Tip Number 1

This month’s tip is a monochrome painting to help you achieve distance in your painting. The best colours to use would be Ultramarine or any other dark paint. A mixture of Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna works well.

This shows the 4 different strengths, or tones, of paint that we shall be using. The white of the paper is a very important ‘tone’ and will be used in most of your paintings!

If you wish you can lightly draw the outline. It is more fun without drawing first though, there seems to be more life in the brushstrokes. There is no need to put in all the branches, just position the trunk of the tree.

First mix a large quantity of the light tone and then with a clean, wet wash brush make a few random sweeps on the sky area, leaving some areas dry. Then with the light tone put in a few clouds, taking the colour over wet and dry parts of the sky and leaving plenty of white. This makes hard and soft edges, much more interesting than if they are all the same. With the same tone put in the grass area on the left, ignoring the tree trunk!

Add more paint to your light wash until you have a ‘mid’ tone, see Fig. 1. Now paint the distant trees and the ones on the river bank on the right, again ignoring the tree trunk. Keep your strokes light and free and you can add the reflections at this time.

Now in a separate part of your pallet make some really thick, juicy paint, not too much water! Paint the tree trunk and with a finer brush put your branches in. At the base of the tree stroke in some rough grasses and a bit of flat ground, leaving gaps for the lighter tone to show through.

You now have a simple painting showing all 4 of our tonal values.

1 white of the paper,

2 clouds and grass

3 distant trees and river bank

4 tree and rough grasses.

 

This can be practised with different single colours, or in full colour paying attention to the tones.

Enjoy!