View Full Version : DEMO - Landscape

Paula Ford
11-17-2007, 10:04 PM
Hello Everybody!
I’ve been preparing this demo for the last few days and I hope it is useful to you.
It is 16”x20” on Ampersand Pastelbord with a watercolor underpainting. It is inspired by my little mini painting Aqua Fields.
So, let’s get going.
#1 - I did just a quick sketch in pencil that consisted of about 5 lines. It is not included here because the photo came out too light…sorry! This is my initial watercolor underpainting. Started out with just a green and purple for shadows and establish the scene.

#2 - Used a less diluted purple watercolor because I wanted nice rich, dark areas in the deepest shadow areas. (I left the little minis in this photo so you could see them. Haven’t posted the middle one yet. It’s my first snow scene.)


#3 – Starting to establish the distant trees with a nice dark blue Polychromos, a medium ultramarine blue NuPastel (one of my favorite blues to use for mountains), and a dark purple Polychromos in the deepest shadows.

#4 – Blocking in the sky with a light lavender Mount Vision, and also 3 shades of greens for the initial grasses, all Mount Visions. In the distance is the more yellow, lightest color of green, and as I’m coming forward slowly the colors start to darken.

#5 – One of my favorite parts…the sky. At the lowest part in the sky I block in an off-white and then a pink, the middle sky gets blocked in with a light aqua, and the top right gets a medium blue. This is the trick though…once the initial colors are established from bottom to top, I start back down from the top to bottom. This starts blending the colors or the sky so there are no hard edges. I do this a couple, maybe three times so the sky looks nice and painterly. It turns out looking so pretty with the combination of pinks, lavenders, aquas and blues. All the colors are Mount Visions except for the off white and pink, they are Paul deMarrais (yummy soft)!

#6 – So far, all the colors I’ve used in the painting.

#7 – Start defining the road and putting some luscious aqua in the foreground. In the absolute LAST step, after the road has been defined and looks very uniform (you’ll see what I mean later), I’m going to mess it all up so it looks more painterly. In this step I can tell that the road is too narrow and that will be fixed later on. Both colors are Mount Visions.

#8 – Using a light-peachy-sand color, the road gets blocked in. Also used a deep rusty brown in the shadows of the trees. (Forgot to put that color in the photo.) All colors are Mount Visions.

#9 – Adding a deep green in the foreground and a peachier color in the road.

#10 – With a very deep deep deep de Marrais green, I start blocking in the dark areas of the trees with random scumbling strokes.

Paula Ford
11-17-2007, 10:05 PM
Please Do Not Post Yet

Paula Ford
11-17-2007, 10:11 PM
#11 – Putting in some ochre in the trees and also a gorgeous deep aqua blue in the shadows of trees and across the road. Ochre is Mount Vision. Deep aqua is something really soft like a Schmincke, but can’t remember what it is.

#12 – More bright greens in the foreground grasses.

#13 – Continuing with more greens in the grasses and also in the trees. I love greens. There are so many variations in the grass to make it interesting.

#14 – This is one of the exciting parts! Starting to establish leaves with a nice bright yellow-green Mount Vision.

#15 – Oh No! The dreaded sky holes! LOL
Using the light aqua color and quickly tap tap tapping in little sky holes randomly through the tops of the trees. A pattern with start to emerge that will help you as you place the sky holes.
I also used a beautiful medium blue-purple de Marrais in areas under the trees and on the shadow of the road. Such a yummy color (I guess I forgot to put it in the photo too.)

#16 – Progress photo – taking a break for a while. At this point I’m about 2 hours into the painting.

#17 – Working on the road with the rusty brown Girault, a yellow NuPastel in the grasses , there is that gorgeous de Marrais medium blue-purple I told you about in step #15, and a Mount Vision aqua for the grass. That is the main color I used in the mini painting Aqua Fields.

#18 – My signature goes on the painting and as I stand back and analyze the areas of the painting, I realize the road is too narrow and as I said in step #7, it will be widened and made more painterly.

#19 – The road is fixed and the painting is pretty well finished. I may put a “halo” of blue around the trees. My teacher Kay Walton used to say to me “blend a half tone between the sky and the trees.”

#20 – One last thing…here are all the pastels I used.

