Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Leisure Painter          October 2006

Each month presents a feature from either The Artist or its sister publication, Leisure Painter.    

Leisure Painter inspires, guides and encourages beginners and improvers with step-by-step instruction, as well as general advice on ways to develop and progress. Experienced and popular tutors set projects, describe their own working methods and offer helpful tips and ideas




A Worcestershire Barn



I have used oils for this demonstration. I always keep my colour range simple and to a minimum. With the odd rare variation I have relied on these colours for 30 years of professional painting:




  • Titanium white
  • Cadmium yellow
  • Yellow ochre
  • Cadmium red
  • Alizarin crimson
  • Cerulean blue
  • French ultramarine
  • Burnt sienna
  • Burnt umber
  • Viridian green


The subject I have chosen is a simple barn in a woodland setting. I worked from a recently taken photograph to produce a preliminary pencil sketch of the scene.

You must not slavishly copy what you see in the photograph. Use photographs for reference, take elements from them and exaggerate them, but make the composition and colour your own. A photograph only provides the subject – it’s you who provides the picture!




So, with this in mind, I shortened the low-lying barn on the left to bring it into the picture, and I converted much of the foreground grass area to a straw colour in order to break up the mass of green.

Stage 1

Step 1: I sketched the basic shapes directly onto the canvas.
Step 2: Using a mix of cerulean blue and titanium white and a 3/8in. flat nylon brush

I began to block in the sky area, leaving patches of white for the clouds.





Stage 2

Step 1: I blocked in the trees behind the barn with a 1/4in. flat brush and a mix of cerulean blue and yellow ochre with white.

Step 2: For the trees on the left-hand side, I used French ultramarine and yellow ochre.



Stage 3

Step 1: More blue was added to the French ultramarine and yellow ochre mix to help set the distant fields back on the right-hand side of the picture.


Step 2: Using a No. 2 round nylon brush I marked out the timber framework and shadow areas of the barn, blocking in the window and doorway with a mix of burnt sienna, French ultramarine and white. At the edge of the field at the left-hand side of the barn I added cadmium yellow and white to the blue mix to give a warmer, more intense green.

Step 3: I added three lines of brown to give perspective to the hay field in the foreground, which helps lead the eye to the barn.

Step 4: The barn roofs were painted with a mix of French ultramarine, cadmium red, yellow ochre and white in varying strengths to highlight its weathered appearance. The barn roof is made of corrugated tin and has rust patches, so less blue and more cadmium red, yellow ochre and white were used.

Stage 4

Step 1: I filled in the brickwork using a No. 2 round brush and cadmium red. A mix of yellow ochre and white was used for the sunlit areas and I added French ultramarine and burnt sienna to the sides in shadow.

Step 2: I blocked in the hayfield foreground with yellow ochre and white.




Advertise on