Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

You can send an email to [email protected] if you have questions about how to use this forum.

Paintings of the coast in Dorset, and a Tree in St Albans

Last weekend I painted a small painting of the Dorset coast from a photograph I took while on holiday there this year, and this weekend I painted a tree from a photograph I took last time I was in Verulamium park in St Albans on a really sunny day. They are both Jacksons water soluble oil on linen boards, painted almost entirely with a #2 filbert brush.

The coast painting is 18x24cm and the tree is 24x30cm. I really struggled with the coast painting, I think mainly because it is a bit small and I wasn't sure how much detail to try and get in. Not particularly happy with how that one turned out. Took about 3 hours, then another hour this weekend to try and improve some areas before giving up :)

The tree painting I am happier with, and took again about 3 hours from start to finish. I couldn't quite match the colours I think due to my blue having a fairly strong red bias but I'm reasonably happy with how that one came out. I didn't try and put too much detail in, and I think it was better for it. I also think the larger board helped.

Any advice / tips appreciated on things that jump out as areas to improve would be appreciated!



  • gar3thjon3s

    Texture and value variation to show light and shadow is important in the cliff faces.
    Sea, sand and sky are excellent. Terrific composition.


  • gar3thjon3s

    Trunk appears thin for leaf mass.

    Realist sky and an impressionist tree.

    Love the sky holes and the shadow shapes.

    Tree needs more light and texture. Especially on rhs where the sunlight strikes.

    Check out how easily Michael James Smith gets his trees to leap off the canvas.

    #43 How To Paint A Tree In Oil | Oil Painting Tutorial


  • @dencal Thanks for the pointers, that photograph you found is almost identical to the one I took! I guess it's a popular tourist point. Those two cliff faces were the are I struggled with most in that painting, after the first weekend it looked like this:

    which has a bit more texture, but I couldn't get it right and subsequently painted over it the 2nd weekend and got frustrated :/ Oh well.

    Regarding the tree, I actually painted the trunk a bit thicker than it is in real life believe it or not. I'll try and find the photo and upload... Sky vs tree, you're right hahaha whoops. I can't help blending clouds, perhaps I should hide my blending brush. 

    I'll watch that video and try and apply it in my next tree painting!

    Thanks again, very helpful.
  • edited October 2018
    These are lovely, @gar3thjon3s. Especially the tree.

    I think you were right not to try for too much detail but rather to convey the overall effect. Consdering the short time you spent on them you couldn't have done otherwise and I think you've achieved a great result in both. I love the compositions and the simple masses of colour which is something I want to try to incorporate in my own work. I think you are a born painter. Keep at it.  :)
  • Good stuff here. Dencal is right but trying to go all "Michael James Smith" on the tree could make you crazy. I would just throw in some dots of the next value here and there almot like you did for the sky holes. 
  • BOB73 said:
    trying to go all "Michael James Smith" on the tree could make you crazy.
    For balance, here's another opinion:

    Going all MJS on a tree will yield a detailed tree painting.  It comprises a collection of techniques that give the appearance that every leaf is painted.  If that's what you want.

    Alternately go all impressionistic on it.  If that's what you want.

    Choose according to your needs.
  • @tassieguy thanks! Certainly don't feel like a born painter but I'll keep at it.

    @BOB73, @PaulB thanks for the input. Not sure what I'm going to do regarding the tree, it's half dried now so I guess I'll have to wait a few days anyway, most likely I'll try what @BOB73 has suggested and put a few dabs of the next value around the right hand side.

    Thanks all for the feedback, very helpful.
Sign In or Register to comment.