Most of my early paintings were concerned with capturing the appearance of a subject just as it appeared. I consider that my 'learning how things work' phase. It was all about copying the photo just as it was, but gradually building an understanding of how light and form combine to produce this planet full of wonders we call home.
Even while painting in that studious fashion, I was always drawn to the more expressive painters who seemed to throw caution to the wind and created their own vision of a scene on the canvas, producing what might be considered a poem about the place rather than a careful description. That to me seemed like a worthy goal.
In this lesson I take students through the process of creating just such a painting, with particular emphasis on colour, brushwork and edges.
Take two by Maureen Kerr
Hey great work Maureen. Lots of vibrant colour, expressive brushwork and a variety of shapes, avoiding pattern-making. Nothing I would change here. Good job.
Passion beach, acrylic, canvas, 35 cm x 35 cm by Elena Sokolova
Really nice work Elena. Totally avoided muddy colour, and great variety of texture from thin washes to chunky impasto and good contrast of large and small shape using a variety of brushes. That's going to look great on the wall.
Gull heaven… “where the crawdads sing” by Marie-France L’Ecuyer, 12 x 12, Acrylics
Oooh, that's beautiful work Marie! You really went to town with texture in this one and pushed it further into abstraction. Great to see. Wouldn't change a thing.
German Version by Anne-Dore Leisering
Good job Anne-Dore! Nothing I'd change here. The heavily textured canvas is working to soften the edges of your brushwork creating a softer feel overall, and a sensation of the blurred effects of wind through the grasses. Nice!
Francis Beach Half Moon Bay CA by Claudia Morgan
Some beautiful work in here Claudia, especially in the cloud - deliciously painterly and rich with complex colour. I'd like to see more of that treatment in the foreground. Just looks like you ran out of steam there.
Passion Beach acrylic by Evelyn Tuhi-Herewini
Nice to see this different soft-edged scumbling effect, Evelyn. I feel that the grasses could do with more impasto paintwork in the mid values to better match the upper half of the painting. Make sure the bases of your hills are flat as they seem to be angling up towards the right.
Paradise Beach Redux by Steven Rowell
Really interesting approach Steven. Love the power in the brushwork and the intensity of colour contrast and value contrast. The spacing and size of your highlights in the foreground is conspicuously similar, hinting at manmade structure. Adding more variety there will give a more natural feel.
Paint this expressive beach scene with ease.
We have a beautiful evening here at the start of summer on Ruakaka Beach in New Zealand. I’m going to show you how I translate this scene with a passionate vibrant style.
I’ll be teaching you about designing for a large light effect, how to underpaint with acrylics for more vibrancy, how to explore expressive brushwork, the importance of undermixing your paint on the palette, how to use lost and found edges to take your painting to the next level, and lots more.
Follow along step by step using the resource photos or use the techniques to create something more your own.