On the Easel

Autumn Barn

Size: 28″x22″

Medium: Oil on Canvas
Working Title: Autumn Barn


This is a commissioned piece for a collector in San Diego. The prep for this painting is a bit different than what I typically do. I sketched the basics out using charcoal pencils, and then sealed it with clear Gesso. The clear Gesso allows me to prevent the charcoal from smearing or getting in the paint, while still being able to see the sketch.


Today I started the oil painting. The really cool thing about the clear Gesso is that it adds significant tooth to the canvas, and I really like the way it pulls the paint from the brush. It’s an entirely different feel.

I started this piece by working from the background forward. The black came first, and then I began blending in one of the greens that will be used for the trees. I will continue to work forward, adding in the rest of the greens and then the oranges used in the foreground trees. This is a fun one.


Today I continued to work on the trees in the background, adding an overall green hue and then leaves in a lighter shade of green. Since most of the background will be covered by the trees in the foreground it wasn’t necessary to add a lot of detail to these trees. In the few areas that will remain visible, I did spend more time on details.

I then began to work on adding some of the tree trunks and branches. Once these are in, it will define where more leaves should be in relation to the branches. These leaves will be in front of the trunks and branches and will begin to add  depth to the piece.

I will continue to work from dark to light, background to foreground.



I did some more work on the trees to the right side of the barn, using a brown based on Raw Umber, and experimented a little bit with color on the foreground tree. I still have more work to do to get that color right.

I matched the shade of brown on the weathered barn wood, using Burnt Umber as the base, and started working on the barn itself. I will stay on that until it is complete and then work on the main tree.


Believe it or not, I have been working on this one, I just haven’t been good about posting the work online. It has been a bit tedious with all the leaves, and the leaves, and the branches… with the leaves. After being away from the easel for an extended period, it has taken a bit of trial and error to really establish a rhythm and technique, but here is where I am at now.

The green leaves in the background are now fully detailed, along with most of the branches. I’ve cut some windows in the back of the barn for a nice view to the outside.

All of the autumn leaves are blocked in, and I have gone back into most of the foreground areas and painted the leaves in more detail. There is still quite a lot of work to do in the leaves, but if I don’t move around I’ll lose my mind painting leaves!

So, I have roughly blocked in the grasses to fill in the gap from the viewer to the barn.


I have continued building detail in the barn, but have also begun adding the grasses in the foreground. I start by simply blocking in areas of color where the transitions between different types of foliage occur.

Next, I just start painting in finer and finer details.

Working from back to front, I continue to build up the blades of grass, making them slightly thicker and longer as I move forward.


I continue to block in areas as I go to account for highlights and smaller details.


I am very close to completing this piece now. Just a few more hours tidying things up and catching some final details. I hope you’ve enjoyed this one – it was a long time coming.

You can see the finished piece in the Landscape Gallery



“why are you painting this subject?”