Demonstration: Landscape on a Palette continued...

[7] Now that the surface is covered with everything in relative position, I can focus on bringing the painting to the next layer. From there I will finish the piece.

In this image you can see particular work done to further build the distant land masses, and treed islands in the middle-ground, along with adding a hint of the Niagara Falls (far lower right). Without this, the final mist on lower and upper left will not make sense. I need to tell the viewer what is creating the mist. I also worked on the water as compared to the last photo.

Additional work was done on the sun and it's reflection too. The sun had to be handled carefully. It was a cool yellowish white surrounded by heavy deep orange. I did not use straight white on the sun at all or it would look artificial. Therefore a mix of white, Cad Yellow Light was the base with a touch of Cad Yellow Med around the perimiter. I left the edges around the sun relatively soft otherwise it would look like a hole or pasted onto the surface.

Detail Photos:

[8] Moving to the bottom, upper and lower left, I further develop the mist by first laying the darkest-dark blue-violet building upward. I faintly add the sunlight hitting the top parts of the mist. I also heightened the value of the top sky to a blue-gray-green and worked more intense colors around the sun. This will be toned-down a bit later.

[9] Final details. Working around the painting, I balanced the colors, temperatures and values to unify the whole piece. Also handled was the mist. Can't overwork clouds or mist. I used a tiny bit of translucent glazing over the finest mist and re-emphasized the small indication of the top of the water falls in the lower right.

The sun too, had to be handled carefully so as not to look "cute" or contrived. In keeping with the sun 's position, I moved it's reflections on the water to the left a little as it was not straight down like it should be.

Around the middle-ground, treetops had to look more natural and not too hard-edged.

Actually, the toughest area was the sky. It had rapid vertical color shifts, although subtle, from top down to horizon. Going from a cool blue-green-gray at the top into muted orange (which can turn green if not careful) and into the cool lavender-gray at the horizon. I varied my brush stroke direction so it did not appear like a different painting technique from the rest of the piece.

Once fully dried, I used a satin acrylic varnish using a sponge brush, moving in different directions to add depth and textural difference. After a second coat, the piece was complete!

You can notice from the final detail photos that this painting does not have much detail — simply an impression of this sunrise.

Detail Photos:

Hope you enjoyed this demonstration on a unique "canvas"!


< Back

1 | 2 | 3

Johnson is an award-winning artist and instructor with over 30 years experience and was Founding Editor of Plein Air Magazine (now Fine Art Connisseur. See all her current and archived sold works at
©1995-2009 L. Diane Johnson