Monday, January 10, 2011

Marsh at Sunset - Palette knife study

This is another simple landscape demo from Susan Sarback's book - "Capturing Radiant Light & Color in Oils and Pastels". It is all done using palette knife - new technique that I wanted to learn... I am enjoyong the experience using the palette knife because I don't have to worry about cleaning the brush while working with different colors during the painting session. Just wipe the knife with tissue and ... ready to go for the next color. In the demo, the painting is done is 4 stages and I decided to take pictures of each stage (except I somehow missed taking picture of my stage 3).
As the title suggests, this is a painting of Marsh at Sunset. The goal in this painting was to study the effect of light in the atmosphere using this simple composition. So here is stage 4 - which is the final painting.
( scroll down for stages 1 & 2 )
click to view larger
Marsh at Sunset - 8 x 10 inches, Oil on Canvas Panel

Stage 1 is about simplifying the landscape into different masses using cool and wam colors as is done below. Cool colors are used for shadows and warm colors for areas with sunlight. Also typically local is not used in this stage.
Marsh at Sunset - Stage 1

Stage 2 is about refining the color masses, example greens are added to the bushes in the right corner and in the central marsh area as required. Cool color is added to water etc.
Marsh at Sunset - Stage 2

Stage 3 - Forgot to take a picture, but this stage is used to add further color variatons to bring about depth in the painting. Stages 1 and 2 were relatively simple. But I found Stage 3 to be rather fuzzy... there is lot of trial and error in this stage and yet a feeling of incompleteness in the painting.

Stage 4 - Is the final painting - shown as the first picture. This is a real fuzzy stage. I kept changing the colors back and forth, eg: for water - kept expermenting with different shades of blues, purples and pinks and finally white for highlights. There is no set pattern to work with colors - I kept changing. (this is where I found knife very useful). I also messed around a lot in the central marsh area with yellows and oranges and greens. And finally, I called the painitng as finished after visually inspecting from far, near, with full light, with medium light etc..

Hope you all like it and yes, critiques and comments are always welcome.


  1. Lovely colours di, what a riot of colours!!!! Couldn't take my eyes off it for some time!!!!! tOTAL VISUAL TREAT. And I really like the way you've explained the stages. This is my personal favourite from your paintings followed by the wine glass and lamp painting!!!!!

  2. Interesting to see the different stages and the final visual treat, lovely job Prerana!


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