Peggy Immel,
Peggy Immel, "Spring Willows," 2019, oil, 9x 12 in., Collection the artist, Plein air

Plein air painter Peggy Immel takes us through a step-by-step landscape painting tutorial on how she created “Spring Willows.”

Written By Robert K. Carsten

Step 1:

Immel sets up with her subject in view.

Landscape painting tutorial, step 1
Step 1

Step 2:

She starts by documenting her thoughts about the subject she’s chosen to paint.

“Things that might be included in my notes are the date, time of day, temperature, sounds, and possible color schemes,” she says. “Sometimes I write a haiku (not meant to be great poetry!) to try to capture my feelings about the subject. Then, using a soft pencil, I do a series of small thumbnails with three values to indicate pos­sible approaches to shapes and composition.”

landscape painting tutorial step 2
Step 2

Step 3:

The artist lightly tones her canvas and completes a rough sketch with the same color, indicating the placement of shapes.

“I mark the thirds of the canvas and put a small dot in each of the four points where the thirds intersect,” she says. “These are my sweet spots for interest points. I often use cadmium orange for this stage, and I don’t bother to let it dry before continuing with the painting.”

how to tone a canvas
Step 3

Step 4:

She then establishes the darks and undertones with a thin wash that will show through in various places in the finished piece.

”At this stage, I begin asking myself if the paint is:

1) light or dark enough
2) warm or cool enough and
3) bright or dull enough relative to the paint it borders on the canvas.

“From this point forward, everything on the canvas needs to be considered within the context of its relativity to the rest of the painting.”

How to block in a painting
Step 4

Step 5:

Once the canvas is covered with a thin block-in, she applies thicker paint over the top, using both a palette knife and a brush.

“I continue to evaluate the value, temperature, and intensity of my colors as I go,” she says. ”At this stage, I also consider paint quality and edge work. I’ll often use a brush to rework an area of paint applied with the palette knife to achieve a more painterly effect.”

landscape painting tutorial
Step 5

Step 6:

Immel adds the fine details and highlights at the end. To create the tree trunks, she uses a palette knife together with a rigger brush.

Peggy Immel, "Spring Willows," 2019, oil, 9x 12 in., Collection the artist, Plein air
Peggy Immel, “Spring Willows,” 2019, oil, 9x 12 in., Collection the artist, Plein air

Connect with Peggy Immel:

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– Incredible art retreats
– Educational and fun art conventions, and much more.

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