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

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!

Help a Human Trafficking Victim Go to College

This post is going to be very different from my usual ones. I have a friend, Kai, who is one of the most courageous people I have ever met. She was raised in Asia, and is an overcomer of human trafficking. At this time, she is trying to get her M.S. in Social Studies in the United States, was accepted at a top university, but then discovered that she needs to provide an affidavit that proves she has $128,500 before she can study here.

I don’t have that much money, and in fact, know very few AMERICANS who do.

If you would like to learn more, here is the link to her indiegogo funding site.

I have known Kai for years, and she is for real. This is a subject that I am very emotional about. In fact, awhile back, I painted a picture dedicated to these brave survivors, Below is the picture; I call it the “Tired Child” and it represents the hopelessness that these children feel in their world.

oil painting of a young child in a red doorway

“Tired Child” oil, 16 X 20

Next week I’ll go back to my regular posts, but felt I needed to share this. Also, please share this link with others, to help get the word out. Thank you!