From favourite place, via a photo, to a painting

From favourite place, via a photo, to a painting

How are we all doing? If you are anything like me some days you are simply hanging on...waiting, surviving. I walk everyday and it struck me the other day as I passed this holly bush, how wonderful these little berries are ,hanging on too, how amazing is that?

I have days when I feel fed up and trapped, but I know a walk with the warm spring sunshine on my face will make everything better. Getting my vaccine and seeing others get theirs too it brings us all hope, 

So sitting here in my studio, with the sun streaming through the windows, my cat keeping me company , all is well in my little world....oh to be a cat somedays?

I live in a beautiful part of Devon, right in the middle with Dartmoor on one side and the North and South coasts around an hours drive away. Here in the middle we are left ( pretty much) to our own devices, not an obvious holiday destination. However Mid Devon is beautiful, high hedges and rolling hills, and during lockdown it has become even more dear to me. I have favourite walks and favourite views, and I am sure like me some of you want to turn a place or view dear to you into a painting.

So if you have time, materials, are warm enough, etc make a quick sketch en plein air, but in winter, or in the rain that isn't always ( very often) possible. So I always have my mobile phone with me and take several photos. 


This photo was taken in the summer, shows part of a walk with the village on the hill in the distance.


So now to paint it. What is important? 

First I roughly sketch the important landmarks.

Then start on the sky

Cerulean blue, mainly, with a graduated wash getting darker towards the top.

Then adding a few clouds, by using a damp clean brush to remove some of the paint and adding some cad red and cobalt blue mixture as a shadow.

Now to get the paper covered. I often under paint in yellow ochre, adding gestural marks in greens and blues to suggest fields and trees. I painted the very distant hills in a bluey purple 

Keep going, and try not to get bogged down in the detail, if the feild has lines in it, then go ahead and boldly paint them in 


I find painting things I know well to be easier, as when you paint from a photo and you don't know the place you have to guess something's, but I have trodden this path so many times that know what is in the valleys and hidden corners.


 Now to paint more detail, I like to paint rows of trees, to see them as one shape with shadows and highlights. Keep everything moving.

Now we are moving at pace adding hedges and other distant trees. 


Painting is all about looking, keep checking back and seeing if it looks right!

Now to add some shadows.

And the feature trees, 

Finally I want to add the foliage in the foreground to give that sense of distance, 

I start with a range of yellows and greens and work my way , making leafy brush marks as I go,  I tend to hold the brush horizontally.


And now is the time to stand back, maybe even leave it a day or 2 and see what needs adding ( or taking away) 

So make your finishing touches, and you will have an even better understanding of one of your favourite places


Have fun with it, and lose yourself in a painting x

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I really love how you paint foliage. But I’m still learning about your technique


Wonderful blog, lovely of you to share your home thoughts, I think that helps me understand what you are saying you are doing with the painting.
Thank you so much, very inspiring and so helpful. I take my mobile everywhere taking photos all the time them piecing various photos together taking elements I like from different photos to come up with my take on the view. Maybe artistic license comes in there not that I’m an artist I just love to sketch and paint.

Diane Hayward

I’m so glad I stumbled upon you. I paint too, and blog. I love this tutorial, I’m going to follow your advice and give it ago. Thankyou


I’m so glad I stumbled upon you. I paint too, and blog. I love this tutorial, I’m going to follow your advice and give it ago. Thankyou


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