Oil original painting: Across the River

This is the whole process of creating this oil original painting, from plein air pencil sketch to final studio painting.

My inspiration:

I was surprised by this painting. I wasn’t expecting much when I drove down to the river on a windy evening in March to find something to sketch from the car. As I sat there looking at the view, the clouds moved and a scene was lit up before me. Pinks and greens showed each other off in the evening light.

I only had a pencil and sketchbook with me that evening, but the moment of colour across the river had sparked an idea.

Once I began sketching the scene, it struck me that there was more to it than just the interesting colour that had flashed at me. The composition  was turning out to be something quite interesting too.

Unusual for a landscape but it made sense because it gave the feeling of how high the mountain is compared to the houses down below.

As I was sketching that evening I was already planning to be there again the next evening with paint.

My process:

I began with a quick 4B pencil sketch to gauge the values of the composition, and work out the placement of the houses in the foreground.

Looking at the sketch afterwards, I loved the organic shapes of the darker value on the mountain, and the feeling of height that they alluded to.

I also liked the juxtaposition of the straight roof lines of the buildings in the foreground and the edges of the yellow field against those interesting shadow shapes higher up.

Colour study and value study in sketchbook

I decided to go back to the same spot for a colour study that made up my mind immediately to do a bigger studio painting of this composition. I already liked the composition, so when I saw the conversation between the pinks and the greens, I was convinced.

oil painting block in

Once I had sketched out the composition in burnt sienna, I blocked in the big shapes with thin colour.

Adding detail and working out the smaller shapes

I added more paint, refining values and the smaller shapes.

Final details in thicker paint.

Overberg landscape paintinb
© Tracy Algar, Across the River. Oil on stretched canvas, 45 x 30 cm.

Materials used for this oil original painting:

Zelcol oil paint in my usual limited palette:
titanium white, arylamide lemon yellow, yellow ochre, alizarin crimson, burnt sienna, ultramarine blue

A selection of hog hair brushes and one synthetic KUM Blackline no.4 for detail.

I repainted over an old acrylic painting on an ETH Canvas.

Across the River

Artwork dimensions: 45 x 30 cm

Oil original painting on stretched canvas


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