Impressionistic seascape course
How do you move from small-scale to large-scale with acrylics and still achieve a painterly style?
It was time to break out with the big canvas.
As a student visiting the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, I’d just seen Monet’s monumental Water Lily paintings and I was in awe.
The sheer scale of the pieces with thick painterly brush strokes inspired me to get back to my little studio space at home. I wanted to create impressionistic landscapes and seascapes that still held the qualities of light-fall and realism that I’d seen, but maybe a little bit smaller than 40ft!
And this immersive large-scale painting experience is what many beginner artists want, it feels exciting and well….arty to create something big and expressive.
Grabbing a large decorators brush, making gestural marks on your canvas – feels invigorating, almost like a breakthrough and then…. you start to hear your inner artist voice getting overwhelmed.
You haven’t got a plan, you don’t know what the next step is so you lose you nerve.
More often than not you revert back to a small canvas because it feels safe.
What pitfalls does an artist face when painting big?
When I first started painting large-scale canvases, I had the luxury of free expression, a paint-splattered studio and no-one to please but myself – I had a ball!
But the experience of this much-anticipated freedom when working larger scale actually started to have a negative effect on my creations. I couldn’t seem to get what I wanted on the canvas quick enough.
As the size of the canvas increased, areas I was used to changing with one brushstroke, seemed to take ages. I’d run out of paint, then have to mix some more and spend hours fighting against the quick drying times of acrylics.
I’d press on the easel too strongly and the whole thing would lurch forward and my paint would go flying (note to self – an H-Easel is an excellent investment!)
The paintings either looked great up close to the canvas or great from right across the studio, but getting that balance between the two was hard.
So, what was the key to going from small-scale to large-scale and achieving a landscape that captures the atmosphere of the scene in a painterly style?
Vision? Confidence? Talent?
More often than not, it came down to something far less exciting.
To find the ‘big picture’ you need to go small first
I found that the same 3 key things kept on cropping up in my work:
1. If the paintings tonal values (black, whites and greys) on a small scale didn’t work, the bigger scale painting didn’t work.
2. If I planned a colour harmony before I began, I could be more expressive with my mark making knowing there was an underlying backbone that worked.
3. Spending time getting the drawing laid out was always worth it – even though I was aiming for an impressionistic style.
How to create a large-scale Impressionistic painting in Acrylics
I’ve developed a new painting course inspired by a Venetian Sunset to help guide you through the process of moving from small-scale to large-scale acrylic paintings.
For me as a painter, there is nothing more exciting than the fabulous lighting conditions, amazing architecture and the warm pastel shades of the Venetian skyline. Observing the hidden tones, colour in the shadows and the vibrant reflected colours in the water lends itself to a broken colour Impressionistic style.
The silhouette of the gondola, the warmth of the sun setting behind the Basilica and the dappled light reflecting off the water, allows us to capture the colour and light of a Venetian scene.
What will the Impressionistic Light & the Landscape course cover?
- 1 x large-scale finished painting of a Venice Sunset taking you step-by-step from drawing, right through to the final glazes.
- 3 x small supporting studies to practice your techniques and refine your vision.
- The course is studio based and split into 8 downloadable video lessons, with each lesson made up of separate chapters that follow on sequentially.
- There are reference jpeg images and drawing worksheets to work alongside from, including a mapped out grid for scaling up your drawing, black and white print outs and full materials list.
- With over 4 hours of lessons this course gives you a fab foundation for you to build upon.
Painting with Colour & Light
- An introduction to materials, paints, surfaces, brush-stokes and mark-making.
- Uncovering the colour harmony in Monet’s seascapes.
- Observing how different lighting within a landscape affects the colour temperature of a scene.
Broken Colour Techniques
- How introducing texture onto the canvas enables looser brush handling and broken edges.
- How using large brushes and palette knives add thicker impasto passages.
- Scaling up and the importance of accurate drawing when handling architecture even when painting in an impressionistic style.
Tonal Relationships Working Together
- Practicing new techniques on small tonal posters studies before committing to the larger scale piece to build your confidence.
- Learning how to get rid of unwanted distraction and see colours more accurately.
- Increasing perception with the power of the ‘planes of the landscape’ and how they help avoid distraction.
Blocking In & Colour Mixing
- Laying out the tonal relationships and transforming complicated views into a simple design by shadow blocking in.
