Saturday, January 15, 2011

you can call me bob

Many of you have heard of Bob Ross.  And some of you haven't.  Ross was a talented painter, who developed a way of teaching the art of painting by breaking it down into simple steps.  He believed, and I agree with him, that most people have inherent artistic talent, and that with the right training, time, and practice, can become accomplished artists.  That is the premise that Treasures by You is founded on.  It isn't a new concept, but we took it and personalized it with our own brand of teaching, in small groups with individual attention, to help people taking our classes discover their inner artist.

Painting is a personal thing with me, something I have been doing since I was about 12 years old.  I didn't begin to teach it until after I was an adult, first for my own business for 15 years, then as part of the experience Vix and I have established in Suisun City, California.

Today I want to take you all step by step through the process I use to create for our studio.  I hope this will encourage those of you who want to paint to take the leap.  As Bob Ross was fond of saying, "there are no mistakes in painting, only happy accidents!"

This is the photograph I will paint from.  Sometimes I use a photograph, sometimes I paint from what is in my imagination.  Often if I paint from imagination something that is real, I will google photos for reference.  (Shape of a head, the color of something, etc.)  I don't like to look at too many things because I don't want to be too influenced when I paint.  Just brief references, to keep me on target with what I have worked out in my mind.

This is the palette I used for today.  I use medium to heavy body acrylic paint and the colors for this painting are: phthalo blue, white, black, raw umber, chrome yellow, and raw sienna (just a dab of that really).

I used a 1", 1/2" and 1/4"  flat wash (or bright), and a #6 and #8 round brush. 

First I use a bit of raw umber and outline the rocks on the beach.  Then using phthalo blue and white, I paint the sky with broad strokes with the 1" wash.  Next I paint in the ocean, using more blue.  I don't over stroke because I want the colors to show some variation.  If you stroke the canvas too much, you end up with a solid color. 

 Next I start adding darker blue to establish the waves coming into the beach.  Again using a 1" wash. 

Taking a 1/2" wash, or bright, I take very small amounts of white paint and start to add whitecaps to the waves and surf.

Waves.  (The color looks different on some photos due to changing light in the room, so not to worry...)

Whitecaps, added little by little in small strokes, smaller the farther away on the horizon, getting larger closer to the beach.

I continue to add whitecaps, and go back from time to time and work some other shades of the blue/white mixture into the canvas.  I also go back and work on the sky a little more, defining the clouds just a bit more.


More white on the waves rolling into the beach, breaking it up to make it show more motion.  Using the 1/4" flat now for tinier detail.  Don't overload your brush, and if the paint builds up on it, scrape some off on the palette, or a rag (which is what I use).

Detail of the beach, where the waves are breaking toward the beach.

Water is about finished.  Foamier and more white where the waves wash up onto the beach.  I used the 1/4" and also the #6 round brushes for this.  Went over the lines on the rocks, but that will be covered when the rocks are painted.

More sky detail.  Adding some brush strokes for the clouds gives more depth.

Close up of the water near the beach.

I begin to paint the rocks in using the raw umber, black, white, and a bit of yellow.  I am using the 1/2" flat brush at this point.  (I use wash, bright and flat interchangeably but am talking about a flat, square, wide brush, good for filling in and also fine lines and small areas if you turn it on its side.

I start with dark areas, add light areas, then go back and forth, building the rocks from the back to the foreground.

Close up of rocks.  I keep adding areas of dark and light, to suggest shadows and areas of rock in the sunlight.

Next I mix yellow, blue and white and dab on the rocks (dab is the best way to describe it) and vary the colors.  Anytime you paint something like foliage, trees, rocks or most anything, the way to bring it to life, so it won't look flat, is to mix several shades of the same color, as I have done here on the water, rocks and moss.

Adding a bit more color in small amounts to the rocks.

Finished rocks.

And last, I add the waterline to the edge of the beach, so it looks like the water is washing up on the beach, and not the beach washing out on top of the water! :D

And this is the finished painting. 
Now that I have taken the mystery out of painting, grab a brush and let's paint!


  1. do you think I am on the right track with an art blog? I just feel art adds so much to my life, and I just want to share it with as many people as I can...

  2. I am SO looking forward to another painting day. You guys are amazing! Authentic. Intense. Passionate. Deep. Fun. What you do touches the core of the spirit. Thank you for doing what you do! I am in awe. I would love to connect again, and maybe even do a combined workshop or retreat.

  3. Thanks Kathy! I had a lot of fun doing it. :D

  4. Maria, thanks so much for the positive comments. We feel such a positive connection with everyone who comes to the studio to experience the fun. And for me, painting has always been a way of connecting to the calmness and joy inside me. Painting should be fun!

  5. Wow, that's a beautiful painting, and a great tutorial! I love to paint.

  6. Thanks Christina! We'll be sharing lots more along the way... Hope you'll join us!

  7. Now that was fun! I love seeing artists at work. This was like looking over your shoulder. I tried my hand at oil painting once or twice. Didn't know what I was doing--and it showed. It came out looking like one of those paint-by-number paintings. But I had a wonderful time.

  8. Glad you enjoyed it Margaret! We set our classes up so that everyone leaves with a finished painting at the end of 3 hours, and try to choose paintings that are not too difficult. AND encourage individuality, it isn't cookie cutter art. You said you had a wonderful time, and that is what it is about, having fun with friends! Art should be fun I firmly believe. Thanks for the comments!

  9. very nice topic, I paint as well and I really enjoyed the way to post the painting steps :)
    well done

  10. I've seen your paintings (very good) and enjoyed your blog many times Hinda :)
    thanks for visiting!


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