This lesson is for intermediate and advanced painters. Just a few weeks ago it was hot and the days long. It was definitely summer. Then, a certain coolness crept into the air and the light was slightly different; fall had suddenly arrived.

Fall in the Northwest can be stunning and very inspiring and motivating as a painter. This is one time of year that I find myself wandering around the countryside getting drawn to the landscape even if I’m working in another genre. I chose this particular piece to re-create for our lesson this month. It’s an old favorite. I love the inner glow of yellow canopy of leaves contrasted with the neutrals on the pathway. The path is wet and gleaming and the distant trees are in the mist, but still bright enough to give us a lovely focal point.

This is a two-part lesson. First a Follow-Along Demo. Follow along at your own pace but remember my suggestions for time limits!

Next is an Independent Assignment meant to expand on some of the principles presented in the Follow-Along Demo and to personalize your work. When you have completed both parts you can upload one or both images to receive a personal video critique on your work. Remember that the more mileage you get, the more progress you make, so I recommend that you complete both parts before submitting your images.

Who it’s for – This lesson is for intermediate and advanced painters.

What’s it’s About – Capturing the quality of light and working with fall color.

Set a Personal Focus – Try to focus on just a couple aspects of the painting. For instance you might want to focus on painting the negative shapes in the foilage.

Set a Time Limit – Keep it simple and don’t spend more than an hour and a half on it. If you find yourself spending two or three hours on it, it’s time to STOP and try another version!

Materials

  1. Your pastels
  2. A 12 x 12 piece of sanded paper. I used Elephant Colorfix for this lesson, but you could use a different color or different brand of paper if you like. Please use sanded pastel paper!

Extras

  1. Easel
  2. Baby wipes
  3. An apron

Part I
Follow-Along Demo

  1. Stop the video whenever you need to – it’s one of the great things about learning this way. Plus, you don’t need to take notes!
  2. Don’t feel funny about copying my pieces! It’s a time-honored way to learn and I know you’ll develop your own “style” in due course. I give you lots of ways to take off on your own and expand on the demos/lessons.
  3. Take your time, but not really! I want you to speed up a bit so you can start to develop the “whole” piece all at once.
  4. Do it differently. If it feels uncomfortable, you’re likely on the right track.
  5. Remember the three “P’s” Perfection, Procrastination, Paralysis. There is no such thing as a perfect painting, so don’t even worry about it.
  6. If you have trouble, ask for help! My team and I want you to have a great experience doing the lessons!!
  7. There are 5 stages in each lesson. The beginning of each stage is a good time to pause the video, take a short break and check in on how you’re doing.

“A Gentle Path” Notes:
The original piece was a favorite spot that has since been replaced by a development of homes. I’m glad I painted it as much as I did!

Part 2
Independent Assignment

Do another version from the alternate your own reference. Maybe this lesson calls for a little photo expedition! Look out for those patterns of light and shadow and the glow of fall! This calls for early rising and well-timed evening outings. Take along your best friend and bundle up!

When You’ve Completed Both Part 1 & 2
When you’re done, click here to upload pics of your painting and I’ll send you a Personal Video Critique. I’m curious what you’ll come up with! The first critique request is a free bonus for you. If you’d like additional critiques, normally a Personal Video Critique is $97 but you can send a message my support team to get a discounted critiques package – I’ve already told them that since you are taking lessons from me, you get at least 40% off.

If you aren’t ready for a personal critique from me, then be sure to upload your work to our Community page where your peers can take a look. I often comment on the Community submissions as well – it won’t be a video critique but I really enjoy seeing your work and helping you when I can.

The Stages (applies to both part 1 & 2)
This lesson pretty much breaks all these rules! Have fun with the freedom of it. Now that you’ve spent a good deal of time going through a series of steps to create pieces, this may be a welcome respite from that structure!

  1. Planning
    • Crop your reference, (feel free to crop it just like mine or change it up a bit).
    • Do a quick 5 to 10 minute thumbnail. This is a great way to get a feel for the piece and visualize the final version.
  2. Drawing
    • Scale up your thumbnail to the correct proportion Watch my video on scaling a sketch!
    • Lightly sketch in the essential shapes
    • Use your thumbnail sketch more than your photo reference at this point
  3. Blocking In
    • Establish the essential shapes of the piece, (3 to 5 largest shapes) Use the sides of the sticks)
    • Establish the values of those main shapes. What is the overall or average value of each shape?
    • Get a feel for how the piece works as a whole.
  4. Adding On
    • Add a variety of hues, and intensity to each shape.
    • Add texture and smooth out gradations where needed. Watch my video To Blend or Not to Blend.
    • Add a light source or direction of light.
    • Add detail.
  5. Finishing
    • Resolve any areas that need attention or TLC.
    • Slow down make color adjustments where needed.
    • Go the extra mile and exaggerate contrast and intensity where needed. Give yourself permission to do this!
A Gentle Path
Download the Lesson PDF

Enjoy “A Gentle Path”!

To Download the PDF file:
Ctrl-Click (MAC) and choose “Save File As”
Right Click (PC) to download files.


Click Here to Download the PDF
Download the Images PDF
To Download the PDF file:
Ctrl-Click (MAC) and choose “Save File As”
Right Click (PC) to download files.


Click Here to Download the Images PDF

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September Bronze & Silver