I have been wanting to tackle a painting for some time and the other day I shared how I “picked up my brush” and tried my hand at painting.

painting photos 094

I wanted to have something fun and bright this Spring, that reminded me of our trip to Paris.

The original plan was to add it to my spring mantel, but in the end, it didn’t really work out and I ended up putting it on an easel on the side table in my family room.

As I said in my previous post, I am under no disbelief that this is an amazing painting, I really just wanted to paint – to get our through my hands what was in my head.

So, since I figured a few things out, I thought I would share them with you.

You may have known these things all along, and maybe the information is out there already, but I haven’t found it yet.

I began with a photo I took in Paris in November of 2010.

I knew I wanted this painting to be brighter colors and I knew I wanted it to be “impressionistic”.

I was not trying to accomplish realism nor do I think I have the ability to do so!

I painted the sky background first and let it dry. I should have added the clouds at this point, but I added them later.

I used a mixture of different acrylic paints. Some colors were from the tube, most were mixed together in some manner.

Maybe I should have also painted the buildings behind first, but I also like that the Metro sign had no other layers below it.

Now, here is the main trick I figured out – I cheated, well at least a little bit.

I did not master painting perspective overnight. I find perspective to be the hardest part, so why not find a way around it?

I printed out a copy of the photo on regular printed paper and pencil scratched over the back of it, laid it on the canvas and traced the outline of the sign. I painted the pink inside first, then filled all over with the black. I went back in with a mixed charcoal gray to add the details on the sign.

This originally panicked me because I couldn’t trace onto black, however, since impressionism was the goal, I lightened up and just went for it.

In the end, having the outline of the overall shape of the sign and the inside pink part was enough to get me going.

Once I had the correct proportions and perspective traced in, then I did the rest (minus the lettering) on my own – it gave me the started I needed.

The building started as just a solid gray section and then I kept layering in darker and lighter shades of gray and black. The last layer was white to keep things brighter.

Then I left it to dry for a bit.

Next I painted in the branches and trunk in the tree mixing browns on my brush and again working with layering to build the color.

While that dried I lined the photo print out up again with the sign and used the same tracing technique to pencil in the “Metro” letters. I then used a long thin brush to fill in with white paint.

Next, I used several greens mixed together on the brush and “smushed” leaves on in different sections. I went back in with lighter and darker greens where I needed to balance out the color.

Again, I waited for that to dry.

Then I went back in with the same pink from the sign, using the same “smushing” technique and added the flowers.

I wanted the pink blooms so it gave the impression of Spring!

I again layered color by adding a darker pink and then white accents.

I also decided to add some pink details to the buildings and the sign to brighten them up a bit.

I went back in one more time to add white on top of all the pink details and the green of the trees.

I found that to be a major lesson – layering, layering and layering of color, and ending with pure white to highlight things.

And that is it.

Not perfect, and of course there are things I can see I would do differently now.

But that only excites me, I hope this is the beginning of me painting and working on learning more.

I just thought I would share in case you want to try!

I am linking up at Centsational Girl's Spring Craft Link Party .

Thanks for reading!

March 22, 2012 — Laura Putnam