I posted a step-by-step mini demonstration of  this small studio study back in early March.

painting in oil australian landscape step by step andy  dolphin
Sunlit Canola. 
20x24cm oil on panel.  
© 2010, Andy Dolphin

This week I decided it was time to do a bigger – and wider format – version of it.

Working on a 70 x 37cm double-primed MDF panel, I laid out the basic composition with a thinned out mix of ultramarine and crimson. Even at this very early stage there’s a sense of distance and sunlight.

Next comes the washing-in of undertones with thinned colour and a one-inch pastry brush. After all tones are washed in I soften them with a gentle swish of the cleaned pastry brush.

At this stage things should hold together well through squinted eyes. If nothing is wrong compositionally and if all tones sit well with each other, preserving a sense of distance, I begin laying down final colours. I work from the sky down, moving “forward” through the landscape increasing colour saturation and contrast as I go.

In this case I felt the highlighted strip was too low as it ran almost centrally through the image space. Click on the image and squint at it to see what I mean. So I adjusted all the undertones upwards a couple of centimetres (about an inch) before moving on to the final painting process.

(Canola shadows. 70x37cm oil on panel. © 2010, Andy Dolphin)

Here’s the finished piece. I deviated a little from the smaller study. The biggest difference, other than the wider format, is that I kept the sunlit strip of canola a cooler yellow. It’s pure cadmium yellow light over a neutralised green. I’m happier with this because it’s how I perceive it when I’m driving around in spring. The shadowed canola is also a less saturated green to increase the impression of it being in the shadow of a cloud rather than a different crop.

The major theme of complementary blue and yellow is still there. The distant blues help to make the sunlit yellow appear even brighter than it would be without it.

It’s at this point that my wife takes a look and offers an opinion. She likes this one – except that she thinks the foreground needs a little more detail. Now it’s at this point that I disagree with her and tell her it’ll be fine. Then, two days later I look at the painting again – and decide that it needs a little more detail in the foreground. Sigh.

My wife’s happier with it now so I’ll post the finished, finished painting in a day or two when it’s dry enough to photograph again.