Vincent van Gogh once said that "If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere." We find this to be true for our featured artist slash climber Alexandra Rubio of IG: @alexandra.rubio.art who makes beautiful paintings out of her many outdoor adventures.
Today, she'll be taking us through the process of turning her unique experiences into art. Read on below to get invaluable tips and techniques from this wonderful artist! Take it away, Alexandra!
My name is Alex from @alexandra.rubio.art! I am an acrylic painter and avid rock climber who paints from experiences in the great outdoors. In this tutorial I will describe my thought process behind this landscape of Luther Pass Campground in South Lake Tahoe, CA!
Even if that just means stepping outside your house. I always paint places and things that I’ve personally seen in order to have a meaningful connection with my art. Recently, I camped in South Lake Tahoe and I wanted to create something that represented the gorgeous views from our campground. I chose this photo as a reference because the harsh morning light created interesting shapes with the shadows.
STEP 2: Plan
I spend a good amount of time planning the composition with small sketches and color swatches. This helps me through the actual painting phase so I make less mistakes and waste less paint. Since I work mainly with primary colors, I use this time to determine which mixes of color I plan on using for each part of the painting.
STEP 3: Top to bottom
I tend to work from top to bottom, starting with the sky. This sky is an an Ultramarine and Phthalo blue mix, which I also add into the shadows of the mountain range. I do this because objects viewed from long distances tend to share the same blue color of the atmosphere, a technique also known as aerial perspective. Throughout this painting I make sure to keep further objects more grey and blue, while closer objects are more saturated and yellow.
STEP 4: Dark to Light
I almost always start by painting the shadows first then adding highlights last. I paint mountain ranges by gradually layering lighter paint to indicate where the sun is hitting the rock. Again, I make this portion of the painting more grey since the mountain is farther away from the viewer.
STEP 5: Adding Trees
I continue down the painting, now adding the background forest. These trees are a mixture of phthalo green and some of the blue mixture used for the sky (aerial perspective). Since the trees are so far away, I omit details and layer vertical lines in order to indicate many trees.
STEP 6: Composition
As I paint, I continue to think of the composition. While I may sometimes get caught up in the details, I believe a good composition is what draws the viewer in. Here I layed out where the important shadows and trees will go, paying attention to the lines they create so the viewers eyes flow around the painting.
STEP 7: Contrast in closer objects
The closer an object is, the more saturated in color it becomes. In order to make the foreground forest appear closer to the viewer, I add more contrast to the trees with a darker blue-red as the shadows, and a deep yellow-green mix as highlights. To make the bushes appear even closer, I increase the vibrancy in the highlights by using an almost pure phthalo green and yellow.
STEP 8: Rocks and Shrub
I start working on the rocks and shrubs. Again, I’m working from dark to light, paying attention to where I place my highlights so it appears the sun is rising from the right.
STEP 9: Signature
I only sign my paintings if its beneficial for the composition. I noticed the right portion of the sky looked a bit empty, so I decided to hide my signature there using a lighter sky color.
STEP 10: Details
I admit that while I love the entire process of painting landscapes, the last 1 to 2 hours of the painting are my favorite because I love adding in little details.
And, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading this tutorial!
CHECK OUT THE FINISHED PIECE BELOW:
Have a question about this process? Comment below and we'll do our best to answer you!
To see more of Alex's work, visit her on the following channels: