October Harvest Demo

Armand Cabrera

I was drawn to this image of this old tractor with the pumpkins in the foreground. It has a timeless quality to it. Because this was on private property I first asked permission to paint there. The owner was very accommodating and allowed me to go ahead and set up and paint.

I set up and chose an 11×14 panel. I wanted the tractor to be the main focus with the pumpkins leading you into the painting. I started by massing in the main areas of the painting with some perspective lines for the foreground.

I am careful to get the value of each area correct. These flat poster-like shapes of value are what hold the areas together and will still be visible in the finished painting.

I work large to small so once the main shapes are established I begin to model the smaller areas and forms within the big shapes. I look for hue, temperature and saturation changes as opposed to more value changes. Most of the time painters break up the initial value pattern with too many value changes, this fractures the over all composition and weakens the paintings unity. To avoid this I constantly check my choices comparing their relative color and value and size against the rest of the established areas.

I’m ready for the pumpkins; I begin with a mid-tone color for their group mass and then model the pumpkins forms add some more modeling to the vines and tilled ground. I now soften edges throughout the painting where appropriate.

Vienna Art Society Painting Demonstration

The demo I did today was well attended. Everyone was very polite and asked lots of great questions. I painted a 20×24 painting from an 8×10 sketch in a little less than two hours.

The threats of my friends to show up with air horns and heckle never materialized which was a blessing.



Great Falls Painting Demo

By Armand Cabrera

Since moving to Virginia two years ago this has become one of my favorite painting spots. The falls are spectacular any time of year and always make challenging subject matter.

Because of the angle of the sun I painted this 11×14 panel in full sunlight. Although this can be tricky for some I believe as long as you keep your palette and painting in the sun and you carefully measure the value relationships between objects you shouldn’t have any problems.

My palette for this painting consists of Viridian, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin,
Cadmium Red, Light Cadmium Yellow, Hansa Yellow and Utrecht White This is the largest palette I use and I felt it necessary to capture the water and rocks in all their color.

With a number 8 flat bristle brush I start with a horizontal line to establish the base of the falls and quickly begin to place the major shapes of the painting checking for relative size as I go.

Once I am satisfied I have the elements correctly I mass in an average tone for each shape according to color and value At this point the paint is still relatively thin.

I start building form out of my shapes looking for hue and temperature changes. I also loosely establish the wave patterns for the rushing water as it leaves the falls.

The rocks to the left of the falls are in direct sunlight with almost no shadows so I describe their form with color changes. I refine other elements as I go trying not to focus on one area because of the light changing.

I have switched to a number 6 flat brush and continue to refine areas. After watching the water I get a sense of its rhythm and paint what I think are the elements that capture the movement. I paint the sky and trees behind the falls keeping them simple so they don’t distract from the scene.

At the very last I use a number 4 b flat brush and add accents where I think
appropriate. I also take my big brush and refine the rocks with a more
careful observation and rework a couple of the waves with more definition.

While I was wrapping up my picture these two kayakers came over the falls.
I Thought I would include it because it gives you a sense of scale of the scene.
You can see the second kayak to the left in the pool above the falls.
Both men made it with no problem.

The finished painting Winter Great Falls 11×14 oil on linen on birch board. My painting time from start to finish is an hour and ten minutes.

Hilton Head Workshop Demo

Armand Cabrera

This demo was completed on Thursday during my week long workshop in Hilton Head. I would like to thank Barbara and Judy for sharing their pictures for use in this article.
For this scene I chose a 16×20 canvas. I painted in full sunlight because the filtered shade under the trees kept changing causing me to constantly shift my easel.

My palette colors for this painting were Cobalt blue, Prussian Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Permanent, Cad Red light, Cad Yellow Light, Cad Lemon, and Utrecht White

I start with a simple line to establish the shadow color of the trees on the opposite shore of the marsh. Once this color is laid down I go ahead and put in the general tone and color of the marsh.

I design some color patterns in the marsh grasses with a green that is the same value as my initial marsh color. Once that is done I start on the sky. I block in the sky color and the shadow tone of the clouds. The clouds are moving and changing constantly so I don’t try to copy their forms, instead I use what I see to design them in the painting.

While working on the clouds I see the incoming tide is changing my fore ground so I switch to the marsh and design the water patterns in the marsh starting with the sky color.

The trees have beautiful patterns of light and shadow as the clouds pass overhead and I design these shadow areas in my painting.

I finish by adjusting edges and small accents all over the painting and I put in the reflections from the clouds

The finished painting ‘High Tide’ 16×20 oil on canvas
The complete time for the painting from start to finish was one hour. During my workshops I demo every day, I always limit my demo time to maximize students painting time in class; usually spending no more than an hour and a half on a workshop demo.

Massies Corner Demo

Armand Cabrera

1. This is a beautiful overlook about twenty minutes from where I live. Many people and galleries claim an aversion to green paintings. I have always painted them and enjoy the challenge of capturing the different shades of green.
It was a perfect spring day and I decided to paint a medium sized 24×30 canvas. This is a preparatory painting for a larger 30×40 version that I will also paint from life.

2.I quickly draw my main areas in with a large brush. I’ve exaggerated the height ratio of the mountain to increase its drama and I’ve sloped the foreground more than it really is to create opposing angles in the design.

3.Starting with the mountain I block in the shadow shifting its color attributes as it comes forward towards the middle ground. The middle ground is also established increasing the contrast and color saturation between the elements compared to the background.

4.I finish off the sky color and then rough in the foreground grasses making sure to capture the temperature shifts and warmer hues.

5.Starting in the background I develop the form of the mountain and the middle ground trees by adding the sunlit sides to the geometric planes that are the underlying structure there.

6.Working on the foreground trees I model their shapes and add details. I also add detail to the foreground grasses. At this stage I continue to develop details for another twenty minutes.

7.The finished painting ‘Massies Corner’ 24×30 oil on linen. Working from big to small back to front I am able to finish the painting in just over three hours. By mixing my greens and carefully orchestrating their temperature and hue I’ve avoided the monotony green paintings can succumb to.