In this step by step painting demonstration I will walk you through the process of painting this scene of 1770 Beach using the Moore Method of Painting.
The painting demonstration was one I did recently for a group in a three day workshop from my Noosa Studio.
The photo itself is a great little seascape scene. Its easy enough for beginner to intermediate artists to have a go at. Its simple in terms of the main shapes in it, but still has enough interest points to make it a fun painting project to try.
First of lets look at the materials used starting with colours:
I used water mixable oils and as you can see worked with a simple palette.
Note – You can follow the same process with Acrylics, traditional oils, and Gouache for this project.
The painting surface used was a MDF board of 10 x 16″ and prepared with two coats of Gesso.
For brushes I used a couple of Flat Brushes and a Palette Knife.
Before we get started let me briefly tell you about the Moore Method of Painting.
The Moore Method of Painting is the primary method we teach at the Learn To Paint Academy.
Our approach is all about simplifying things right down into their most basic elements. From experience I have found too many beginner to intermediate artists overcomplicate things to much and this is where they come unstuck.
Take colour mixing as an example. It is a fundamental skill of good painting knowing how to mix the right colours effectively. Most beginners however have no real idea on how to mix secondary or tertiary colours from the basic primary colours. Instead they go and buy lots of colours from the art supply store.
The problem is when you start to mix these already mixed colours you quickly wind up with mud.
So the Moore Method of Painting is all about simplifying down. Our motto is:
This approach of simplifying things right down to the basics, and learning the fundamentals of good painting, has proven to be very successful for so many of our students. To date more than 70,000 students online have learnt to paint with the Moore Method of Painting and hundreds in one day workshops.
Let us now look at the first step in the Moore Method of Painting:
Our starting point is always to identify and then draw in loosely the big shapes:
As you can see in the photo above I have mapped in the big shapes.
There are four main big shapes in the photo reference. They are the sky, the headland, the water, and the sand. You could argue that the rocks are five and six. At most then we have six big shapes.
At this stage we are completely ignoring the details like the boats.
I use a loose mix of Ultramarine Blue & Alizarin Crimson for the drawing and a small flat brush.
Don’t worry too much about getting a super tight and detailed drawing. We just want to loosely place our big shapes on our painting surface to ensure we have a solid composition.
Now on to step two of the Moore Method of Painting:
This step is all about setting up our values patterns so we can achieve a sense of depth in our painting.
This step is all about setting up the Values in the painting. We work from our darkest darks to our lights blocking them in.
Values are what I would consider an absolute fundamental of good painting. For a deeper understanding of values check out the Fundamentals Program
Our rocks are our darkest values. We mix up our dark with Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson and a little Yellow Ochre.
Next we block in the headland shadow tone as you can see above.
The key here is to start to use the principles of Aerial Perspective to create a sense of depth and atmosphere.
So we use the dark from the rocks and we lighten the value (by adding some Titanium White) and cool its temperature down.
The next darkest element is the darks in the sand:
As you can see above the sand is blocked in with a darkish orange tone.
One of the key principles of Aerial Perspective is understanding how to use colour temperature. Here is a principle to always keep in mind … Warm colours come forward and Cool colours go back. In terms of creating depth this knowledge is invaluable. Here we have the warm sand tone, and the cool headland tone, which will add depth automatically.
Let’s now work on the Sky:
As you can see above I have added in some shadow tones for the clouds, and then worked around these with some Ultramarine Blue which I greyed back a bit, and mixed it with Titanium White.
The last stage of our block in is to get the water in:
The water is a simple combination of Ultramarine Blue + Titanium White.
As the water gets closer to the foreshore I am adding into it a little of the Cadmium Yellow Light.
Notice how I have blurred the edges between the water and the sand area.
That completes the second step of the Moore Method of Painting. Let us now go on to the third step:
At this stage I would usually take a bit of a break for at least thirty minutes to give the paint time to just dry off a little.
Our goal in the third step is to really bring the painting to life. We are going to add our middle values, and highlight values, add in any details and finishing touches we need.
As you can see above I have added a lighter tone for the sand over the darker orange tone.
To do this I have used Yellow Ochre and Titanium White. The paint has been applied quit liberally with a palette knife to create a little texture and interest.
On the rocks I have used more of a brown tone to indicate some form and shape to them.
Next I moved on to the headland foliage:
The headland foliage is just a mix of Ultramarine Blue & Yellow Ochre with some Titanium White.
Notice we are not painting trees, or leaves, or branches. Its just getting a basic colour down to represent, or hint at, the tops of the foliage catching light.
Important point is to make sure you leave enough of the shadow tone coming through as I have done.
You can really get a sense of the depth at atmosphere developing in this now.
The final step is to add in just a few details. Notice that the details come right at the end.
The success or failure of your painting is all to do with the fundamentals of good painting … namely Composition, Values, Colour, Brushwork, Edges and so on. 90% of the success or failure of your painting will fall within these fundamentals areas.
No amount of detail at the end will fix a painting that is failing in the fundamentals.
As you can see above I have added in a few marks to indicate boats. You don’t need to overly detail these just indicate them.
With a palette knife I have added in some white foam where the water meets the sand and around the rocks.
All up the demonstration took about thirty minutes of painting time. The students in the workshop who followed the steps closely all did terrific versions of it. Give it a try yourself.
This is a fun painting project to have a go at.
Watch the video above, follow the steps as outlined, and I am confident you will produce a terrific version of this painting.
When you do post a photo of your version in the comments below.
Also leave a comment and tell us what you think of this step by step painting project, or ask any questions you may have.
Note – If you feel you struggle with any aspect of this painting project then the issue is most likely one or more of the fundamentals. I suggest clicking the link below and watching the video on the Fundamentals Program
Please feel free to share this article with your friends and other artists you think might benefit from it.
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