Painting landscapes for beginners -
The final painting. “Garden Party,” oil on linen panel, 30 x 30 in. Collection of the Irvine Museum, UCI, California.

Painting landscapes for beginners > In this step-by-step demo you’ll see how Lori Putnam’s foundation, the first part of the block-in, is about pattern.

By Lori Putnam

In this demonstration you can see how my foundation, the first part of the block-in, is about pattern. By starting with this strong design, I can decide along the way which of the other tools I will use to make the strongest statement. In this case, I want you to see the painting and respond, “Look at that light!” My primary statement here is backlight. But what made me want to paint this scene was the overabundance of pattern.

I first painted this on location in Port St. Joe, Florida. Using only the plein air sketch as my reference in the studio, I stained my canvas with Quinacridone Magenta. That is highly unusual for me. In this case, I knew that if the stain color was left showing in small shapes, it would add to the overall pattern effect. Finally, I used value and color to make it all come together.

Painting demonstration - Lori Putnam -
Here I have massed in the large shadow shape and placed a few of the lines needed to demonstrate perspective. The paint is not applied very thickly at this point.
Step 2
Sometimes, to be sure my value structure will work, I paint a swatch of the lightest light for comparison.

Related article > Ways to Use Rhythms in Your Next Landscape Painting

Step 3 painting backlight
In this image I am beginning to place intentional shapes in a rhythmic pattern. The paint is slightly thicker now.
Step 4 patterns in landscape painting
The hanging pots are an important part of the pattern. They are the largest of the internal pattern shapes.
Step 4 landscape painting for beginners
As I begin placing color patterns, I pay particular attention to which shapes suggest what kind of bloom. By painting different marks, different flowers begin to emerge.
Step 6 Painting landscapes for beginners
I am careful to keep all my colors in the correct value. Only the backs of some of the flower petals are receiving rim light. As I lay in these small light-shapes, my paint gets even thicker.
Step 7 step-by-step demo
It is finally time to lay in some of the largest and lightest shapes. I want to really load the brush and get long strokes of thick paint here.
Step 8 Painting backlight and patterns
I make sure to leave a little pink as a transition between the lightest yellow light on the sidewalks and the deep shadow shapes.
Step 9 how to paint
I lay in a peach color pattern to separate the bottoms of the hanging pots and the other plants, giving the illusion that the sidewalk continues.
Painting landscapes for beginners -
The final painting. “Garden Party,” oil on linen panel, 30 x 30 in. Collection of the Irvine Museum, UCI, California.

About the Artist: Lori Putnam, artist
Lori Putnam (b. 1962) began painting professionally in her mid-30s. The feel of the paint immediately ignited her love affair with the medium, and she knew there was no turning back. No stranger to hard work and dedication, she quickly gained recognition as one of the top living American Impressionists. When viewed in a photograph, her work may appear tightly rendered. But upon seeing it in person, viewers are instantly engaged by thick, expressive paint. About her own work she says, “What interests me is rarely any specific subject. Like a magnet, I am immediately attracted to nature’s harmonies, rhythms, and patterns. My work invites viewers to explore and follow clues as if to a mystery. They become artists themselves for a brief moment, but will continue to see the world differently from that moment on. This is my passion, my drive, and my reward for the work.”

Putnam has been featured in numerous issues of Western Art Collector, American Art Collector, Plein Air, Southwest Art, Fine Art Connoisseur, and Art of the West. She is a member of many respected organizations, including the Salmagundi Club in New York City, the Oil Painters of America, the Portrait Society of America, the American Impressionist Society, and the California Art Club. In 2018 she accepted an appointment to the board of Art Ambassador for a Colorful World and travels to work with children in less-fortunate countries across the world.

Museums, including the Tucson Museum of Art; the Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming; the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, Montana; the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia; the Irvine Museum in California; and the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland, have sought out Putnam’s works for awards, exhibitions, and permanent collection. She maintains a studio in Charlotte, Tennessee.

Follow: @loriputnamart

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