Friday, September 9, 2011

Landscape Painting Demo from Workshop in the Catskills this summer

Erik Koeppel
Sunrise Over the Kaaterskill Creek
14 x 10 in., oil on canvas

 Before I continue with the Kaaterskill Falls studies, I wanted to show a series of photos from a demo that I did as part of my workshop in the Catskills this summer through the Grand Central Academy of Art. There will be more about the workshop in American Artist Magazine this fall.

First I chose a spot that I had painted a week before, and wanted to do further studies of at a similar hour for a larger painting. I based my demo on this painting, but backed up one more pool to study the foreground a little further. I love this spot because the sun rises in a beautiful alignment with the creek, and illuminates the trees within the riverbend while creating soft atmosphere even in the not too distant shadows.

The very smooth panel was grounded very lightly with a tint a of solvent, burnt sienna, and ochre, and I began to lay out the large elements in burnt sienna.

Once I have a basic idea of the placement of the major masses of form, I start washing in the structure of atmosphere and light  with solvent, and one red, one yellow, and one blue (burnt sienna, ochre, ultramarine usually).

Here I've washed in the light blue tone of the sky (barely tinted from the ground), and begin to push forward though space lightly with washes.

As I move forward the shadows get warmer. Still no white.

Even though I know I'm planning to have a large tree in the upper left. I hold off on that until the sky is more resolved, and begin to apply some violet atmosphere into the shadows. At this point I'm starting to use a little more medium, and am applying paint to a degree that it can be manipulated more subtly.

I pass over the whole painting again from back to front this time more carefully, but always more mindful of each parts relationship to the whole space than the superficial details. If something far back is coming forward, I make the shadow cooler and lighter to set it back in space.

It's almost solid enough to paint the leaves and branches on the foreground tree.

Erik Koeppel
Sunrise Over the Creek Workshop Demo
12x10 in., oil on panel
 ...And here we are. The sun has moved on to full daylight by now, but I tried to preserve my initial response to that beautiful early morning light. One hour and a half later I have a nice little study for my larger painting yet to come. Next time will be part 2 of the Making of Kaaterskill Falls ...probably.


  1. Bahaha, now your secrets are mine.

  2. wow!!! I'm super happy you started a blog!!! I can't wait to see more work to come.

  3. Thanks Guys, I like your blogs too. @Dave, enjoy the 'secrets'.