Landscape Video Art Lesson

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Materials Needed

For this landscape project using wet and dry techniques, I used these supplies:

Cretacolor Aqua Stic 10 color set, includes: Permanent White Cadmium Yellow (hue, these are nontoxic) Permanent Red Light (the orangy color) Permanent Red Dark (not used in project) Pompeian Red (the red-violet mentioned) Mountain Blue (the light blue) Prussian Blue (the dark blue) Moss Green Dark (the bright green) Red Brown Ivory Black

A piece of Canson "Biggie Junior" student watercolor paper 6" x 9" by cutting a sheet from the 50 sheet 9" x 12" pad in half.

1/2" angled golden taklon watercolor brush from a Princeton Value Pack. A half inch flat would do just as well, or a 3/8" flat, or if you're a bit careful, a bigger flat. Or if you prefer using a round brush, use your favorite fairly large round brush, preferably size 6 or bigger. Trying to wash over large areas with a small round brush can create unwanted textures.

Other watersoluble oil pastels like Caran d'Ache Neocolor II or Portfolio may not give you exactly the same texture but may still create a lovely painting.

If you don't have watersolubles, try the project with any brand of firm oil pastels. Just substitute odorless turpentine for the water. Thinner effects and water with watersolubles handle very much the same ways.

If you use a different brand of watercolor paper, the texture may come out different but it may still look good. Canson "Biggie Jr." paper has a strong canvaslike texture that's fine grained, not as big as the basketweave texture on Mi-Tientes. I used that for broken color in the final dry stages.


Underpainting in Watersoluble Oil Pastels





I had a little trouble with the title on this video because I couldn't delete the URL of this website from overlapping it. I finally eliminated the title and put it over the first clip. I would've redone it but for one thing.

You can see Ari on the unmade bed behind me, getting up and turning around to settle down again. He's so cute I couldn't edit him out. So if you're wondering what my furry muse looked like in motion, wonder no more! There he is, in all his hairy magnificence! He sheds Cat Hairs of Inspiration on you!

The first sketchy layers of the landscape don't show up very well in that lighting. But I think you can follow it well enough and once these layers are washed, the color comes through much bolder. Keep watching and if you can't figure out any of the shapes and masses, they will become clearer in the later videos.



In the second video I was glad to see that most of the washed color showed up so bright. I was concerned the sky wash was so pale it wouldn't be visible but it worked out fine.

I'd suggest watching all the videos first, then start your landscape paint-along. Or be daring and paint-along step by step without worrying about later steps till you get to them. You can always pause them, scroll back to see something again and watch as many times as you need to get it.

In addition to seeing how the washes and burnishing techniques look with things like how I hold the sticks for light or heavy pressure, I talk about principles too. Composition, perspective, and aerial perspective are demonstrated and explained in simple language throughout the series.

Seeing these principles in action may help you to internalize them, get used to using these tricks to make your paintings more realistic. This landscape, painted from imagination, is all about depth and distance.



I mentioned Carlson's Landscape Guide several times in this video art lesson. Carlson was using oil paints rather than watersoluble oil pastels, but his principles of design and composition for landscapes have been so useful to me that I was able to train myself into composing landscapes from imagination. That's been a goal of mine for some time, to paint some of the places in my fiction as well as places I've taken photo references for or painted from life.

The rule I cited from Carlson is important enough to mention here too. In most landscapes, the lightest value area will be the sky. The light is coming from above, you can sometimes even leave the paper white for the sky and it'll work. The next lightest area is the flat ground, reflecting more light than anything else. Slanted surfaces like hillsides or distant mountains will be darker, and the darkest surfaces in a landscape will be vertical things like trees or the sides of buildings.

I found that applying it to imaginary landscapes helped me a lot to give the light a sense of realism. If you're looking at real landscapes or good reference photos that don't follow the rules, follow your subject. But only if it looks better that way.

When you're making it up, it helps to understand things like that in order to get some realism.

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Painting with Watersoluble Oil Pastels



At this point I felt a burning need to change the title of the series. The underpainting was done. So the last three videos are titled as if they're a different series, but I've placed them all on one page to keep the project in one place. Enjoy!



As I worked on this painting, I described everything I was doing and did my best to explain the principles I used while I was making it up. Most of all though, I was making it up off the top of my head -- and the memory of the pretty country around here in Arkansas that made such an impression on me last summer.

The exercise of drawing or painting from memory is a good one. Carlson recommends trying it often even if the results aren't as sharp or realistic as something you paint from life, because that improves your observation. I've gotten to a point where my imaginary scenes are good enough to display, but I did spend a lot of time doing others that weren't while I was learning that trick.

Carlson was right, it does help -- and it also helps with reconstructing beautiful places I saw before I knew how to draw or paint well enough to depict them.



Much of the narration shares the thought processes I go through while creating a painting. I'll be analyzing it as I go in terms of cool things I learned from books or classes, also following wordless intuitive impulses involving color and feeling. I loved the atmospheric perspective in this project.

Unfortunately, a short sequence in the middle of this project got distorted. The sound slowed down till I had the voice of a mechanical frog, out of synch with what I was doing. I have no idea what happened or how I could fix it.

Because the moment of doing the project is over, I can't actually recreate this and re-shoot it without doing a different painting. I decided to finish this anyway as it is. The glitch doesn't last long, hopefully it's not too distracting.

I could edit it out, at the cost of jumpiness and losing that part of the painting process. Let me know which you'd prefer, I can always edit this video and post it again on YouTube later on.



Ever think you were done with a painting... and then notice one more thing you'd like to do with it? Over and over, several times? Yep, that's what happened with this one. I shot the second and third segments as one continuous session, excited at how the landscape was turning out.

Then I kept mentioning "It's just about done" and seeing one more thing I wanted to do to it. That was fun!

The actual painting time was just under an hour, including the wash I put on the shadows that didn't make it into the video. The process of editing it into a video art lesson and posting it to YouTube took from nine in the morning to nine at night!

These take a little longer to create than my written tutorials, but they are fun. I'll be doing more of them and I am open to requests for other topics. I'll rotate what supplies I'm using in different videos so that eventually whatever your favorites are, you'll see them in action.

Enjoy!