A step-by-step Impressionist Acrylic Painting – Part 3
In this Impressionistic landscape series, I am posting a weekly video on my YouTube channel that you can follow along at home.
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How to Paint like Monet – Free video Course |Part 3
This video below shows adding detail to the focal point, bringing more interest to the sky and working the landscape painting to more of a finish.
The next 7 steps
Step 1. Adding a fine line
To start with, I introduce a fine line detail into the house in the centre of the piece. I’m not looking for much detail as we’re trying to keep the feel of the painting nice and loose. I paint a thin line just under the roof so it refines the shape.
The darker line is made with a mix of the Cobalt Violet hue, Ultramarine blue and white.
Step 2. Creating contrast at the focal point
I then swap to the number 10 round synthetic brush to add some darker green trees around the building. To make the Permanent green light darker, I mix in some Ultramarine blue and a touch of the Alizarin crimson.
The video below shows how green can be dulled by mixing in red.
Step 3. Separating the foreground & middle-ground
Using the Cadmium yellow medium, I paint in a crisper horizon line. This helps to separate the foreground and the mid-ground.
The yellow line does two things.
- The straight line is a contrast to the painterly brush marks in the rest of the painting.
- The yellow, because it is directly next to the purple, uses the optical effects of simultaneous contrast to add a new vibrancy to the colour.
Simultaneous contrast in art
Simultaneous contrast is the optical effect that occurs when two colours are placed directly next to each other.
The biggest effect on your colour scheme is when you have two highly saturated complementary colours side by side.
Watch the video below to see the optical effects of simultaneous contrast on yellow.
Look out for the purple at the 1.00-minute mark to see how vibrant it suddenly appears.
Throughout the video, the central yellow square doesn’t change.
When you are mixing colours you have to remember that colour is relative. It changes depending on the colours surrounding it, the light shining on it, the thickness of paint.
These all make a difference to the final result, there isn’t a ‘perfect green for grass’ because every landscape will appear differently, depending on the surrounding colours.
Step 4. Creating more contrast in the building
I now check the tonal contrast of the piece and feel that the side of the house in the sunlight could be lightened a bit more. Using a warm cream, I repaint over the top. This change in contrast helps to give more realism to the building.
Step 5. Using complementary colours
Using red to add interest
Using the Cadmium Red Light, straight from the tube, I add little dots to indicate a tractor and then further dots just to move your eye along the picture.
Again, using the complementary scheme of red and green (notice how each time the red is on top of the green) I can add interest to the focal point in the painting.
Pro tip: Depending on the opacity of the pigment you are using (student grade paints are often less opaque than artist grade) you may need to paint over the yellow. As acrylics dry quickly you can easily build up the vibrancy of a colour. I then begin to bring this yellow colour around the whole of the painting as I did with the turquoise in Lesson 1 of this Impressionist series.
Step 6. Varying the purple
I add a darker purple (made from a mix of Ultramarine Blue & Alizarin Crimson) to balance the darker green we put in earlier.
I also vary the tint of the mixture by adding white and use vertical brushstrokes to bring a different energy to the piece.
Step 7. Adding gestural brush strokes to the sky
I now tidy up the shape of the mountain with the Titanium white to add more contrast to the painting.
Assessing the painting at this stage, the blue of the sky feels like it could handle more movement to balance all the brush marks in the foreground.
Vary the brushstroke as you work and look at your painting from a distance to judge how the colours are sitting together.
The impressionist painting at the end of Part 3.
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Next week, for the final Part 4, we’ll adjust the foreground shapes to give the piece a bit more balance.