I am currently in Australia at the moment and this afternoon I decided to go plein air painting (painting outdoors) on the edge of Lake Macquarie. Lake Macquarie is located on the Central Coast in New South Wales about two hours north of Sydney.
The colours of the Australian landscape are very different to New Zealand so I am definitely out of my comfort zone, it is also very hot as it is summer in the southern hemisphere.
This is the art work I painted this afternoon and I'll show you how I created it.
Sheoaks, Lake Macquarie, Australia, 8" x 10", oil on canvas panel.
I really like the native trees in Australia as the colours are so different to New Zealand so I decided to paint a stand of sheoaks (Casuarina sp.). It was a bit tricky to paint as it was an overcast afternoon, but the sun came out for a few moments and enough for me to paint the scene as if in the evening sun.
I have borrowed an easel whilst I'm here but there are a couple of bits missing so I decided to sit down on the rocks and paint.
As always I start by sketching out the scene in burnt umber, I've decided to go for a 'steelyard' composition where there is a dominant tree in the foreground and more trees in the distance to balance the scene.
I always start my paintings by blocking in the sky first, in this case I have gone for a warmer looking sky that is typical of Australia so I mix titanium white with cobalt blue, cobalt teal and a tiny bit of yellow oxide.
Next I start mixing the shadows of the trees in the distance. As the painting is going to focus on trees that are mostly in the foreground there are only two tiers of tone that I need to consider. So long at the gum trees in the background recede then the painting will have depth.
Next I paint the grass and the foliage that is in light on the sheoak trees. The grass in general is a dry straw colour, this will be good for my painting as the colours are of a lower chromatic value and so will emphasise the trees more as the green is more saturated and the values are darker.
I mix the green with yellow oxide, ultramarine blue, phthalo green and burnt sienna to give it that earthy green colour.
I desaturate the greens for the distant gum trees to make them recede in the painting.
Next I paint the trunks of the trees, again these were quite tricky to paint as their trunks and branches are naturally composed of desaturated colour, which would not translate that well in my painting so I had to make them darker and as well as adding some more saturated colour to the shadows of the trees.
I paint the foliage of the trees using lose brush strokes with a No.6 flat bristle brush.
I complete my painting by adding little details and emphasising the forms of the trees. I generally tidy up the painting, reworking some areas where appropriate.
My finished painting.
I hope you enjoyed my blog post, check out my website for more of my art: samuelearp.com
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