Well, that’s it!
C&C and questions always welcome! I hope you enjoyed the demo and find it useful in creating your own landscapes.

alaskan rose
11-17-2007, 10:22 PM
THANKS, Paula, Very helpful, I love to see how others work. Really nice to be able to see the pastels you used and when. Nice painting, too! :clap:

Donna T
11-17-2007, 10:23 PM
THANK YOU PAULA!!! :clap: Wow, that was a great trip from the underpainting all the way to the end! I'm going to study this again and again. Beautiful painting in every way. :thumbsup:


Deborah Secor
11-17-2007, 10:29 PM
Great demo--thank you for all your work! The painting is wonderful, your steps are well described and good photos. :thumbsup: (And I know how long it takes to get all that organized and uploaded--almost more work than the painting! :lol:)


Paula Ford
11-17-2007, 10:32 PM
Margie, Donna...thank you!!

Deborah, Thank you!! I'm glad you stopped in. I have a question. How do you know if the perspective on a road is right?


11-18-2007, 12:19 AM
Thank you. I have bookmarked this already and will be having a try as soon as time permits.

11-18-2007, 12:27 AM
Paula, thank you, thank you for doing this! It is gorgeous and I loved seeing your steps and thank you for putting the pastels in the photos, that really helps.

WC Lee
11-18-2007, 12:44 AM
Lovely demo :) I've got to try this .. as soon as I get some decent landscape colors :D I know it sounds like an excuse but its the truth ....:rolleyes:

11-18-2007, 03:17 AM
Thank you Paula!!! You are a mind reader. I did another grass sketch today and put a tree in it. The only problem with that is, I don't know how to paint a tree.:envy: This is no lie, I said to myself "I wish Paula would do a tree demo." :eek: I can't wait to give this a try. Thanks for sharing. This is a great demo.


11-18-2007, 03:32 AM
Wonderful demo Paula, and thank you for taking the time to show us the sticks you used along the way. I'll definitely have to give this a try.

11-18-2007, 05:54 AM

Many, many thanks for all the hard work that must have gone into this demo, and for you sharing it with us.

From what looked like 'chaos'; came yet more 'chaos', until you gently teased out the scene, pastel stroke by pastel stroke.

I definitely do not want to nit-pick, especially given your generosity in sharing - but you have mentioned the perspective of the road - and imho it looks intuitively as though it narrows too quickly into the background, even before it has reached the magnificent tree. Why I don't know - but it just "looks" odd.

p.s. 5 start rating for this, and a merit point...............:cat:

11-18-2007, 06:10 AM
wow Paula!!!! I am really impressed with this WIP. Your finished painting is really so beautiful. I am going to bookmark this WIP and follow it through with my own pastels.
Your methods are wonderful and are so very effective!!! I always wondered how you managed to paint so lovely...

Merethe T
11-18-2007, 06:19 AM
Perfect, great demo Paula! This is a treasure for landscape-challenged artists like myself, maybe I'll give landscape another try after this.....Great to see what colors you used, very helpfull!

Beautiful painting, I'm a big fan of yours! Love the colors, the trees are gorgeous! Thank you! (giving you 5 stars and a merit point too.....:) )

11-18-2007, 09:57 AM

Thank you so very much for your wonderful demo. Your work never ceases to amaze me! I definitely want to try this, hopefully I'll get a chance soon. With the inspiration of your beautiful work and graciously sharing your artistic knowledge, maybe my lurking days will be over soon! :)


11-18-2007, 10:02 AM

Absolutely great! Thank you for doing so many steps. The perspective of the road looks fine. I'm sure lots of us will be getting out our pastels today to see if we can create the same kind of "magic" that you do!


11-18-2007, 10:40 AM
Thank you so much Paula! Great demo! The painting is beautiful. :clap:

When can we see the snow scene mini up close? It looks so good with the other two minis.


Paula Ford
11-18-2007, 11:08 AM
Thank you so much everybody!! It was a pleasure doing this for all of you!

Here is the mini that was in one of the first photos.




11-18-2007, 12:51 PM
Paula, thank you for the wonderful demo. The tree is beautifully done and seeing the colours you used is especially helpful.

Your generosity is much appreciated.


11-18-2007, 01:04 PM
Thanks so much Paula.This is a keeper.I love your work. I needed to know how to do trees. Hopeing to see more.

11-18-2007, 03:09 PM
Paula - thank you! This is a fabulous demo! I am landscape challenged, but now I want to give it another go. Also, thank you for showing the pastels you used - that is a big help. I have a question- can you tell me about the Ampersand Pastelboard? Is it a sanded surface? How does it compare to Wallis or Colourfix?

