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At a recent adult art class, a student seemed somewhat intimidated by the idea of attempting a landscape. She was looking at a completed work of mine, and felt she could never achieve a complex finished work. Ironically she had been working across the table from another student who was doing just that- creating a watercolor painting from initial sketch to background sky and mountains, now working toward the middle ground road and shrubbery.

I pointed this process out to the student, saying- you have to take it Step by Step.

That is the essence of artwork, and no mistake, it is work!


Trail by Pennypack Creek

First the idea must occur, inspired by a beautiful sight you see or imagine. Or by the way the light falls through a window onto a chance color grouping in the room, by the way it plays on the water of a stream. By a vivid dream you have had, or by the yearning to convey an emotion or concept.

Then perhaps a period of mental planning, emotional preparation, free flowing thoughts and visions of the work.

Sketching may follow, research of the subject, use of a person as a model for position, or photography of the subject.


in this image I have sketched, then applied masking fluid to preserve white ares in the painting.

Now, ready for the actual work, out comes the paper and something to sketch it, pencil, chalk, or brush. And sketch worked out, the part of the composition furthest back, the background, is then painted.




Then the middle ground. Then the foreground. Then the adjustments, fine tuning. Perhaps another layer glazed onto a color area, a dark accent, highlight or stronger detailing.


You step away from the work periodically in order to see how the overall painting is evolving. This also allows for a more realistic viewing of the work, as most art is viewed from across the room, not 12 inches away from it!

Is it done? Give yourself a little rest, some time to regain your objectivity. Turn it toward the wall, look again tomorrow. Sometimes I will gaze it the work from across the room, then write on the backing next to it my thoughts about what needs to be done as they occur to me.

Or ask a trusted friend or family member. And listen to what they say; untrained or professional, everyone knows what looks right to them. If you agree, write it down.

Then make final adjustments to satisfy yourself.


Trail by Pennypack Creek

Step by step, That is how it is done.

To all- I hope that your Holiday time is a very wonderful one for you. My family will celebrate Christmas this week, and my thoughts are of my loved ones near to me and together in my home. What ever Holiday you may celebrate with your family, I hope it is full of Love.