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Painting Lesson: Northland Summer

Easy to follow step by step oil painting


What will you learn in this painting lesson video?

Why did I choose this scene?

Pataua is an amazing place. On a summer camping trip we stopped and spent the day in this quiet corner flapping around in the water with the kids and picnicking on the beach. Walking out on the trunk over the sparkling water the beauty of the place took my breath away and I just remember thinking, 'Wow - this is New Zealand right here!' Meaning that if one shimmering jewel of a scene were to sum up New Zealand's beauty, this would be it. Of course we have countless scenes which the same could be said for, but when this one caught my eye I HAD to paint it!

What is aesthetically good about this scene?

It's dramatic. The dark and light shapes are richly organic and really interesting to look at so there's a lot of action but these busy shapes are balanced nicely with large simple areas of color in the water and sky. The rich color is also well balanced by the dark greys found within the tree and shadows. All this adds up to variety which, apart from being the spice of life, is also the basis of all great painting.
Pataua - Photo reference
Pataua - Photo reference
Which parts of the Virtual Art Academy course
are demonstrated in this video?
  Building Block & Unit   Details Link
(Opens in a new window)

- Alla Prima Painting Approach

- The Notan sketch
- Creating an underpainting
- Establishing values
- Blocking in the darks
- Blocking in the lights
- Refining the painting
Learn more at VAA website

- Values
- Color
- Atmospherics
- Water
- Itness

- How to observe color
- Comparing values
- How to mix color
- Atmospheric perspective
- Dark accents
- Vertical color changes in water
- Reflections in water
- The 'Itness' of trees
- Sky apertures
Learn more at VAA website

- Focal Points
- Variety

- Contrast of light and dark
- One thirds
- Active and passive mix
Learn more at VAA website

- Two Value Statement
- Planes of Light & Shade
- Hue Changes on Form

- Light & Shade
- General to specific
- Simplifying complex forms
- Shadow and cast shadow
- Painting the light
- Painting the half tone
- Painting the center light
- Painting the reflected light
- Painting the highlight
- Dark accents and edge planes
- Warm light, cool shadows
- Adding color to the half tones
Learn more at VAA website

- Greys

- Making greys
- Middle value ranges
- Compression of values

Learn more at VAA website

Visual Poetry
- Emphasis

- Contrast of light and dark
- Contrast of warm and cool
- Contrast of brushwork
- Contrast of texture

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- Descriptive
- Focal
- Suggestion
- Edges

- Description of form
- Description of texture
- Description of perspective
- Varying levels of focus & detail
- Selective rendering
- Simulation of detail
- Color spots
- Edges variety
- Lost & found edges
- Edge colors

Learn more at VAA website
What is the Virtual Art Academy Course?

PLEASE NOTE: Barry's written painting courses are NOT provided free with my videos - they are only available from his website and they provide valuable in-depth learning which enhances and expands the teaching found in my videos.

Comprehensive Tuition

Barry John Raybould is a friend of mine who has been painting and teaching for over 20 years. Over this time Barry has developed a practical painting course which I believe is the most complete course available on the internet. It's the type of learning you would hope to receive in the best academic painting institutions, but for a tiny fraction of the cost. I continue to use his course to develop my own painting skills and encourage you to do the same.

Barry's course is NOT video based like mine (although it does contain some video), it's delivered in easily downloadable illustrated documents (pdf). If you combine Barry's course with my videos which demonstrate various parts of Barry's course in action, I think you'll agree (once you've tried it) that you've just found one of the most comprehensive and well structured painting courses on the planet.

Free Painting Lesson Resources

Click image to enlarge. Then you can print it or use it on-screen.
(Opens in a new window).
Photo of Scene The Sketch
Pataua, Northland, New Zealand 'Northland Summer' 10x8" Oil on Board

Painting Materials List

  Oil Paints
Pthalo Blue
Ultramarine Blue
Alizarine Crimson
Cadmium Red
Cadmium Orange
Cadmium Yellow
Titanium White
Classic Painting Medium
Odourless Solvent
Robert Simmons Signet Filbert Size 8
Robert Simmons Signet Filbert Size 6
Bristlon Synthetic Round Size 2

Acrylic Primed Wood Panel 10x8"

To buy all these materials at
in one handy shopping list: CLICK HERE

United States
See his Website >

I would like to compliment you on the overall professionalism in production! Very nice. I also enjoyed, the description of your tools etc. prior to beginning as well as the camera zoom-ins when doing detail brushwork. Another great thing in the video is the quick snapshot recap you did (notan, sketch, dark values, and so on). I really like the new academic approach to your videos.


painting dvd
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guarantee if you're unhappy with them for any reason. If you watch the dvd and didn't think it was worth the money just let me know and I'll give you a full refund - absolutely no problem.
United States
See his Website >

Richard your new lesson has taught me the power of suggestive brush strokes. It is also a wonderful study of how structure and strong dimensional foreground compliments depth. You're a great artist and I am honored to be your student.


Richard Robinson
Richard Robinson
Creator of
Mastering Paint
I'm sure you'll get a lot out of this lesson since I've packed so much into it. It's got plenty for beginners and even a few reminders for seasoned veterans. Remember it's easy to get a full refund if you're not completely satistfied with your lesson. All the best with your painting adventures!


painting dvd

"I joined the VAA at the suggestion of New Zealand artist Richard Robinson, whose video/internet-based courses I'd recently enrolled in. I have wanted to take a comprehensive art course for years but working full-time as well as the lack of courses in my area made this an impossibility. Although I had looked into various art courses offered via the internet they were limited in their offerings the exception of Richard Robinsons' courses.

As a "beginner" I required all of the basics such as drawing, notan, values, etc. No online courses I found until the VAA offered this. Richard's recommendation played a huge factor in my decision to enroll in the VAA. As we are all aware there are many dubious offerings on the internet. The recommendation from such a trusted source made the decision easy. The incredibly affordable cost of the VAA course was also a huge factor in my decision.

I am so grateful to be a member/student of the VAA, as well as to Richard Robinson, and of course to Barry. The courses are comprehensive without being onerous, easy to understand, and to date the support and encouragement I have received from the other students and faculty of the VAA has been incredible. The impossible now seems possible thanks to Barry of VAA and Richard Robinson. Imagine – tuition from two such incredible artists!! Who would have thought? Thank you. Warmest regards and deepest gratitude, Donna, Canada."


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