Inspired by Autumn

I am loving my December tonalism project. Yep, that little project where I’m taking inspiration from a few favorite artists and creating oil paintings on index cards. As crazy as it sounds, it is really a lot of fun.

The purpose of the project is not to re-create paintings, but to learn from them, to take the basic ideas, study the compositions, explore the various elements of the style, and then to use what I’ve learned to paint my own landscape scene.

Working on a 3 x 5 card — as mentioned previously, I’m using a numbered set of manila dividers for the project — is challenging in itself. Everything must be scaled down. There’s little room for mistakes or happy accidents to happen.

My first painting was inspired by “Autumn”, by George Inness. You can see his painting here.

Because my index card isn’t proportionally the same as the canvas he worked on, my composition is similar but different. Again, the point isn’t to copy a work but to create a painting of my own with similar composition, similar colors, and similar themes. In that, I think I succeeded with my little oil painting.

I loved the subtle effects I was able to create in the sky, and I really like the fact that I was able to show some depth — even on a 3 x 5 painting.

I’m very pleased with the background trees, and with the different planes in the mid-ground.

All in all, I was happy with this first painting. I’m looking forward to learning more each day as I make my way through 31 “index card” oil paintings.

So what did I learn today?

  • Even small gradations in color can make a big difference in adding depth and dimension.
  • A limited palette helps give a painting a more unified look.
  • With practice, I’m getting better at painting thin, fine lines.
  • I’m becoming more aware of how to use light and shadow.

Yes, I like it. I hope you do, too.


  1. It’s beautiful. Also, working on 3 x 5 index cards or something similar in size seems like it could also be a good way to try out an idea, before expanding it to a ‘fuller’ canvas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes, exactly! With my index card project yesterday, I actually painted the scene twice — on my 3 x 5 index card, and then on a slightly larger 5 x 7 page in an art journal. It is interesting to take the same idea and re-paint it in different formats, and I look forward to taking all that I’m learning and applying the principles to my “larger” landscape paintings.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the color palette you used for this! Definitely gives off autumnal feels. I’m excited to see what else you come up with for this series 🙂


  3. Autumn is the most visual season for me. Love winter but autumn is more photogenic ! LOL, I’m not supposed to say this! Interesting how you are able to make your own interpretation of paintings from known artists.
    Ant yes, yours are small paintings but great art!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “The blazing colors of Antumn inspire the Fall-of-the-year
    to be more beautiful than the other three seasons
    for Nature’s trillion reasons as Life’s greatest gift by God.”

    _-Van Prince

    *Thanks for your following*

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 I love having fun with visual art, colors, and with words, and music! Are you starting a blog? If so, I’ll be happy to follow and see what you do 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, I see it now. It’s showing up as “Site Title” without an actual blog name. I’m not finding anywhere to “follow” — I’ll keep looking. 🙂 Thanks.


      3. I am a man, the name of my Domaine (blog) is mildredprincewelch, which is my mother;s name that I use to honor her!!! My name is Van Prince!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I think you have captured much that is appealing in Inness’ work. I am not a painter so tonalism, if that concept had occurred to me, would be in my photography. I am, however, a great fan of the Hudson River School, Albert Bierstadt in particular, so was pleased to see you taking this work to heart in your practice.
    Thank you for following my blog. I’ll look forward to more of your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I am definitely a fan of Bierstadt and the Hudson River School of artists. It was their landscapes that inspired me to begin learning to paint. Thank you, too, for the kind words on my little landscape painting.

      Liked by 1 person

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