Little Vineyard House - Original Oil Painting of a Vineyard in Tuscany, Italy

"Little Vineyard House"

10" x 8"

Oil on canvas panel.

Available through

This small house is in the beginning of an olive grove in Tuscany. It's located in a tiny hilltop town called Cignano (pronounced Chin-ya-no). I painted this in the studio using a photo I took when I was there.

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One Way - Original Oil Painting of the City with Cars and a Lesson on Shapes

"One Way" 8" x 10" oil on linen panel.

Available through

Terry Miura is an extremely talented artist who posted a painting challenge for his readers on his blog. He shared several tips with us on how to approach a complicated scene like this. You can read his tips by clicking here.

Once piece of advice he gave was in a post just prior to when he issued the challenge where he suggested linking all similar valued adjacent shapes in a painting. It's so easy to get caught up in the details of a scene like this one and making editing decisions becomes critical.

What is a value? A value, simply put, means how light or dark a shape is, it has nothing to do with the actual color just how light or dark the object is.

By linking all the adjacent shapes that are similar in value it makes the large pieces of the painting easy to spot. Once I identified those big shapes, I blocked them in. After the block-in stage it's easier to see where the painting needs detail and to start working on that.

I like to work from large shapes to smaller ones building detail as I go. Usually, little detail goes a long way. In this painting for instance, I didn't perfectly render each and every car. I added critical details to the cars in the foreground and let the rest be rectangular shapes. Because the foreground cars have taillights, are shaped like cars and are on a road your mind tells you they must be cars, the ones further down the road are shaped similarly so your mind fills in the rest and says that they must also be cars. In reality, the distant cars are rectangles with a line on the right and left and a shadow underneath and some are even more oddly shaped.

Constructing a painting using big shapes that are similar in value will absolutely make painting a complex scene much easier. If you would like to give this one a shot click here.

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Ascending Sky - Original Oil Painting of Clouds in the Sky and a Lesson About Painting Edges

"Ascending Sky" 8" x 6" oil on linen panel.

Also available in a high quality print through my ImageKind gallery. Click here to see it.

This was painting during my Monday night oil painting class. With this view the edges where two colors meet are critical and that was what I had my students focus on - edges.

Most people when they are first learning to paint are very careful with their edges. All that well-intentioned care often translates into hard and precise edges where two colors meet which can be visually distracting. Painting clouds is a great way to learn to loosen up your edges because clouds will look like hard floating lumps in the sky if you don't. Also, the slightly transparent quality to clouds means that you need to blend a little bit of sky color into them in order to get that effect. In addition, clouds will have small bits that have broken off of the main group and taken flight. Adding a few spots of cloud color to the sky will help create that look.

In my painting you can see that I did create hard edges when I painted in the fence. That was a calculated decision. Fences are much harder surfaces than clouds and therefore painting them with sharper edges O.K. In this case the fence is also a foreground element that leads into the painting and draws your eye towards the clouds. That is another reason for hard edges along the fence line.

Knowing how paint a variety of edges allows me to control and enhance the focal point in every painting.

If you find that your painting lacks a strong focal point, check your edges.

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