Painting outdoors - garden studies
"Secret Garden" by David Sawyer

In a departure from his usual architectural subjects, David Sawyer shares a garden study, including his techniques and supplies.

Painting a Garden Study


A lot of my work involves travelling and painting architectural subjects, but this painting is something of a departure as it is a study made in the gardens of a local park here in South London and does not involve any depictions of buildings or architecture.

It is painted in quite a low key on the tonal range so that I can keep the colours bright. I tried not to use white as much as possible as adding white tends to make the paint mixtures cooler and a little grey, especially the greens. I was trying to keep the colours brilliant and saturated.

I use a mixture of Michael Harding oil colours and Winsor and Newton paints. The greens here were based around viridian and emerald then I used earth colours like yellow ochre pale and Indian yellow red shade to modify.

In regards to my brushes, on the whole they are synthetic flats, up to one and a half inches. I use a rag to wipe off and soften the edges while painting. Using matt glazing medium helps speed up some of the drying time and means I can add details like the flowers without mixing into the paint beneath.

Although these garden paintings started out as part of my plein air painting course I am now continuing to use the subject of the garden as a motif in some of my recent work.

UK artists
David Sawyer in studio
Painting the landscape
“Old Fountain” in progress
Painting the landscape
“Piazza San Marco” by David Sawyer
Painting the landscape
“Sunset, Jerez, Spain” by David Sawyer
Painting the landscape
“Caterdral de la Virgen Maria” by David Sawyer
Painting the landscape
“Golden Galloping Horses” by David Sawyer

Connect with David Sawyer:
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UK plein air artists
David Sawyer painting outdoors


  1. So enjoyed readying “The Cringe Factor” and the dog portraits are wonderful. They invite you in…

    Blessings, Dianne


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