This lesson is for all levels. It’s all about loosening up and allowing a playful and exploratory approach to painting. Developing the habit of painting small and painting regularly is something I can’t encourage enough! It’s kept me at the easel when life gets busy and complicated. Working small allows us to work relatively fast, use scraps of paper so we don’t feel too precious and if we let ourselves, we can explore a different kind of mark making! I recommend following along for a first try, then using one of the alternate reference photos to do another group of small pieces using the same steps; just applying them to the alternate reference photos.

I recommend following along for a first try, then using one of the alternate reference photos to do a second series using the same steps; just applying them to the alternate reference photos or better yet, go on a photo outing and capture some light!

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 all levels. Developing the habit of painting small and painting regularly is something I can’t encourage enough! It’s kept me at the easel when life gets busy and complicated. Working small allows us to work relatively fast, use scraps of paper so we don’t feel too precious and if we let ourselves, we can explore a different kind of mark making! I recommend following along for a first try, then using one of the alternate reference photos to do another group of small pieces using the same steps; just applying them to the alternate reference photos.

What’s it’s About – Loosening up and allowing a playful and exploratory approach

Set a Personal Focus – Try to focus on just a couple aspects of the painting. For instance if you really are interested in color, focus on that and don’t worry too much if you don’t get the drawing exactly how you’d like it. Take it a step at a time!

Set a Time Limit – Keep it simple and don’t spend more about 25 minutes on each version. Try it at least three times!

Materials

  1. Your pastels
  2. Several scrap pieces of sanded paper. I used Pastelmat for my pieces, but you could use different colors 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.

“Miniatures” Notes:

The really simplified the reference photo for this one. I kept to the large shapes and played with the pattern of light and dark. Take a look at the mini-lesson on abstracting to get see how I worked out the shapes.

I was very concerned with the gesture and movement that I saw when I was at the site, so I tilted the trees just a bit to get more of that feeling in my piece. I also wanted the light spilling through the gold leaves. I love that! Have fun with this lesson. It’s an opportunity to really play and expand!

Part 2
Independent Assignment

Do another version from the alternate your own reference. Maybe this lesson calls for a little photo expedition! Try to “chase the light” a bit. 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)

  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!
Miniatures: Mileage & Joy
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Download the Images PDF
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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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Miniature Painting

SUPPLEMENTAL VIDEOS

Lesson 26