- Choosing a limited palette and why using one, saves you endless amounts of painting time.
- Learning to judge colour in isolation to mix harmonious colour strings.
Blending & Using Glazing Medium
- Using large flat brushes and a soft pastel palette to block in our base colours to the sky and sea.
- Smoothing edges and the importance of blending acrylics.
- How to overcome the rapid drying time of acrylics when painting big by using specialist acrylic mediums that ‘open-time’.
- Introducing the rigger brush to add super smooth fine lines for architectural detail.
- Extending the colour palette with brighter pigments t0 increase the saturation and push the hues in the rooftops.
- Thinking abstractly to create impressionistic brush-marks in the water working the tones downwards – to bring together the sky and sea.
Glazing & Details
- The power of glazing to add atmosphere and mood and inject a warmth and glow.
- Adding further details to the architectural elements in the painting using finer brushes.
- Looking at the smaller shapes on the gondola, architecture & clouds.
- Using a palette knife to add texture and an impressionistic flair.
- Refining our colour mixes, checking our drawing and seeing how the painting works together as a whole.
- Adding clean dashes of colour to create the ‘silhouette effect’ bringing the viewers attention to certain parts of the painting.
Digestible lesson content (20-50 mins per lesson)
- Go through each lesson in your own time and in the way you prefer, with smaller studies and challenges throughout the course to keep your larger painting fresh.
How is the Course Delivered?
- 8 Downloadable Step-by-Step Video Lessons – over 4 hours + of video instruction that once downloaded – you have anytime, anywhere, lifetime access.
- A ‘Getting Started & Materials List PDF‘ – which includes your materials list.
- JPEG reference images used throughout the course, including the photo reference I demo with and copies of my line drawings.
Requirements for the Course
- A broadband internet connection – the files sizes for the video lessons are quite large (3.5 GB in total) so can take a while to initially download (depending on your internet speed.) Once downloaded, they are yours to keep forever, watch without buffering or take to the garden and watch away from an internet connection!
- Enough free space on your computer or iPad – the video files are quite large (3.5 GB in total) You can download the files to a separate USB stick.
- A Colour Printer – to print out the reference images.
- Glossy Photo Printer Paper – I use Epson Photo Glossy.
- 30 mins – 2hr per session, You’ll need to be able to dedicate between 30 minutes to 2 hrs for each section, as we’re working a larger scale the painting will take time.
- A love of expresso! – optional but you might need a biscotti or two!
“No one is an artist unless he carries his picture in his head before painting it, and is sure of his method and composition.”
Claude Monet, Artist
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is there a time limit to the course?
No, the course is delivered by downloadable video links, that once downloaded are yours to keep forever. You can watch them as many times as you like and have lifetime access. If you change computer in the future just drop me an email and I’ll send you some fresh links through.
How many times can I watch it?
You can watch them as many times as you like and have lifetime access. If you change computer in the future just drop me an email and I’ll send you some fresh links through.
Are there any image downloads to help me?
Yes, there are reference images in jpegs and drawing worksheets to work alongside from, including a mapped out grid for scaling up your drawing.
Is there a time limit to complete the course?
No, once downloaded the course is yours to keep forever and watch as many times as you like. You have lifetime access to the files and can even download to an iPad (via a free app), multiple devices or USB stick.
If the course subtitled?
What skill level is the Course for?
Beginner to intermediate
Do you cover Plein Air painting techniques?
No, all of the painting demonstrations are studio based. I do however, show demonstrations of sketching on location in Venice, Italy.
Will the painting take much more time than my smaller studies?
Yes, it’s not all tea and biscuits when painting a larger scale for the first time! and there will be some parts during the process that seem to be taking longer than you may have experienced before when painting small.
That’s absolutely normal, for every artist.
Michaelangelo spent four years perched on scaffolding when painting the Sistine Chapel, so a few more hours for this larger scale is to be expected.
Do I need an upright Easel
Ideally, yes, or a very high table top to place your canvas onto. One of the most common mistakes when starting to paint on a larger scale in keeping yourself too close to the painting surface. Physical distance (stepping back and forth) is much easier when standing at an easel.
If you have difficulty standing for long periods, you can still work seated and even tweak the size from 24-inch x 24-inch to 16-inch x 16-inch to make it more comfortable.
Will it cost much more in materials?
