern, it is usually better to wash in the color. You
can use water or a medium to thin the paint. It is rarely that I use color straight
from the bottle. I feel base coating straight from the bottle and trying to get an
opaque coverage makes the painting appear to be color book painted. With a
wash of color you will have options to easily change the color, if needed. When
painting, base coat, you need 3 values light, medium and dark. If you apply a
wash of color, very light, this can be your light value. Then all you need do is add
medium value and dark value. Of course we want more than 3 values, on this first
wash of color you can get a deeper dark value, and a brighter highlight. Usually
you do not have to fool with the middle value. This is a good area for tints.
When highlighting: Establish where the light source is coming from, right, left or
middle. When applying a highlight it should face the light source. Apply the
highlight color to the brush and then position the brush so the paint is facing the
light source. When using a highlight through the center of the painting the
highlights in the picture will be different on each side of the painting. REMEMBER
highlights face the light source.
Applying layers of paint makes for a more beautiful painting and try not to be
perfect. A hazy look in the background and a more detail look in the foreground
will help create distance. You should have three planes in a painting, background,
middle ground and foreground. Background should be light in value and hazy
looking, Middle ground will generally have your focal area and be of middle values
with some dark and some light. Foreground is the closest to you so will be darker
in value and a little sharper in detail.
When painting buildings the corners need to be in sharp contrast. This makes the
building look like it is turning. If the value of the building is all the same it will look
There are a lot more dos and don’ts but try this for the time being and then go to
the next level in your paintings. I feel an artist needs to conquer each level of
painting and then move on. You need to feel comfortable with your painting and
then there are things you can learn to enhance you paintings even more