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Sunshine in the Dales

Having just painted a large watercolour, I then had a commission for a large acrylic as well. It was also to be on a gallery-wrap canvas, which was something I hadn't tried before.

The brief was for a painting based loosely on a photograph of a Yorkshire Dales landscape. I used to live in that area, so it was a subject I was very familiar with.

Stage 1
I did a few pencil sketches to try out different compositions and then drew the outlines onto the canvas.

Thumbnail sketches

Rough outline
I started the painting by establishing all the darkest areas.

Stage 2

Stage 3
Then I covered the rest of the canvas with loosely applied paint for the middle-valued areas. The lightest values were left as white canvas.

Stage 3

Stage 4
From this rough groundwork I then continued to build up thicker and stronger colours.

Stage 4

Stage 5

Stage 6

Stage 7
At this point I reassessed the painting and saw a few things that needed changing. The woodland on the hill was too dark in tone, so I scumbled over it with white and a little bit of blue to make it look more distant. The middle-distance fields looked a bit empty, so I added more field boundaries to break up that area more. I also repositioned the barn. In the foreground, I felt that the colours were too bright and the river was too straight. A few glazes took care of the colours and a few stony areas made the river more interesting. The final touches were some birds in the sky and sheep in the fields.

Sunshine in the Dales, Acrylic, 51 x 76 cm

Finally, I had to paint the sides of the canvas, so that the painting continued around the edge. I probably should have done that earlier, but I didn't want to stop to take the canvas off the easel.


  1. Keith, this is outstanding. I love to see a good WIP and they don't come better than this. The final painting is wonderful. I like the good sense of distance and the way the river leads the eye into the scene. The way you softened the edge of the river by adding stones, and other small changes like the barn, the sheep and the field boundaries all added beautifully to the composition. Excellent work.

  2. Thanks John, I was thinking of you when you said that you hoped to see more WIPs.

  3. Hi there Keith!... What a wonderful guided "walk through" the stages for this striking landscape!

    It clearly reveals the pains-taking layering you carried out to arrive at the final image... and the varied areas of detail as they slowly emerged. Very interesting to be looking over your shoulder...HA HA!!

    A wonderfully informative post Keith.... and another Tilley panoramic gem!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

    Your client must be very happy with the rsult

  4. Hi Bruce, glad you liked looking over my shoulder. Maybe one day we'll be able to paint side-by-side.

    Yes the client was very happy. I believe a few tears were shed (for the right reasons!).

    All the best,

  5. Happy New Year Stuart. I wonder whether the subject looks familiar to you. I don't think I've altered it too much and I think it was somewhere in Langstrathdale.

  6. Wonderful painting Keith! I loved following the WIP but was not prepared for the final painting, I thought it was the photo and I mean that is the nicest way!. As you will see I have had to start a new Blog, would love to have you with me as a friend. :)

  7. Thanks Ingrid, the painting really came together in the final stages.

    I've joined your blog and I've also shared it on Google+.

  8. It`s a cracker Keith. The about to be owner will be overjoyed with this landscape, it`s brilliant. glad to see you do an Acrylic painting. Well done and all the best Keith.

  9. Keith...magnificent paintings of landscapes, bright


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