Paula Ford
11-18-2007, 03:25 PM
Thank you all so much!

Diana, Ampersand Pastelbord is a sanded board. I believe it's masonite. It has lots of tooth but not as much as Wallis. If you blend with your fingers it won't take off your skin LOL

It's along the same lines as ASColourfix, but different. Kind of hard to describe. I have just started using it because I wanted to use watercolor underpaintings and Wallis Professional buckles and bubbles if you use anything wet on it.

I really love pastelbord. You can get it in little sizes, 5"x7" and it really very inexpensive. You should try it!


11-18-2007, 03:29 PM
Great demo Paula and a beautiful painting. Nice to see how other people work. Thanks a lot.

David Patterson
11-18-2007, 03:35 PM
What a wonderful demo Paula...thank you so much for doing this. And your snow mini is beautiful. "Snow", something I have yet to attempt...kind of like you and "figures".:D


Paula Ford
11-18-2007, 03:44 PM
Thank you Marina.....and David!!!


11-18-2007, 06:37 PM
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! Wonderful, beautiful. I'll try it out, am so grateful for your many photos of the steps.

Five star rating, definitely.


11-18-2007, 08:42 PM
Just beautiful Paula and chocked so full of useful information and techniques. Thanks for the peek into your process.

Paula Ford
11-19-2007, 05:18 AM
Thank you Charlie and Barry!!!


Mary Brigid
11-19-2007, 06:10 AM
HI Paula, Have just seen and studied your demo. It is wonderful and thank you for sharing.
One Question Paula. You say that wallis professional grade buckles when wet. Is it the same with the museum Grade ? I was going to try it soon
Thank you
Mary Brigid

Karen Margulis
11-19-2007, 07:23 AM
Paula, wonderful painting and demo!!! Very clear and easy to follow. It is fascinating to see your painting emerge. Thank you for taking the time to share! Excelllent!!!


Paula Ford
11-19-2007, 08:22 AM
Thank you Mary!

I have heard that Wallis Museum does not buckle. Haven't tried it yet though to see for myself.


Paula Ford
11-19-2007, 08:23 AM
Thanks Karen!!


Bhavana Vijay
11-19-2007, 10:40 AM
What an excellent demo Paula, thanks so much. I am dying to do trees but am soo scared to try. I must have taken a thousand pics this season to paint. I hope I churn out something at least half as good as this!

11-19-2007, 11:07 AM
Paula - you really brought us along step by step, inch by inch... and we are most thankful. You are very organized I have to say and I think you for the tips. Beautiful work as always!!!


M Douglas
11-19-2007, 10:09 PM
Thank you for such a clear step by step easy to understand demo Paula. This takes away just a tiny bit of my fear of landscapes lol. Oh and I love the winter birches.


11-19-2007, 10:15 PM
Paula, I know a lot of work and prep go into a well thought out WIP, and you did a great job, and a wonderful job for those who have a fear of landscapes. You made all your moves very planned and easy to follow.

Paula Ford
11-20-2007, 05:19 AM
Thank you so much Bhavana, Barb, Melodie, and Tressa!!


Charles Perera
11-20-2007, 06:21 PM
It is a great piece of work Paula, and thank you very much, for being so generous.


Paula Ford
11-20-2007, 06:51 PM
Thank you Charles!!


Jo Castillo
11-20-2007, 07:08 PM
Paula, thanks so much. You know I am always studying your trees. :) this is very nice. You have a pretty good width on your road, now. I found that if it isn't wide enough at the front/bottom of the painting it looks like it is going uphill. So I guess the perspective depends on that. Otherwise it has to come in more from the side. Hard on the flat plain as it takes in so much of the canvas. In the recent workshop I took with Bob Rohm, he puts less and less detail and the front of his landscape just fades out. Here is one (http://www.bobrohm.com/FALL-RIVER.gif) with water sort of the same effect. Couldn't find one with a path. I'm more of a detail person. Yours works well. :)


Paula Ford
11-21-2007, 05:32 AM
Thanks Jo! What a beautiful painting that is also.

I have been meaning to write to you about that accident with my paintings...it was about a little over a month ago that happened.

For all of you who haven't seen my blog, I took a few paintings to the gallery and one afternoon someone came crashing through the front window in an SUV. The driving and Jen, the gallery owner, were not seriously injured, but unfortunately 2 of my paintings were destroyed. One was the demo of the deep autumn woods scene and the other was the demo painting I did at that gallery.


maggie latham
11-21-2007, 06:00 AM
What a great demo. Very well planned. Thank you for sharing…makes me want to try trees also!

