In this color mixing and layering landscape painting tutorial, I will show you how I build a classical-style landscape painting in 5 steps. I will share a few tips on color mixing and how to build up layers to achieve vibrance and harmony in a landscape painting.
Step 1: Toning the Canvas
The first thing I do is prepare the surface with a colored ground. For this, I am going to use the colors of Burnt Sienna and Olive Green Earth to create a warm brown. I generously dilute the paint with solvent and apply the paint very thinly and translucently so that the white of the canvas still glows through this layer. This light wash will create inner warmth to the entire painting.
Step 2: Sketch and Underpainting
After the toned ground is touch dry, I start sketching in my drawing using a No 2/0 pointed round bristle brush. Once I am happy with the composition, I use a long filbert bristle brush and create light washes for the shadow areas using the same colors of Burnt Sienna and Olive Green Earth. The idea behind this “warm” underpainting is that the subsequent layers of cooler greens and blues in the foliage and sky will react with the “warm undertones” and give “vibrance” and “harmony” to the painting.
Step 3: First Painting (Blocking-in Stage)
After the underpainting is touch dry, I start applying my layers of color. The purpose of the “first painting” or “blocking-in” stage is to lay down the general colors, values and create a pleasing and harmonious color scheme without having to worry about the details and highlights. In this stage I keep my values compressed and I use low chroma colors and mixtures.
Step 4: Second Painting (Building up layers)
After the blocking in stage is complete, I start to progressively build up the layers to give my shapes form. I mix my colors with more saturation and I begin to add little shifts of broken color here and there to give the elements depth and dimmension.
Step 5: Final Details and Highlights
I finish off the painting by adding my final details including individual leaves and blades of grass. I add some highlights with white, a little Naples Yellow and Yellow Ochre.
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