Feeling the Sunlight on My Face

Another day, another quick study as I continue learning about mood and atmosphere in landscape oil painting.

Although this is only a quick study, I was very pleased with how it came out. I’ve learned that I enjoy using predominantly warm colors — warm oranges, deep reds, yellows, and greens — and that I can really bring these colors out by pairing them up with cool shadows.

I love the feeling of light I was able to achieve with only a few brushstrokes of cadmium yellow light.

I spent several minutes working on the sky. I began with a warm cerulean blue, then added lighter clouds — not white, but white mixed with a bit of a transparent oxide red. I then created cooler shadows by blending in areas of ivory black.

Sometimes my quick studies leave me gritting my teeth a bit, or rolling my eyes. But sometimes a quick study makes me happy. That’s what this one has done. I’m happy because I do like this painting. I’m happy because even though this was only a very quick painting, it shows promise, I think. Most of all, I like this quick study because it makes me feel something. I can truly feel the light and the shadows. This painting — simple as it is — makes me feel that I’m there, feeling the sunlight on my face, and maybe feeling a slight breeze blowing through the trees.

Yes, I like this quick painting. I hope you like it, too.


    1. Thank you. Most of my “quick studies” are done on canvas paper. I tear a sheet from the pad and tape it down to a drawing board while I work. Sometimes, though, I grab a small canvas panel, usually a 5 x 7 or maybe an 8 x 10, especially if the scene I’m painting is one that I really, really like. The canvas paper is great for practice exercises if I’m working on brushstrokes or doing a lot of “art experiments.”

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      1. I pick up very inexpensive canvas panels in the children’s art sections and use them for a lot of my studies. They’re not good quality, but for practice, they’re just fine! Sometimes I use stretched canvases for landscape painting, but I prefer the panels.

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      2. The first canvases I bought when I started painting a few years ago were stretched canvases. I really didn’t know there were other choices. Once I discovered the canvas panels, I liked them much, much better.

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      3. That was what I disliked about stretched canvases… they don’t have a “firm” feel about them, and as a novice painter, I found that uncomfortable. It doesn’t bother me so much now, but all the same I still prefer the panels.

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