How to Paint an Old Barn: Steps 5-8

Old Michigan Painting, oil painting by Yeshua's Child Art studio

Old Barn Painting final

Here are the next steps in painting the above old barn painting (I decided to show the finished product first!)

Step 5: Adding More Details 

picture of adding more barn and background detail to oil painting of barn

Step 5: adding barn and background detail

As you can see, in this step I added some of the background trees, and some more detail to the barn itself. I like to get my center of focus well in hand before doing the foreground. I added more mixes of burnt umber and ultramarine blue for darks in the barn, and added highlights of ultramarine blue, cerulean blue and titanium white to the roof. The background trees got scrubbed in with a bit of burnt sienna, burnt umber and cerulean mixes.

Step 6: starting the Foreground

Adding a rusty disc tool and grasses to the foreground

Adding a rusty disc tool and grasses to the foreground

Okay, I felt like the painting needed “something more” so I added a rusty old disc tool to the foreground, and have started putting in some of my grasses, using mixes of burnt sienna and yellow ochre, along with ultramarine blue for darks.

Step 7: Adding More Foreground and Barn Detail

adding yet more details to the foreground and barn

Step 7: Adding Foreground and Barn details

At this point, I keep going in with mixes of burnt umber, yellow ochre, and my blues for the grasses; and with the previously described colors for the barn, to add in more details. I pulled some cerulean hints into the grasses for color harmony.

For Step 8: I add my darkest darks (burnt umber and black mix) to the barn and old disc-er, add more grass details and highlights, with the finished product at the beginning of this post.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson in how to paint an old barn!

How to Paint an Old Barn: Steps 1 – 4

I decided to paint another old barn for my “Barns of Michigan” series of oil paintings. And also decided to photograph the process for readers, to show the steps in creating a realistic old barn in oils.

Step 1: Block in the sky and ground areas

blocking in sky and ground in an old barn painting lesson

Old Barn Painting Step 1

In any landscape painting, it is critical to decide how much sky you will have, and also determine the main colors. I usually block in the sky first, using a mix of cerulean blue, ultramarine blue, and titanium white, with a hint of burnt umber for cloud shadows, and also do a warm underpainting (yellow ochre, burnt sienna, cad. yellow light) for my ground.

Step 2: Sketch in the barn

Old Barn oil painting lesson: step 2 sketching in the barn

Old Barn Painting: Step 2

This next step is critical: getting the perspective and shape right. I try to do the best possible sketch at this point, using perspective. I will rework some areas later, but I am sitting the barn where I want it in the picture at this point, using ultramarine blue to sketch it in.

Step 3: Blocking in the Barn Main Shapes

blocking in the barn areas and colors in this free oil painting lesson

Old Barn Oil Painting Step 3

Now, I start painting in the barn and roof, blocking in the initial colors, and getting some of the darks in for old boards and missing board areas. It’s starting to look like a barn now. I use burnt sienna, burnt umber, and ultramarine blue, for the barn boards; and use these same colors mixed with titanium white and a bit of cerulean blue on the roof. Right now, I’m just “roughing in ” the shape of the barn; detail will come later with other layers. This will sit overnight to dry.

Step 4: adding more detail to side wall

Old Barn oil painting lesson: adding detail to the barn walls

Old Barn Painting: Step 4

Now for the fun part: adding more detail to the roof and side of the barn. I do this by adding darks (burnt umber, ultramarine blue) and lights (burnt sienna, yellow ochre, burnt umber and a hint of white) to detail the boards more. This is when the sketch done earlier shows: the perspective “makes’ the picture in a sense.

In the next steps, I will be adding the foreground and more details.

Peaceful Afternoon by the Baldwin River

I love the fact that spring is really in full swing here after a long and cold winter; it’s sunny and the moss is growing on the front lawn; irises and tulips are putting up leaves. So, I decided to do an outdoor painting, based on a photo I took of my side lawn and some outdoor chairs last summer.

oil painting of lawn chairs in the woods near Baldwin, MI

Peaceful Afternoon on the Baldwin River, oil, 16 X 20, (c)2015

I wanted to capture the feel of afternoon light on the grass and trees, and had a lot of fun with this one!

Palette used: yellow ochre, burnt sienna, titanium white, ultramarine blue, sap green, cad. yellow light, raw umber

Learn How to Paint a Bird – and Help Someone Deserving

I am trying to help my friend, Kai, raise funds to come to the U.S. and study for her master’s in social work. As mentioned previously, she is a victim of human trafficking, who is dedicating her career to helping others break free of this vicious cycle.

Curious blue jay looking at ice on a stump

Birds of Michigan: Curious Jay (c)2014 11X14 oil painting

To help out, I am willing to offer 4 painting lessons (including critiques and suggestions on improvement) to those who would like to learn how to paint a bird of their choice – either your photo, or one of mine, to the first 11 people who read this post, and donate $20 or more to her campaign on indiegogo (click here to visit her page). I have to limit the number of people to 11, to give you the time and attention you would deserve.

If you do choose to do so, please contact me by email at to let me know that you would like your lessons.

The lessons will include:

  • How to sketch a bird and rough out the background, including tips on good design
  • Blocking in your colors, with tips on the types and sizes of brushes to use, how to mix the colors, and how to get the values blocked in
  • Up to 3 critiques of your painting
  • How to get the “fine details” that will make your painting stand out.
  • Feather patterns and how to portray them
  • Color harmony
  • Using the background to make a better painting (some landscape painting tips)

I look forward to helping other artists with learning how to paint birds, one of my favorite subjects.

And to helping a friend who really deserves it.

Barns of Michigan: Old Red Barn

I am working on a “Barns of Michigan” series where I highlight some of the beautiful old barns that are everywhere up here. I admit it: the older it is, the more I like it. Below is one that I painted recently, I call it simply “Old Red Barn.” Unfortunately, my cheap little camera doesn’t take good photos, it changed some of the hues, so this week…I’m buying a better camera!

painting of an old red barn in northern Michigan

Barns of Michigan: Old Red Barn, oil painting 16 X 20 by Yeshua’s Child Art

I did enjoy painting the textures on this one, it was fun, and the sky reflections on the roof. I also love golden colors, and so did the tree in autumnal golds.

Just for Fun: Group Abstract Canvas

I have a friend who is really creative, and she invited a bunch of us to create an abstract painting using some old canvas and free paint that was given to her (old leftover remnants of paint in cans). So, a bunch of us got together this weekend at my house, and had the best time taking paintbrushes and flinging paint on the canvas. We all took several turns, and it was a wonderful outlet.

Here’s the result:

an abstract painting by a group of people having fun

Group painting using latex and enamel paints on canvas

I think it turned out pretty cool. Most of all, we all had a blast. This could be a fun project for others: just go find a bunch of paint cans with remnants, some cheap brushes and fling away!