25 January 2017

Landscape Painting Process...Start to Finish

Happy New Year!!!  I haven't posted in a few months.  Too busy.  But I'm still here and I'm making art.  In 2016 I focused on studying landscape painting and drawing with Deborah Paris online.  I needed another genre to complement my portrait art.  I'm done with classes for a while, but I learned a huge amount, which I hope is apparent from today's post.

"Cuyamaca Pines" is a sort of final exam from my landscape studies, pulling together lessons learned from Deborah and Nature.  This is a place in the local mountains my husband and I hike often.  The deep shadows in the foreground created a feeling of safety and peace I wanted to convey in the painting. That was the concept.

Cuyamaca Pines, 12x16" oil on linen

This painting began as a simple charcoal sketch, from a series done in the field.  Once I had a composition I liked, I worked up the main shapes and values using notan and 4-value studies.

I like this step-wise process...art chunking.  It's exciting to see the concept evolve, and if it's not working at these early stages, I can stop, knowing the effort spent was minimal.  Art is not all about the final painting.

The original charcoal sketch, 6x8"
The 4-value and notan sketches

Below is the progression of the studio painting.  I use standard methods.  Starting with the original charcoal sketch, blow it up to final size and transfer to the canvas.  Re-state the transfer lines in ink.  Begin with a monochrome underpainting, this one in Vasari Shale, to establish values.  While that dries, work through the color harmonies and mix the paint pools.  Finally, apply the paint.

With so much already worked out before putting brush to canvas,  I can focus during the painting stage on areas where I need the most improvement, like brushwork, edges and surface quality.

Cuyamaca Pines progression from upper left

The final painting framed. 


  1. Interesting to see all the stages of this very beautifully painted landscape !!!

    1. Thanks, Art-Traveller. I always enjoy seeing other artist's progressions. Says so much about the thought process.

  2. Lovely painting! Really nice to see you working through the various stages to completion.

    1. Thanks, Jeremy. When I was studying early on, I watched instructors demo complete portraits in 3 hours. No prep, not thumbnails, just launch in and finish in a single session. I thought that's how it was supposed to be done, but I couldn't function like that.

      As I have developed artistically, I realize there are many paths to the top of the mountain. This works for me at the moment. I'll probably be doing something different a year from now.

      Thanks for visiting. Best, Candace

  3. Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed seeing your process. I have started doing tiny pastel drawings in preparation for my landscape paintings.
    Nice painting. (and frame - where did you get it?)

    1. Hi, John. Oooo...I like the pastel thumb idea. Interesting. If I do a color thumb, it's usually on mylar in oil. I'm going to show one in my next post. Glad you enjoyed the progression. A good way to pick up ideas. Btw, the frame is from KingofFrames.com - Randy Higbee's frame shop in Costa Mesa CA. I highly recommend it as a frame source. High quality and good prices. Thanks for your comments.