Including a Structure “The Post Office”

I am in the studio this morning but yesterday, I was out plein air painting. It was a beautiful sunny bright day here in Portland – kind of rare for this time of the year and we’re back to the same old pattern of weather this week. So I seized the opportunity yesterday and grabbed my oil paints and went to a spot that I have been hankering to get to; our local post office in downtown Milwaukee, Oregon.

I love to paint in plein air with oils. It’s pretty challenging for me and I tend to head there when I’m grabbing my plein air stuff. I really liked the results of what I did yesterday so I thought it would be interesting to recreate that piece in pastel.

I’m going to talk about the oil painting a little bit and how I’m going to approach the pastel version.

This is a two-part lesson. First a Follow-Along Demo. Follow along at your own pace but try to push yourself to speed up a bit. I don’t want you to get stuck in one spot. Try to build the whole piece. I highly recommend going through the whole process of creating your pieces. Don’t skip the thumbnails!

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 to advanced painters.
What’s it’s About – Follow along session of the post office in downtown Milwaukiee, Oregon
Set a Personal Focus – Try to focus on just a couple aspects of the painting. Don’t worry about the composition too much.
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. I used a White Pastelmat for this lesson
  3. Bristol brush
  4. Watercolors for under-painting
  5. Sketchbook for thumbnails

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!!

Part 2
Independent Assignment

Do another version from your own reference.  This might be an opportunity for a photo expedition depending on the time of year or your location. Maybe get to a spot that you’ve been meaning to paint for a while or try something really different or unexpected.

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 – because you’re taking lessons from me, you’re eligible for 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 any 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!
Plein Air Oil Recreation in Pastel
Download the Lesson PDF

Enjoy Including a Structure “The Post Office”!

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Ctrl-Click (MAC) and choose “Save File As”
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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