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Step by Step Oil Painting Tutorial
'Old Olive Tree Path'
by John O'Keefe Jr.

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COMPOSITION AND MATERIALS

Painting tutorial for 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr. - reference Victorian engraving
Victorian engraving

This was my 12th painting. This painting was a direct study of an old Victorian engraving. It had been several weeks since I last painted and I wanted to do a small warm-up painting. Up until this time trees had been a little difficult for me so I decided this study would be centered around trees. When I came across the Victorian engraving below I knew it was the scene I wanted to paint. I researched the Internet for color photographs of olive trees so that I would have a good color reference. The clouds I intended to use were taken from a photograph that Jennifer had taken one afternoon in our neighborhood. The painting is relatively small at 8 x 10 inches.

  • Support: Pre-Stretched & Mounted Medium Textured Cotton Canvas (Acrylic Primed)
  • Size: 8 x 10 inch
  • Medium: Winsor & Newton 'Artist Oils' Professional Grade Oil Paints
    (Ivory Black, Titanium White, French Ultramarine Blue, Sap Green, Raw Sienna, and Burnt Sienna)
  • Finish: Winsor & Newton Dammar varnish

STEP-BY-STEP OIL PAINTING

Painting tutorial for 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr. - Day 1

Day 1

I always begin a landscape painting with the sky. I knew a large group of trees would be on the right side of this scene so as you can notice I did not paint any clouds in that area - only the blue of the sky is visible on the right. After the sky and clouds looked complete, I blocked in the foreground, the large body of water, and the distant peninsula.


Painting tutorial for 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr. - Day 2

Day 2

Once satisfied with the background elements of the painting, I started adding the trees and shadows.


Painting tutorial for 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr. - Day 3

Day 3

Now I'm really focused on painting the trees. I was attempting to follow the engraving as closely as possible. The Victorian engraving was perfect for the Hudson River School style of painting that I'm trying to develop.


Painting tutorial for 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr. - Day 4

Day 4

The distant tree on the right was painted darker so that when the closer tree was added there would be a noticeable contrast between the two. I think the effect was working nicely at this point.


Painting tutorial for 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr. - Day 5 digital edits

Day 5 (Digital Edits)

This is a digital update done on my computer. Seeing minor changes on the computer is easier and less risky than updating the real painting. The distant shoreline is more defined, the horizontal plane of the shoreline now carries out into the ocean, and the forward right tree trunk now has more highlights so that it 'pops'. There is also more sunlight that is passing through the tree leaves and branches making a nice array of shadows on the ground.


Painting tutorial for 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr. - Day 6

Day 6

Day 6 was about implementing the digital edits from the previous day.

STEP BY STEP ANIMATION

Painting tutorial for 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr. - Day 6 Painting tutorial for 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr. - Day 5 Painting tutorial for 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr. - Day 4 Painting tutorial for 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr. - Day 3 Painting tutorial for 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr. - Day 2 Painting tutorial for 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr. - Day 1

FINISHED PAINTING

Finished oil painting: 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr.
Finished oil painting:
'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr.
  • Finished oil painting: 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr.
  • Finished oil painting with frame: 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr.
  • Finished oil painting with frame on display: 'Old Olive Tree Path' by John O'Keefe Jr.
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About the Author...
     John specializes in landscape oil painting done in a style similar to the famous Hudson River School and Victorian era artists. He also specializes in reproduction painting frames, framing supplies and Giclee prints of his landscape paintings.
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