Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ned Martin How to / Landscape Painting in Oils- Step by step

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Ned Martin Landscape Painting in Oils Step 1: This my first pass- the under painting.Every painting calls for a customized approach. In this instance, I am drawing in the basic shapes with thin paint and establishing relative values (laying down the darks first). No hard edges. Easy Peasy.

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Ned Martin Landscape Painting in Oils Step 2: Beginning to Lay in textures and relative color.

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Ned Martin Landscape Painting in Oils Step 3: Blocked in leaves in foreground.

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Ned Martin Landscape Painting in Oils Step 4: Up to this point, I have been following a traditional / classic method of oil painting. In the first 3 steps the intent was to: 1.)  draw the objects, 2.) establish relative lights and darks and 3.) establish relative color. --Pretty straight forward stuff.
In this newest step 4 however, I begin to reveal my neurosis when painting in the new layer of the background. My technique quickly veers far from traditional methods. I find myself laying down paint only to break it apart into worm-like shapes and tiny fractals by scratching and scrapping the wet strokes. These kinds of nonsensical marks drove my instructors crazy when I was in school. Despite their grumblings I never managed to change my ways. I don’t know why I scrape and scratch. In part, it’s something about deploring “paint strokes” I’ve learned to embrace insanity long ago. Hey it’s fun to be crazy.
Next, I’ll show you a close up of a small section of the background so you’ll see (from right over my shoulder) the work of a madman.

Ned Martin Landscape Painting in Oils This is a detail shot of part of the background. These weird paint marks will eventually cover the entire surface

Ned Martin Landscape Painting in Oils Step 5: There is a certain point in a painting where I am convinced that I can "pull this off". I'm at this stage now with this painting and simultaneously... the painting begins to "take over". In other words, up to this point, I have been more concerned about technical aspects. Now, I begin sensing and seeing possibilities of where the painting is really heading (in terms of mood for instance). It takes on a life of its own. This is where the magic happens- if you let it.

There is an old argument amongst painters: should you paint what you see or what you know. I say neither. YOU SHOULD PAINT WHAT YOU FEEL.