View Full Version : how to paint grass?

08-04-2005, 10:11 PM

I haven't posted here in a long time. I will say it's always very inspiring to come here and see everyones work.
I am painting a landscape and am having a great deal of difficulty getting the grass to look right. I have looked for resources providing techniques on how to paint grass, but have had no luck. I was wondering if anyone could provide tips/techniques on this subject. The attached photo is of tallgrass, which would be extinct if it weren't for the great efforts of the Nature Conservancy to preserve the rare plant. This grass is what I'm attempting to paint. Any help or ideas on painting this type of grass would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

08-04-2005, 10:19 PM
I'll be watching this thread, cause it's a problem for me too! GREENS just give me fits!

08-04-2005, 10:37 PM
Good Question! I look forward to hearing what others have to say!!!
I think alot of it would depend on your style of painting...loose or Detailed?
I am by far no expert...just learning as a matter of fact...but I currently use an old soft bristled brush...one I didn't take very good care of, and the hairs on the brush are all crushed and go in every different direction.... then I use lots and lots of washes, touching the paper/canvas lightly in the direction the grass grows starting in the background working up to the foreground..... There is probably a better way... I am looking forward to other's ideas!!! I have seen some poeple who do color washes first to get a base then with thicker paints and a stiff bristle brush (almost like a stencil brush) go in and just "crunch" in the grass...??? I haven't experimented enough with scenery yet though....hopefully someone can give you some good ideas though!!! I'll check back WITH MY NOTEBOOK to see what other's have to say!!! AND I look forward to seeing some of your posts!!!! (Welcome Back!!!)

Radical Eel
08-05-2005, 10:46 AM
Grass is kind of like green fur. So what I'd do (not that I'm really experienced at this but it's the approach I would start with) is block out big colors first to just sort of get the shape of the hills. Then go in with darker and lighter colors and add details like little clumps of shadow and highlights, then maybe go in one more time with a tiny brush and add a few tiny details that show individual pieces of grass. I have a friend who paints every single blade of grass, but I kind of think that's unnecessary. (It might be a difference in painting style though...)

I'm looking forward to seeing what people have to say about this.

08-05-2005, 10:47 AM
hi George,

I'm from Stillwater, OK, but live in Mo. now.

That's one interesting reference photo. Normally, colors get lighter in the background, and darker up front. Yours is reversed, must be the light.

Anyway, what I would do is start at the back ground and work forwards. I would want the atmosperic persepction, so I would take some Hookers Green (HG), a touch of Cad. Red (CR) and some Tit. White (TW), maybe a touch of Diox. Purple (DP) and blend them on the canvas. You have to work fast and occasionally add a touch of water too, so they will blend. Keep adding a touch of HG and the other colors and create an under painting, that is light in the back, and dark in the front. I would scumble and scrub it onto the canvas. Then I would let it dry for a few minutes. After it has dried enough, you can mix a little HG and Cad. Yellow (CY) with some TW, maybe a touch of DP on your pallet. Then with a bristle brush, loaded dryly, lightly dry brush the back ground to give it a three dimen. feel. As I move forwards, I would add more HG and CY, to the mix, and I would start pulling the grass up here and there. Towards the front, I would make longer strokes with thicker paint. Something I've been thinking about lately is making my underpaintings darker, then come back over it with lighter colors, and leaving spots of the underpainting showing so it gives the grass some shadows like you see in your ref. photo.

I like to practice new techniques on cheap water color paper. I get 10 or 15 sheets of Canson in a pad 9x12 from Micheals for $2.00. I don't gesso it, so it does absorb the moisture, but you can gesso it first if you want and let it dry.

I've asked this same question, and the answer I've gotten most often is EXPERIMENT. It's kind of like reinventing the wheel. There is more than one way to do what you want, so you must try and master several techniques, then decide what works best for you, thus creating your own "style of painting."

PS: GO OSU!!!!

08-06-2005, 01:41 PM
Are you painting on canvas or something smoother? Also, what size?

As far as suggestions on how you might tackle this go a lot depends on the specific problem(s) you're having (form, colour, too much detail, too little) and the technique you like to paint in - tight and detailed, loose and brushy.