Paula Ford
11-24-2007, 07:21 PM
Thanks Maggie!

I updated this painting and think it's finally finished. I put more folliage to the left of the trees to make it not so round, put more sky holes in and also openings so you can see the ground through the trees.

Thanks for looking. I hope this demo has helped.



Jo Castillo
11-24-2007, 11:34 PM
Paula, great finishing touches. This is just super!

11-25-2007, 03:31 PM
wONDERFUL demo Paula....thanks for all your work in doing this!!!and you knocked out a great painting to boot!!

Paula Ford
11-25-2007, 05:54 PM
Thanks Jo and Alicia!!


11-26-2007, 03:16 AM

What a marvelous demo!!! I really like the way you placed the pastels next to the area you were working on.

Thanks so much for sharing!

11-26-2007, 01:29 PM
I updated this painting and think it's finally finished. I put more folliage to the left of the trees to make it not so round, put more sky holes in and also openings so you can see the ground through the trees.

Thanks for looking. I hope this demo has helped.


I notice that you've also changed the road, and it looks very much better ...... disappearing gradually into the horizon ........ thanks again Paula ....

11-26-2007, 04:35 PM
Paula...exceptional job...enjoyed viewing your process! Mike

bruce johnson
11-26-2007, 04:37 PM
Excellent demo Paula.. I really like the watercolour under painting.. fabulous..

Paula Ford
11-26-2007, 07:51 PM
Thank you Binkie, Geoff, Mike, and Bruce!!


11-27-2007, 02:38 PM
Hi Paula,

You're unique, and there can only be one of you in the whole world, but as I promised, I've tried to follow your demo and I've done a poor excuse for a "copy". :lol:

It was great fun, and I learned a lot, thank you so much for posting the demo! :clap:

I had wrong kind of paper of wrong size, wrong pastels of wrong colours, and didn't do any watercolour underpainting, and I printed the demo on the wrong paper (not for photo) so the colours were wrong too.

Wanna see?

Are you sure, real sure?

Thought you would, OK, here's the laugh: :lol:


:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

Tooth was filled real quick, and road is way too pink, but it was the tree I tried to figure out.

Again, thank you so much for providing this wonderful teaching, Paula!

Paula Ford
11-27-2007, 06:25 PM

This is fabulous!! The colors are gorgeous and I love the pink road!! That is what artistic license is all about!!

Beautifully done!!


11-27-2007, 09:28 PM
wow, i missed this one til now, super demo paula!! will look at it plenty more later! thank you for all this effort!

Paula Ford
11-28-2007, 05:24 AM
Thanks Chewie!!


12-04-2007, 05:20 PM

Your demo was absolutely wonderful! The step by steps were so great, as is the end product :D. I'm in love with the colors you used! So, I was off looking at Mount Visions. It seems like a really great set. I was wondering if you had an opinion as to what a good set would be for a beginner who would like to focus on landscapes.

I'm also a huge fan of Elizabeth Mowry so a set of her Poetic Landscape by Girault is also in the running. I was in the Girault/Mt. Vision thread but wasn't sure where you landed in this issue. LOL.

Now I'm off to look for more of your pastels on your website.

Thank you so much for sharing this demo. I might try it with whatever pastel mishmash I have on me :).

Paula Ford
12-04-2007, 08:01 PM
Hello Rain,

Thank you!!! I'm glad you liked the demo!

Gee, I wouldn't know where to start with a beginning set. All I know is what I love which are Mount Visions, Giraults, Polychromos, Schminckes. Those are my favorites. I love lots others, but these are the ones I use all the time.


12-08-2007, 07:57 PM
Great demo. I am just starting back after many years and needed a refresher.

12-08-2007, 11:28 PM
I LOVE your landscapes! They are always so vibrant and lively. Thanks so much for sharing your technique.


12-09-2007, 04:32 AM
That's beatifully done, Paula. I love your choice of colour and your use of complementary colours. Lovely composition as well.

Paula Ford
12-09-2007, 10:15 AM
Thank you Julia, Rita, and Mang!!!


Susan Jenkins
01-16-2008, 03:47 PM
I have studied your demo on this painting over and over. I truly admire your technique and gift!

I was wondering if you used a reference photo for this??... If so I would love to see it. I would like to see how creative you got with color, light and composition.

Thanks for being such an inspiriation!!!....