Not hugely, I’ve kept the colour palette small and use 8-inch x 6-inch canvas boards for the studies. I also use student grade paint for some of the underpainting.
Will I need more patience?
Yes, when trying anything of the first time there are going to be areas that are frustrating. Just don’t be too hard on yourself, it happens to the greats.
Even Monet had his moments.
Just before 15 of his Water Lilies went to an exhibition in Paris, he was so unhappy with his work, rather than have them on public display, he destroyed them!
I paint with Oils, can this course be applied to Oils?
What about adapting it to OPEN Acrylics?
You could follow along with OPEN acrylics by swapping the first under-painting with standard acrylics and then working with the OPEN paints. Again, when we get to the glazing stages you’d have to wait much longer in-between paint applications and the thicker impasto sections would also take much longer to dry.
I paint with Water-Mixable Oils like Cobra, can the course be adapted to those?
For the initial ground, I’d use acrylics. You could then use water mixable oils but would have to wait longer in-between sections when working on the glazing parts of the piece.
Are there any Courses you would recommend before this course?
- Beginners Acrylic Painting Course – The fundamentals of a classical approach to working with acrylics
- Beginners Urban Sketching Course – Gaining confidence sketching outside
“I’m only about a third of the way through this video course, but already seeing progress in attempting to overcome fear of architecture. So many clever tips to take the “overwhelm” out of sketching buildings and urban settings.”
Previous students experiences of the Venice Course
“Thank you, Will! I’ve downloaded the videos … now off the grab a brew and start painting! I have to let you know that you are simply the best teacher when it comes to your art classes. I can’t find another source of online instruction that gives as much clear, step by step information as you do. Plus you have SO MANY FREE videos! Thank you thank you thank you! This aspiring artist is so grateful for your generosity. I am sure I’m in over my head with this new class but I’m gonna just go for it.”
– Kristin, Venice Light & The Landscape Course
“This is a great course. I especially like how in depth this course is and all of the exercises that you include. I’ve completed the first three videos and just finished spraying fixative on the canvas. I’ve done all my art study on the internet and your courses are by far the best I’ve taken. All the best. Jack”
–Jack, Venice Light & The Landscape Course
“Aloha, Will! Mahalo (Thank you) for your wonderful course. I studied the photos and lessons over and over, watched how your did your paint mixes, used the grid method and transferred my drawings to a 11×14 and 16×20 canvas for the main painting. Except for the W&N pale umber which I purchased, I mixed all of my base colors, substituting for red oxide and violet oxide ( I had yellow oxide) and value mixes. You packed a lot in this art adventure and from your excellent demonstrations and teaching tips, I would recommend your fine course to any serious art student. Thanks to your patient and painstaking teaching, I now have my Italian experience with two beautiful pieces of art! Let me know when we can travel together again!”
–Liz from Blue Hawaii
The Artists Eye
Having studied film and cinematography, I’ve tried to create a video course that will give you the best results, as if I’m in the studio with you.
- Filmed in High-Quality 1080p Full HD Video
- Recorded in pristine 24/96 kHz audio which has been digitally mastered using the latest audio software, so you can hear me clearly (no more audio hiss)
Edited by the Artist
I filmed it, edited it, and coloured it myself (with a little help from Vanessa!) rather than working with a production company.
Artists have different needs than editors so I wanted to cut the course like an artist, showing you exactly what I wanted to see when I was learning. I show all the real-time brushstrokes for the landscapes so you don’t miss a step.
What will you achieve by the end of the course?
When you complete the course you will have:
- A solid understanding of the process when moving to a larger scale
- New painting methods that will help you apply paint with more expression and confidence
- Artworks you can hang (or sell!)
- A new way of looking at your compositions before you begin.
So grab a brew, maybe an espresso or two!
Click the ‘Add To Cart’ button below to get started on the course!
Technical Download Questions
So how does it work?
After clicking ‘Add to Cart’ you will see a page with a Check out with PayPal button.
Click the ‘Check out with PayPal’ even if you don’t have a Paypal account.
Don’t have a Paypal Account?
In most countries, Paypal offers an option for you to pay using Paypal, without opening a Paypal account. Here is a screenshot from UK Paypal.
Once you’ve paid, after a few seconds you’ll be redirected to a download page containing all the video links and Information (see image example below)
Please note: If you are using an iPad you won’t be able to directly download from these links, see iPad download instructions on this page
You will also be emailed your download link as a backup.
