This is Part 2 of Sierra Splendor, a Landscape Painting Demonstration by Mike Callahan.
Sierra Splendor Landscape Painting Demonstration Continued
31.) With my thin underpainting in place, I can now begin to paint the trees that cover it
Nationally recognized, award winning artist Mike Callahan is a fourth generation Nevada native who counts himself privileged to grow up in what he believes to be one of the most beautiful places on earth, the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains near Reno, Nevada where he still lives today. While he has been painting since childhood, he has only been painting in earnest for about the last 5 or 6 years.
Says Mike, “The topography of this area is simply phenomenal; one can go from the high desert to mountainous alpine settings in less than an hour. It is this beautiful and varied landscape that ends up being the subject for a vast majority of my paintings.”
However, if you look through the paintings on Mike’s website, you will quickly see that the Sierra landscape isn’t the only subject Mike typically paints. He also enjoys painting Western themes as well as figurative and portraits.
One of the biggest challenges for artists just starting out with oil painting is mixing colors. Color is a powerful tool. If handled improperly, things can become quite messy. Improperly mixed colors lead to muddy or unbalanced paintings. The good news is, with practice, you will become more skilled at mastering color in your oil paintings. I have collected a number of color mixing tutorials below including links to articles, videos and books. I hope you find these oil painting color mixing resources helpful.
How to Mix Colors for Oil Paints
Edgar Degas painted from photos:
Photos were a tool in his paintings, drawings and sculpture. Degas’ photographs had the look of his paintings. His paintings were based on his photographs.
Students ask me if it is proper to use photos:
Visual art is a language — a means of communication. As an artist, I realize that something is communicated through my work each time it is viewed whether it’s what I want to communicate, or something entirely different that is brought to the experience by the viewer. But as I communicate using this visual language through images of people, images of landscapes, and sometimes images that combine the two, I hope to relate to others the beauty of God’s creation and that through it, I believe he communicates with us. I feel that it is my responsibility to help remind others of the importance of visual art and that it can be admired, embraced, enjoyed and understood.
My interest in making artwork that portrays people stems from my intrigue with people’s ability to create connections between each other. I have long enjoyed creating images of people whether it be a portrait, a child or a woman in a tranquil landscape. I believe that people can easily relate on a personal level to images of other people. And it seems like everyone can relate to an image of a landscape that reminds them of a favorite place. When I work outdoors — standing at my easel with the landscape laid out before me — I feel a connection to the scene that I’m painting. And each time, I feel like I see more beauty in the world than I did the time before.
In order to capture these connections and relate them to the viewer, I often choose a color scheme that is simple and harmonious, which makes my paintings sometimes appear to have one overall dominant color. This allows me to express my connection with each work of art I create, and allows the viewer to experience a direct connection back to the me as the artist. I also experience this connection while viewing favorite works by other artists. They transport me to another world — one of exciting color, texture and emotion that can lift my spirit and renew my passion as an artist. I believe that you too can liberate your senses through the wonder of art and discover that it speaks to you. It only takes a few moments to begin to understand the language, and as you learn, it will become even more meaningful.
In this oil painting video lesson for beginners, artist Wilson Bickford demonstrates how to paint leaf trees using a 1 inch foliage brush. Starting with a canvas that has been pre-painted with a blue sky, Wilson applies a dark green foliage made up of Sap Green, Ultramarine Blue and just a bit of Burnt Sienna to dull and darken the mixture.
Wilson states that the Burnt Sienna takes some of the “Greeniness” out of the green, which can make the tree look unnatural. After the first application of dark green paint, Wilson then demonstrates how to apply highlights to the tree. For the highlights he uses a mixture of Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow and a touch of Sap Green to create a light and bright mixture that he dabs over the darker color. These oil painting techniques that Wilson Demonstrates in this video are very reminiscent of Bob Ross Painting Techniques, of which I am a big fan. Enjoy the video!