Thursday, May 1, 2014

Step by Step Landscape in Acrylic - August Afternoon

My main genre is still life, however I really enjoy mixing in a landscape or an architectural painting, just to loosen up a bit. This image is the entrance to the old farm on Hornby Island, British Columbia. It's a beautiful spot. Every time I visit Hornby I photograph the entrance to the farm. There's something so peaceful about it, and the road leading in makes me want to follow it.

I started by cropping the image for compositional purposes. I wanted the two trees to fall at the 'law of thirds' intersection. For those of you who may not know, if you divide your canvas into thirds horizontally and vertically, the intersection of the lines in four places, offer good locations to position the focal point.

Using Transparent Red Iron Oxide, I warmly coloured the ground on the canvas, and to blocked in the basic shapes. A warm red tone is a nice counterbalance to the greens in the trees. 

I started to block in the colour in each shape and to develop the foreground a bit. The darker shade area in the foreground and the light of the sky, helped to gauge the values of the rest of the painting.

I continued developing the painting adding a bit more red tone with burnt sienna mixed with some napthol red, creating branches in the trees. I removed the barn because it was distracting from the focal point.

I broke up the solid tree branch shapes with more variety in value and colour,  strengthened the colour of the sky, and cooled down and lightened the background trees so they moved back in space. The foreground was developed a bit more as well. I used acrylic medium to blend the grass shapes and added some more darks.

The name chosen for this painting is August Afternoon, and I felt the colour of the field wasn't reflecting the impression of a hot summer afternoon. I used glazing fluid and glazed a warm golden colour of hanza yellow deep broken with a bit of ultramarine and alizarin crimson. I added some grass in the field, and developed some lights in the trees to finish it off. 

On a hot August afternoon the entrance to the farm is so still and peaceful. You can hear a few crickets and the breeze moving the branches and it's all about sun and shade. Truly idyllic.

August Afternoon   16 x 16  Acrylic  $650



  1. What a treat seeing the progression in this beautiful piece, Claire!!! I LOVE the yellow/greens in the grass. A beautiful scene!!! I can hear the crickets as well!!

  2. Thanks Hilda! I don't often think to photograph in progress, so it was kind of fun to show this step by step. Glad you like it!