If you ever update your computer or can’t track down the downloads just drop me an email and I’ll send through fresh links.
How big are the video files?
To download the course you ideally need a broadband connection as the video files are quite large (Total 3.5 GB) – you do not receive a DVD.
You then have to Download and Save the video tutorials onto your home computer.
This can take up to 20 minutes for each file depending on your internet speed.
(Please Note: If you want to watch the videos using an iPad, you need a free app called ‘Documents’ this will allow you to download and save the files – you can read more about Downloading to an iPad here)
Do you have a DVD version of the course available?
Do I need a special program to watch the videos on my computer?
No, the video files are MP4 ‘s and 95% of computers/laptops will have a media player on them.
If you have earlier software that doesn’t have a media player, you can download one for free.
or VLC media player (also free) VLC Media Player http://www.videolan.org/
To view the PDF files, you need Adobe Reader (also free to download)
How do I download the videos onto my Computer/iPad?
Download Page example
On a P.C
Hover the mouse over the orange ‘Click here’ link and ‘right-click’ your mouse. There will be an option that says ‘Save Link as’
Click this option and a box should come up saying where do you want to say the files (eg, desktop, whatever your files names are called) decide where to save them and then the file should start to download, it might take 10 minutes before it downloads fully (depending on internet speed.)
On a Mac
Click the ‘click here’ link.
It will give you the option to ‘Open with’ or ‘Save file’
You want to click ‘Save as’ and the file will download into your downloads.
Can I download the videos to my iPad?
Firstly, I would download the files onto a desktop or laptop if you have one, just so you have a copy of the files.
Then you have a couple of options, either to transfer via iTunes or to purchase an app on the iPad.
Use a separate app
If you have an iPad you can use a free app called ‘Documents’ to be able to download the video files onto your iPad.
Please note: Without the app, you won’t be able to download and save the videos directly to your iPad. here is a more in-depth tutorial on how to download the lessons to an iPad.
Transferring files via iTunes
If you have a Mac you can:
1. Download the files to your desktop (or find the ones you’ve already saved)
2. Plug in iPad to Mac
3. Open iTunes
4. Drag MP4′s (video files of the course) on the Mac into TV shows or Movies
5. To Play on iPad open the Videos App then look under TV shows or Movies
6. The MP4 video files from the course should play fine.
If you’re on a PC you can download iTunes here and go through the same process.
Can I download onto my Tablet?
Not directly – to download the videos onto your tablet you need to download them to your main computer first and that transfer to your tablet via USB. Here are the instructions from one of my students:
“Here is what I did to get the files onto my Android tablet from a PC.
1. From your link I downloaded the files to my Download folder on my PC. From there I moved them to my Video folder. (which is part of the Libraries folder on Windows 7)
2.I connected my tablet via USB cable to my PC
3.Using Windows Explorer, I copied the files from the PC Video folder, to a folder on my Acer Aconia tablet called Videos.
4. To view the course on my tablet. I click on the App called Multi- media and use the Acer media video app.’
Windows explorer is a graphical file manager in the Windows operating system that displays the contents of Libraries, folders and files. I do not know if this would affect the routine or not, but my tablet is 2 years old and for newer tablets there might be an easier routine.”
Can I download the video files and put them onto my own DVD or USB flash drive to watch on a DVD player/TV?
Yes, you can download the files onto a DVD or USB flash drive.
Downloading to a USB Flash Drive
You can download the files direct to a USB flash drive that will give you portability and extra storage.
Downloading to a DVD
Not all DVD players will playback Mp4 files.
There are a couple of options:
1. DVD playback on another computer:
If you burn the MP4 files onto a DVD and then play the DVD on another computer or laptop it should play without a problem if you have an up to date media player that supports MP4s.
(If you need an up to date media Player you can download one here: VLC media player (also free) VLC Media Player http://www.videolan.org/)
2. DVD playback on a DVD player with a file Converter
It depends on if your DVD player supports MP4 video files.
Many DVD players will say MP4 on the front tray, for example ‘DVD/Audio CD/DivX/MP4/MP3/’
Some older DVD player do not support MP4 because MP4 is a format with different decodes.
If you have an older DVD player you will have to convert the files using free software.
The MP4 to DVD converter from www.freemake.com is a good choice.