Prior to his passing, Master artist Brian Cook left behind four painting projects.
I had been working with Brian on these four painting projects over a period of months getting ready to film him for four DVD’s. The plan was to have Brian come to my Noosa Studio. Unfortunately, Brian passed away before we had a chance to film his unique approach to painting.
He did leave behind though the step-by-step photos of the four painting projects.
Recently I decided to film the painting projects using the knowledge I had of Brian’s techniques having attended a number of his workshops.
In chatting with Rony Bryant, owner of the fabulous Wisteria Cottage Fine Art Studio, we decided to also teach the four projects in a series of one-day workshops. The first of these workshops is presented here.
This headland seascape is a classic Brian Cook style project.
Here are the step-by-step photos and explanations from the workshop taught at Wisteria Cottage Fine Art Studio recently.
When I first went to a Brian Cook workshop I was surprised at how similar his approach was to the Moore Method of Painting that we teach here at the Learn To Paint Academy.
The one notable difference is that Brian would often skip the drawing step. In the Moore Method of Painting, we start with a rough of the big shapes as you can see in the above picture. Identifying the half dozen or so big shapes and correctly placing them on the canvas enables us to ensure we are starting with the right composition.
As you can see in the above photo the big shapes are the main headland, water area, sand area, and the two rocky shelves.
The second step in the Moore Method of Painting is to block in starting with the darks. You can see in the above photo that I have warmed up the dark tone with a bit more red in it to bring it forward. The dark tone is achieved by mixing Ultramarine Blue with Burnt Sienna. Alternatively, you can mix the three primaries together. Getting the dark tones down helps to bring the composition into a bit more focus.
We continue the block in by first getting in a warm tone for the underpainting of the sand. This is just a mix of Alizarin Crimson and Yellow Ochre. It’s painted thinly almost like a stain and mostly won’t be seen when we paint the sand color over the top.
The sky is also blocked in at this stage. It’s just Ultramarine Blue with Titanium White. At this point you can use the sky colour to re-shape the headland if required.
We finish off the block in by getting the water in. At the horizon line, it is mostly Ultramarine Blue and Titanium White. Notice it is very close in value to the lower sky value. I have blurred the edge so that it doesn’t pull the eye there.
As the water comes close to the foreground of the painting I am adding in Lemon Yellow into the mix. I have left the brush marks in to give a feel of movement to the water.
Watching Brian paint in water like this I noticed he would use the Lemon Yellow (or Cadmium Yellow light) to not only shift the tone to the yellow-green side but also to lighten off the mix.
At this point, the end of step two of the Moore Method of Painting, it is going to look blocky, hence the name 🙂
Now we move into step three which is all about refining the painting and bringing it to a finish.
I start with the cloud. Brian would use his palette knife loaded with pure white. He would start at the top of the cloud with the pure white, and then work the knife down to form the body of the cloud. As he worked the palette knife down the white would mix with the wet paint of the sky. This would then change the tone and give it a shadow effect.
The foliage is added over the headland using the palette knife. It is a combination of different greens. Some a little darker and cooler in tone, and some are warmer and lighter.
Next, the sand is painted in using Yellow Ochre and Titanium white. It is applied with the palette knife. You can see the thick texture. I softened it out in parts with a brush later on.
The palette knife is also used to apply the browns to the rocks. It’s just a mix of Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, and a little Burnt Sienna.
The white water is also applied with the palette knife and is just pure Titanium White. Brian would leave some parts of the white water bright to catch your eye. Other areas he would push into the wet under paint which would soften it back in.
A few figures are added to the beach. Brian would use his palette knife to add figures. In this case, I opted for a script liner brush.
I was happy with the end result as a demo painting and interpretation of Brian’s painting.
More pleasing for me though was the great result our students got at the workshop. I think everyone who attended the workshop enjoyed the opportunity to re-visit Brian’s painting approach one more time.
Above are the last four painting projects that Brian and I were working on prior to his passing. As we never got a chance to film them with Brian I decided to film them based on my understanding of Brian’s approach to painting.
For a limited time, only you can get access to these four painting projects and learn Brian’s unique but effective method of painting for yourself. Right now you can register for the new course “Brian Cook – The Last Four Projects” for just $67 USD:
We are releasing these four painting projects and making them available to everyone for a limited time as we know that not everyone can attend one of the workshops.
So for a limited time, you can access these four projects of Brian’s using the above registration link. After that, they will only be available for full members of the Learn To Paint Academy.
Here are a few more photos from the workshop:
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