Oh yea... i took a look at your profile... and NO WAY are you 51!!.. You look great!!

:) Susan Jenkins

Rose Baggs
01-16-2008, 04:53 PM
Wow...this painting is awesome Paula. Thanks for sharing your technique with us. :)

Gail V
01-16-2008, 06:57 PM
Paula - this is an amazing demo! I don't know how I missed it! Glad your post was brought back up to the top. I will mark this one as a favorite so I don't lose it - thanks!!!

Paula Ford
01-16-2008, 09:03 PM
Thank you so much Susan!! I think the photo was originally from the image library, but I have a tendency to start out with good intentions on making a painting look like a photo, but then my mind wanders and it never looks anything like the photo...............thank you so much for the compliment!! That photo was taken a couple of years ago. I should have another taken soon.

Thank you Rose and Gail!!!


01-16-2008, 09:36 PM
Being new to this forum, I am also glad this thread got moved up. Although it's been said already, I just want to add my appreciation for taking the time to do this demo. Being mostly self taught, I have a lot of bad habits and go through a lot of wrong steps before getting things right (or at least "more" right). Demos like yours and others here are a godsend for us "daubers." Beautiful work and Thanks Again!


Paula Ford
01-17-2008, 05:15 AM
Thank you so much Don....and you are very welcome. It is my pleasure to do these demos so we can all share in the learning process.


02-15-2008, 08:06 PM
Great demo and nice to see the pastels used.

Paula Ford
02-15-2008, 10:07 PM
Thanks Julia! Glad you liked it.


02-16-2008, 06:08 AM
I actually came across that ref in the RIL a week ago. It may be in the Fields and meadows section under Landscape. (My short term memory is still SAD.) There were these lovely blue flowers in it, hence Paula's Aqua colours.

02-16-2008, 03:47 PM
Since i am new to pastels, your demo was sooo informative. I love that you included the pastels so we can really relate to the pure color first. Great way to do it.
The picture itself is lovely and I hope I get to see more demos like yours. Lord knows I need them!

02-16-2008, 07:57 PM
Thanks for the demo. Being new to pastel's I especially appreciated it.
Must have taken a lot of time so thanks again.

Paula Ford
02-16-2008, 09:11 PM
Hi Charlie, I think that photo, from the RIL, was originally an old Texas oak tree with lots of bluebonnets, but the painting turned into something else. My mind tends to wander while I'm painting...:lol:

Thank you so much Yvonne and Jim!!


02-17-2008, 06:59 PM
:thumbsup: Thank you! thank you! thank you! for taking the time to do this for us.

This is SO helpful and inspiring. It really is interesting to see the actual pastels laid on the painting. What a great idea. It brings WIP up to a new level.

I look forward to more of these.


02-17-2008, 09:31 PM
WOW Paula how did I miss this, it is a remarkable demo I love it. the colors are great I love the path and that small gap in the distant trees where the path leads to Just wonderful.

Paula Ford
02-18-2008, 10:36 AM
Thank you so much Anne and Scott!!


08-26-2009, 10:29 AM
Hello, Paula ! I hope you`ll forgive me, I couldn`t restrain from trying out your wonderful demo ! I found that the hardest part was sky-holes... After taking several attempts at them,I decided to stop, especially after my daughter`s remark: " Mom, you draw very nicely, this tree is looking like a Christmas tree we had last year! " And then I decided to stop. :lol:
Thank you for a very detailed demo and for sharing,being a newby I cannot thank you enough!

Paula Ford
08-26-2009, 10:37 AM
Hi Elen, You are so very welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed the demo and I must say, you did a superb job on your painting. It's just beautiful! As for the dreaded sky holes, just remember, less is more.

Gorgeous piece!!

08-26-2009, 10:47 AM
All merit goes to you, with so nicely written instruction it is impossible to fail !
Your`s works are truly gorgeous !

08-26-2009, 01:40 PM
Wow.... I've been waiting for you to do a demo Paula. I had no idea there was already one in existence. This is fabulous I'm so glad it has re-appeared. I shall be tackling my future landscapes with renewed enthusiasm to try your techniques. It's definitely going into my bookmarks.

Paula Ford
08-26-2009, 03:50 PM
Thank you Elen! You are very kind!

Hi Carol, Thank you! I think I've done 2 or 3. This one was from a couple of years ago and my work has really changed since then. I promise to do another one soon. My schedule with all the workshops has been kind of hectic.