straightened and cropped final version

tree farm

Just finished this painting this week. It took 3 sessions to complete.

The source image came from a Talbot’s catalog, found by our teacher. The source image was rather cute, but also highly problematic. The barn is set at a very wrong angle compared to the frame, and I did not like the vertical arrangement (which of course was necessary for a catalog cover).

I first did several thumbnail sketches looking for the optimal composition for my liking. I settled on the one with the barn to the upper left, and the cyclist and dog to the lower right, each sitting i one of the sweet spots of the 3×3 grid.

After the comps, I did a really quick value study (not shown) to get a feel for the values. I did end up making the two figures a little smaller and recentering them on grid spot.

The sketch for the final painting proved a little problematic; I kept getting that pesky barn off tilt, and finally got help from the teacher to sketch it in properly. She used a ruler and boxed it in with proper cross bars and so on; sometimes it just doesn’t pay to free hand everything.

The sky was quick work, doing a somewhat textured wash with cobalt blue. The drive and walk areas went in with a pale grey wash made of diluted chromatic black. The same treatment went on the barn roofs to set them in.

I started the trees in the right back with great relish. I had a some really thick “Andy’s Green”, a colour brought to us from Andy Evansen, our fav MN painter. It’s a dark, lush green that also has much variation and depth. To this I also dropped and brushed in some Phthalo Green, and a bit of QBO to bring in some brown.

While the paint was still wet, I scraped in some branches with the back angle of one of my flats.

The next week, I worked on getting more of the trees in, painting the bright red of the barn in Winsor Red, and adding in a bunch more details, including more trees (tree farm!) and other parts.

The dog in the source is a golden, but that wasn’t going to work with the small size and against the drive, so I left it out for a bit.

This week, 3rd session, I added more details, figured out the dog and cyclist, and finished up the painting.

I applied a white mat with a black inner using Photoshop.



  • Arches 9×12 cold-pressed block


  • Dreamcatcher #10 round
  • Dreamcatcher #4 round
  • Kalinsky Sable #2 round


  • DS Cobalt Blue
  • Chromatic Black (WN French Ultramarine and DS Quin Burnt Orange)
  • Winsor Red
  • “Andy’s Green” – DS Payne’s Grey and DS Quin Gold
  • Phthalo Green
  • Sap Green
  • Monte Amiato Raw Sienna with a touch of Cobalt Blue Violet
  • Permanent Rose
  • French Ultramarine

Available on Redbubble