In this demo I paint from life the Beavertail Lighthouse located in Jamestown RI. For those that don’t know, Jamestown is a relatively small island between North Kingstown and Newport. With shoreline all around there are many beautiful vistas to paint. The lighthouse is one that many not only paint but also visit.
I always start my paintings with a quick compositional sketch using yellow ochre and white. You may note my viewfinder that comes in handy to isolate a composition in the landscape. As I have demonstrated before, I move around the painting putting in starting color “notes” as an underpainting in effort to describe the atmospheric effects of the day. The day was overcast with a sunny haze shining through. It makes for some beautiful colors! Painting from life is necessary to train the eye to the subtleties that exist in nature that only the naked eye can see. From there you can take the trained eye to use your study and/or photograph to paint in the studio. Once I have satisfactory starting notes, I start to modify those colors bring the colors to a more “local” color state all the while not completely obliterating the start note in each area. “LOCAL” meaning the blues for sky or green for grass.
NOTE: With watercolors a bit more planning is involved as far as leaving lights and whites open since you can’t paint them in over darks but a layering of appropriate colors in the value needed in an area that depicts the light is where you would go. Overall the principles in depicting color applies with a little more planning.
You can finish a painting completely on site or do what I did and just keep it a study that’s not completely finished but helps me remember what my naked eye saw. I chose to take my study to the studio because in the studio I like to put my own spin on what the final outcome will be. We are always works in progress. We will always find new ways to tell our story in paint. You may love color as I do and this method helps whether you choose to go for the more photo realistic look or a completely loose nondescript look.
A course on How To See The Color Of Light is on the way. In the meantime take a look at this video.
Have You Seen My How To Paint A Wave Step By Step? If Not Get The Free Tutorial Here