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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > February 19 > Out in the landscape

Out in the landscape

Hester Berry demonstrates how to capture the landscape in oils, working alla-prima, and shares the details of her sketching kit

The location you choose for your painting could be somewhere that means a lot to you, somewhere you are familiar with, or it could be a chance encounter. Always be ready to capture those transient moments – I keep minimal kit with me at all times; it takes up little space and encourages sketching and doodling

If you are unsure of where to start, I suggest finding somewhere that includes a hint of human presence, such as a path, a road, a fence, or a building seen from afar. Water, even puddles, will bring light into your composition. Think about a progression from foreground into the distance, or at least a hint of foreground. These are devices that you might naturally tend towards, as they mimic subconscious primordial preferences to do with ideal environments and a feeling of safety.

Underpainting and first layers

I like to work on primed wooden boards as they offer more resistance than canvas, and I lay down a ground colour so that it is dry when I want to start. I always choose a mid-tone, warm, neutral colour, a mixture of burnt sienna, yellow ochre and whatever green I have kicking about on my dirty palette. This will set off anything that goes on top, and is especially useful in making the sky appear bright, cool and fresh. It also makes it psychologically easier to make the first mark when you start the painting.

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About The Artist

Enjoy developing your skills and techniques with The Artist. Written by artists and top tutors, for experienced amateur painters and aspiring professional artists, this month's issue offers stage-by-stage demonstrations, illustrated tips and techniques for drawing and painting in watercolour, pastels, acrylic, mixed media, oils and gouache. Learn new techniques for painting winter landscapes, characterful portraits, still lifes, spring flowers and animals. There's also an article encouraging you to step out of your comfort zone to paint unfamiliar subjects and an interview with Professor Christopher Orr MBE, RA revealing his approach to his unusual subject matter and working methods. Plus our marketing expert advises on how to use apps to facilitate your social media posts to help get your work noticed. And when you've completed your best work, why not enter it into our 2019 Open competition for the chance to see your work exhibited, published and win one of over 40 fantastic prizes! Full details are on pages 12 to 13 . Enjoy!