Sunday, January 31, 2016

“Fall Around Every Corner” – Great Smoky Mountains National Park


“Fall Around Every Corner” – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

“Fall Around Every Corner” is an acrylic painting done from a photo I took along one of the roads in the Great Smoky Mountains.  I took this photo from Maloney Point, which is stop #1 on Little River Road. It is an overlook with a paved parking area and a mountain view.   I have been fortunate enough to paint plen air at this overlook on another occasion; however, this painting was done from my photo rather than on location this time. 

The painting above is an acrylic on canvas.   Let’s get started painting!

Materials needed:

Canvas – I used an 8” x 10” canvas 
-        Flat Brush
-        Palette Knife
-        Round brush
Acrylic paints:  A basic set of acrylic paints which may include the following colors:
Hookers Green
Sap Green
Brunt Umber
Mars Black
Titanium White
Cadmium Yellow
Yellow Ochre
Ultramarine Blue
Cerulean Blue
Cobalt Blue
Burnt Sienna
Raw Sienna
Alizarin Crimson

Note:  The paint list is large; however, this painting can be achieved with a basic set of acrylic paints. 

This painting is predominately green; all shades of green from the background trees to the foreground grasses.   Before we start painting, I wanted to share some tips on painting with green. 

Green Paint Tips:

Vivid greens can be easy to mix, but often need to be toned down or they dominate the painting.  Greens can be adjusted as follows:

·        Add a little red (or pink) to the green mix.

·        Try to mix greens from a mixture of two colors rather than using a premixed green. 

·        When making your green, try not to use a bright yellow and a bright blue. 

Here are some paints to mix together to make some excellent greens:

·        Burnt umber & Cadmium yellow light

·        Prussian blue & Yellow ochre

·        Ivory black & Cadmium yellow light

·        Ultramarine blue & Yellow ochre

·        Ultramarine blue & Cadmium yellow light

·        Phthalo blue (Green) & Cadmium yellow light

·        Phthalo blue (Green) & Hansa yellow (sometimes called Lemon yellow)

Play around with these color combinations and different greens before you start your painting to find the colors that you would like to use.

There are some good premixed greens out there can be purchase and used “straight” from the tube.  I especially like Sap Green.  It can be lightened with yellow ochre and deepened with Ultramarine blue. 

Canvas preparation: 

A technique I have found to add warmth to paintings is to lay down a base coat of burnt umber.  I painted the canvas with this base coat and allowed to dry before starting my painting. Sparsely painted areas will allow this base coat to show through; this is extremely useful in the tree area and will add a nice glow to your painting. 

Painting Instructions:

Sketch the drawing on the canvas with minimal details.    My main concern was the perspective of the road as it curved across the canvas.  Once you have the location of the road, everything else will fall into place. 


Using a mix of Cerulean Blue and white, lay in the sky from the top down to and slightly below the  mountains all the way across the canvas even behind the trees on the right.  Focus your attention on the areas of the sky that will be seen at the top of the painting.    Laying down your sky behind the trees will allow bits of the sky to show threw the leaves of the trees and also give you a base for your greens.   Make your sky interesting by adding a darker Windsor Blue and Purple in the upper section of the sky.  Allow to dry.   

Using the edge of your flat brush or a pallet knife, lay in your mountains with Sap Green and Windsor Blue mixed to create a deep evergreen.  Use various intensities of this color to indicate shadow and light on the mountains. While still wet, work in some colored areas to indicate sections where the leaves have changed. 

Paint the trees on the left side of the painting first as the trees on the right side will overlap these in the foreground of the painting. 

Mix a variety of shades of green before you start painting as you will use various shades as you paint the trees putting in light and shadow as well as species’ color differences.    Paint the trees by scrubbing in the paint in circle shapes as well as dabbing in various locations.  Work these until you are pleased with the color and shape.  Deepen the green with Ultramarine blue as well as a touch of black to the deepest area of green in the background. 

Roadside grasses:
Blend in various shades of brown in the sections closest to the road.  Dap this paint on with a bristle brush, allowing your brush strokes to show.  Highlight areas to indicate light and deepen areas for shadows.  Allow to dry.

Mix gray from black, white and a little Windsor Blue.  Using various intensities of this color, paint the road.  Add more white to highlight areas of the road that are out of the shadows.  Deepen the color in the shadows of the trees and along the side of the road.  Allow to dry.  When dry, add a yellow center line of yellow ochre. 

Finishing Details:
Using the example above, add highlights and a tree branch or two.  Add a little “smoke” on the tops of the two highest mountains as well as dabbing in some while paint for clouds in the sky. 

Congratulations!  Sign your name; your painting is complete. 

Happy Painting!



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