Artwork of David Schuppert
Artwork of David Schuppert
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The Process of Creating Art: McLean Lake

A friend in Canada sent me a photo of McLean Lake in Alberta which I thought would make a nice painting. 

I selected a 22X28 inch canvas and roughly drew in the landscape. My process of painting with acrylic is simple: I paint from the back to the front, from dark to light and from the inside out. It's a process that understands the characteristics of acrylics and capitalizes on them. And it's a natural way to paint. The mistake people often make trying to use acrylics is that they try and make it paint like oils.  And when they become frustrated they give up. Acrylics is a medium all it's own.  Learn it's characteristics and enjoy painting with it.

I start from the furthest point back in the painting which would be the sky on the horizon and work my way forward in the painting.Because acrylics dry quickly, I can layer each part of the painting on top of the preceding layer quickly as I work my way forward.

In painting objects like trees, bushes etc. and even hair, I paint from the inside out and from dark to light. Now what does that mean? Well, if you look at a tree in the summer you see all the dark branches and shaded parts of the tree that are on the inside. And that's where I start to construct trees; on the inside and work my way outward. And it only goes to reason that I work from dark to light as well. 

painting mclean lake

It's an exciting process to see the tree take shape into a 3 dimensional object.  The last touches of paint I put on are the highlights that really make a tree or any other object really pop. 

painting trees of mclean

Working my way forward I start laying in the water with various washes of color.  As mentioned before, because acrylics dry so quickly I can continue painting without having to wait long. 

As I continue to work on the water I start with reflections from both the land and the sky. Keep in mind the ripples and movement of the water. Pay close attention to what's going on. Because acrylics are permanent, you can paint right over the top when they dry until you get what you are looking for. 

Finally I arrive at the front of the painting...the foreground and lay in the brush. 

After I finished the painting I still felt it needed something. Why not a moose. Of course they are native to this area. And maybe an old broken down cabin. I turn the moose head to the left so it directs the viewer back into the painting. 

mclean lake painting

If you every have any questions about painting, drop me a note and I'd be happy to try and answer your questions.

Thanks for taking a look at my painting process! If you'd like to purchase a print of this painting, it is available as a Giclee print.

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