Landscape step by step – preparation

Time for another series, as I go through all of the steps involved in painting a landscape.

In this post I’ll show you how I set up my painting area, and all the tools and equipment I use.


The first thing I do is choose a reference photo. For this one I’m using a photo I took at Burbage Brook a couple of years ago:


I open this in the free Photoshop Express app on my iPad, and crop it using the same proportions as my canvas (in this case 10×7 inches):


Then I clip my iPad to the side of my easel using the awesome iPad mini clamp I bought recently:


Painting surface

I then take my canvas (in this case oil painting paper), and tape it loosely to the board on my easel with masking tape:


I position the tape so there’s only a thin strip of it attached to the edges of the paper:


Then I place longer strips of masking tape right along the edges of the paper, creating a frame around the painting area. This allows me to pull of the long strips of tape when the painting is finished, and the smaller pieces of tape will still keep the canvas in place:



I select the colours I will use in the painting. In this case I’m going for a limited palette of Cadmium Red Light, Ultramarine Blue Deep, Yellow Ochre (warm yellow), Cadmium Yellow Lemon (cool yellow) and Titanium White:


I squeeze out a decent amount of each colour onto my palette. It’s always best to use fresh paint for each painting session, as the paint can become stiff if you leave it out in the open for too long:


Painting medium

I have my painting medium (in this case walnut oil) in a small metal pot clipped to the side of my palette. Make sure you leave the lid on between dips to avoid evaporation:



Finally I select the brushes I’ll use for the painting. Here I’m using my favourite ProArte long flats, sizes 8, 6 and 4:


Now I’m all set up and ready to begin, the next step is sketching in the scene. Stay tuned!





  1. Marius Avatar

    Woah… This sounds easy. But whenever I try it, I lose focus and get confused before sketching. Looks like I’ll write down these instructions somewhere and try to diligently follow them next time.

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