Flat Brush Painted Sketch of Tangerines

by Lisa Larrabee

I gave this assignment for a 4"x4" value study painted with a 3/4"-1" flat brush in 50 strokes or less. Since I rarely use a flat brush, I decided I could benefit from the challenge also. The goal was to use deliberate thoughtful brushstrokes, but I confess I lost count. It was completed in less than 30 minutes and was fun to play in a different style.

~ Lisa


Sketchbook: Self-portrait Lift-out Technique

by Lisa Larrabee

I started this sketch with an overall value and then began lifting out highlights with a kneaded eraser.  Being able to push and pull the values felt much more like painting.  I think it made a significant difference over the last attempt.  That, and a more defined light source (usually a good idea).

~ Lisa


Sketchbook: Zipper & Key

by Lisa Larrabee

I am working on sketching everyday.  It's funny how it always used to feel like an assignment (because it was!).  Now, I am just enjoying myself.

~ Lisa


Sketchbook: Tangerines

by Lisa Larrabee

You have probably heard the best way to improve as an artist is to practice.  Paint or draw everyday.  Work from life.  Study.  Observe.  Repeat.  This is certainly not news.  In spite of this advice, I have never been good about keeping a sketchbook.  I always loved the idea, but never really committed to it (except to jot down thumbnails for future paintings).  I want to make this my new habit.  I hope to build some momentum by posting sketches with regularity.  If you don't already, I encourage you to keep a sketchbook too.  Best of luck!

~ Lisa


"Oil Out" for Color

by Lisa Larrabee

Oil  16" x 12"
artist Lisa Larrabee

I am continuously experimenting with how to paint trees.  Previously, I have shown the process to define shapes and branches through negative space painting.  In this example, I decided to show a softer technique, because I currently have students who are discovering that trees can be a significant challenge to paint.

I also want to show the tremendous benefit of oiling out your painting to create an even finish and bring out the true colors of the painting.

I began by roughly painting in the colors and shapes where I saw them.  Significant branches were included, but all other detail was left out.

Using a large soft bristled brush, I blended the colors together.

The same technique was applied throughout with a focus on color and value over detail.

Once dry, I painted additional layers over the top and allowed brushwork to show.  It is difficult to tell in the picture, but some areas are beginning to look patchy from the dullness created as oil sinks beneath the surface as it dries.

Oiling out a painting allows the richness of the colors to be shown as they were when they were painted.    I use a 50/50 mix of Gamblin Galkyd and Gamsol (OMS), but you can use other painting mediums.  You can clearly see the "T" shape where I brushed my Galkyd/Gamsol mix across the top and down the middle.  It is very beneficial to oil out your painting throughout the painting process so that you can accurately match or adjust new paint colors to the existing dry colors.  You can let the oils sink into the surface and then wipe off excess before painting a new layer.  Also, if you intend to varnish your finished painting, it is still recommended that you oil out your painting to allow for a more even application of varnish.  

I hope this is helpful.  Best of luck!
~ Lisa