Painting a White Barn
- 1 1/2″ (381mm) Flat Winsor & Newton Series 965
- 1″ Grumbacher Aquarelle Flat Red Sable
- #12 Winsor & Newton Series 7 Red Sable
- #10 Winsor & Newton Series 820 Red Sable
- #6 Grumbacher Watercolor Classic Red Sable
- #4 Round Red Sable
- Sap Green, Hooker’s Green Dark, Pthalocyanine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Rose, Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber
- Spiral Pad (11″ x 14″) Canson #140 cold pressed
- #2 Pencil
- Kneaded Eraser
- Palette – Your choice. Mine is an old Robert E. Wood model.
- Water container (2) and water
- Hair dryer (optional)
- Photo or Sketch big enough for you to see reasonably well.
Step 1: Do the work
Although not necessary, usually a light drawing is done to block in the shapes and arrange the composition.
NOTE: For a bit of fun and challenge, skip the drawing and start painting right away. It’s a great visual skill builder, especially when it turns out well.
Step 2: First Washes
Using my 1 1/2″ flat brush I dampened the sky area of the paper, taking care to cut in the edges of the barn correctly. I used a mix of cerulean and cobalt blue for the initial wash.
I made a darker mix of burnt umber and cobalt and darkened the sky towards the lower left. I carried the same tone to a few foliage areas in the foreground.
I then took a 1/2″ flat brush with the cobalt/cerulean mix plus some dioxazine purple, squeezed it fairly dry and pulled texture into the face and sides of the barn.
Step 3: Laying the groundwork
Using washes of sap green, hooker’s green dark, raw sienna and burnt umber I flowed on the fields.
I varied this tone to darken and gray down the background hills and woodsy areas.
Step 4: A lot has happened…
…since the last picture. I became so frustrated I forgot to take an intermediate picture. I’ve added trees using hooker’s green dark and burnt sienna. I made an attempt at the background bare trees.
The intriguing angle of the cast shadow was important to the composition and drama of this barn so I took some time getting the color and shape right. I then added a few building details to the rest of the barn using a #4 round sable.
Other fore- and middle-ground details were built up, such as the fence to the right and the drainage trough in the foreground.
Step 5: Building the details
Using a combination of pthalocyanine blue, cobalt blue and burnt umber, I added the windows and open door details as well as picking out shadows on the rough surfaces.
I flicked in the lightning rods with the same mixture.
Step 6: Working the foreground
The painting was looking too cool with all the blue in the shadows of the barn so I bumped up the warmth of the surrounding fields using raw sienna, cadmium orange and sap green.
To break it up the foreground and add a little interest, I added indications of grasses and a rolling hill.
Step 7: Final touches
Using a dark mixing of pthalocyanine blue and burnt umber and my 1/2″ flat brush I added the texture of bare branches against the sky and over that nasty area to the right of the barn that gave me trouble. I called it done at this point!
Step 8: What happened back there?
In step 3.5 I painted the woods to the right of the barn…but I drew them poorly. I wasn’t paying attention and by the time I realized I needed another element in that area the paint was down.
I used a stiff #6 nylon acrylic painting brush and a kleenex and lifted the paint with clear water and daubing.
Step 9: A little patchwork…
With a blend of alizarin crimson, burnt umber, cadmium orange, and cobalt blue I quickly plugged a little red building to hide behind the trees. Using some of my sap green mixture I darkened the hill behind the building.
I then added some blue to the same brown mixture I used for the branches and re-painted the trunks and branches over the brand new building.
Accenting around the bottom I added bits of a fence using a warm gray cobalt/umber mix of paint
Step 10: A final touch…again
When I added the far-tree texture most remnants of my lapses in judgement had been obliterated…close enough!
Step 11: Finished Painting
Another one bites the dust. Now that wasn’t too bad was it. Not a masterpiece, but a learning experience none-the-less.