This lesson is for intermediate to advanced painters that are interested in expanding on their vocabulary of techniques! These under-painting ideas can add spontaneity and excitement to your work.
I walk you through four different under-paintings and give you some ideas for expanding on these.

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 a lesson up for all levels! It’s a simple composition, which gives you lots of opportunity to explore active mark making in the large shapes. This is also good practice in dealing with a large foreground. Follow along for a first try then complete the independent assignment in Part 2.

What’s it’s About – Using the reference material as a jumping off point rather than getting caught up in the details.

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 than an hour on it. If you find yourself spending two or three hours on it, it’s time to STOP and try another version! I recommend looking at the video on the

Materials

  1. Your pastels
  2. An 11 x11 piece of Colorfix paper. I used Olive Green for this lesson, but you could use a different color or different brand of paper if you like. Please use sanded pastel paper!
  3. Sketch book and pencil or pen

Extras:

  1. Easel
  2. Baby wipes
  3. An apron

Part I
Follow-Along Demo

Before You Start, a Few Tips on Following Along

  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.

Personal Notes: What I really like about this piece is the active foreground and it’s abstract quality.

Suggested Additional Videos: Distilling & Simplifying, A Little Color Theory.

Part 2
Independent Assignment

Now that we’ve manifested some green, how about some other color? Use the same value arrangement, but use different hues. Be adventurous. What have you got to lose? Use the black and white version of the reference photo to guide you. Want to go even further? Do the same with your own reference; two versions, one faithful to the color in the reference, one using only a black & white photo to guide you to a more unexpected result!

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 Steps (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. It’s well worth the time.
  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 values for each of the 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 (colors) of the same value 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!
Manifesting Green
Download the Lesson PDF

Enjoy “Manifesting Green”!

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 PDF

Skill Builder
Distilling & Simplifying
A Little Color Theory

SUPPLEMENTAL VIDEOS

Lesson 25