Start an Oil Painting: Blocking in Bold and Basic

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As we train ourselves to simplify our palette and values in a painting, we need to see shapes in simple identifiable silhouettes or blocks. By massing in the main mid-value¬†shapes and keeping them linked we can lay out a foundation to build upon. Paint the big obvious shapes first in flat masses. Once this is established we can progress to the lighter and darker values in smaller shapes and detail. It doesn’t take much to describe the essence of objects ie: a few brief upward strokes for grass strategically placed, not over the entire area. Let the less painted areas describe themselves and leave your imagination to fill in the blanks. This makes for more intriguing passages and a free looseness as opposed to over-worked and fussed with.
When color in a piece is intense and brilliant, such as this autumn scene, it is best to keep it fresh and untouched in order not to neutralize its hue. Lay the bright colors down first and paint around them to keep them bright. Where the bright areas are too intense we can lay milky washes on top, thus quieting them down and slightly pushing them back.
All the smaller shapes come in the final stages including fine lines and highlights that emphasize the light source.

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