Chris McMorrow

Walking the Gap





Hi Annie, Bee and Michael and welcome to the first of our tutorials following up from our most recent Zoom Class.

This will be a step by step approach.

If you have anything you want advise on or a few extra tips, you can phone me any day at 085 233 7413 between 10am and 8pm


I would suggest a 50×40 cm canvas for this painting which would be a 5 to 4 divide. (you may also use a 40×30 cm canvas but then you must use a 4 to 3 divide)

Dividing your 50cm x 40cm canvas into a 5:4 Ratio (each area =10cm)

Divide your 50×40 cm canvas into the areas shown above and then follow up with the same process on your picture below.

Remember, whatever you do on your canvas, you must also do with your picture


Dividing your picture as you did with your canvas

Look at your picture and see what the most challenging areas are. In this case I’d suggest the areas I am pointing to (see below). What I would suggest you do to make things easier would be to ‘sub-divide these areas like I have done below. It will help you with the most difficult parts of the drawing.

Please remember what I said earlier….whatever you do on the picture you must also repeat on the canvas.

Sub divided areas


After you have completed your drawing with pencil you should then proceed with a process what’s known as ‘inking’

Inking your drawing helps you to see the painting more clearly, stops your pencil line from influencing your colours and takes the intimidating look of a freshly sketched canvas and somehow appearing to make your task ahead a lot easier

To make up the ink you should pour a few drops of white spirits into a jam jar lid and put a little Burnt Sienna paint into your lid mixing them together until you transform your paint into a flexible ink like mixture, not too strong or not too weak, just enough to allow your smallest paintbrush to glide over your pencil lines.

Making the ink

This is what you should end up with. You will notice that I haven’t included the figures yet. That’s just because I prefer to include them after the backgrounds are completed so as to not interrupt the flow of paint behind them. You may prefer to include them as you are going along and that is perfectly OK too.

Sketched and inked without the figures for the moment. Note the sub-divisions


Welcome back.

Applyisky and mountain base coatsng the

Please paint in the sky first on a light white base coat without the clouds as these can be looked at a later stage when sky is dry.

Please use some Coeurelum Blue making sure it’s darker at the top ,gradually brightening coming lower using slightly more white to your blue as you drop down.

The mountain on the left is mainly painted with French Ultramarine Blue with some Lilac (Purple and White) Paint it on freely at this stage with a flat topped brush. We are not interested in detail at this point. We can worry about that later.

As things get lighter the further away they appear to be, the same will apply here. The mountain in the distance can be painted with some lilac mixed with extra white to make it appear further from the left hand side.

Once again do not be overtly fussy at this stage.

Tapping in some detail

We should be now looking at the nearer area on the right hand side (see above) As its getting closer to us the colours become increasingly more vivid which means less white.

In this case here I have roughly put a slightly darker purple base coat followed by some Sap Green with some Raw Umber and slight touches of Paynes Grey. This will have the effect of ‘earthing’ down the greens. These can be refined again later.

Add a little white also if the colour looks a little too imposing.

Remember this area is the nearest of the three areas so the colours should look a little cleearer than the distant ones.

You may notice some additional strokes on the other two mountains. These are some extra whites applied to the base coat whilst it’s still wet as well as some Sap Green/Cadmium Yellow marks on the mountain on the left.


Washing a Raw Umber

For the next part we need to create a ‘wash’

Please mix some white spirits with some Raw Umber and break it down to a liquid state. This will enable it to dry within 10-15 minutes.

Be very careful to get the balance right here. If it’s too thick it won’t dry quickly enough and if too wet it will look to watery.

Placing the colours on the dry wash (Sap Green with some Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre and a little white)
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In the picture you will notice that the landscape is basically a collection of colours placed alongside each other.

As I’ve said in the past you must at this stage try to concentrate on the area you are working on as just a collection of colours.

Try not to think of it as grasses, soil, rocks, weeds etc, just a collection of colours.

Look closely at the colours and try to identify as many as you possibly can.

The colours that I have chosen are as follows.

Sap Green/Cadmium Yellow.

Sap Green / Cadmium Yellow and white (all of these at various degrees of lighter and darker.

Sap Green, Raw Umber, Purple (Crimson alizeron and French Ultramarine Blue) and Orange (Cadmium Red/Cadmium Yellow with touches of white)

Raw Umber brown with Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna.

Yellow Ochres are also used in many little spots.

Rocks are basically White at first with Purples and Blues added later in varying degrees.

Make sure to make these colours earthy by adding appropriate amounts of Raw Umber and maybe touches of Paynes Grey.

It’s surprising just how many colours there is alone in the make up of the rocks.

Try to identify as many as you can and use them.

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Tapping in the colours with a flat sable brush

Try to leave the outline of the posts but do not allow them to stem the flow of your background paint .

Start to paint all of the colour combinations you can see but don’t try to blend them immediately.. You can do this when you’re satisfied with your placements.

Placing the colours side by side before blending the necessary areas with a round head brush

This next bit isn’t as challenging as it looks. All of the colour combinations have been placed and now they have been blended together along with the stone and some of the boulder.

For blending please use round head brush.

The Posts are painted in after the landscape. Please use a flat head sable brush for this as it leaves a crisp edge. Make sure you use yellow Ochre /White with a tiny little bit of Raw Umber as the base.

As you need a 3D effect please make sure to darken the left hand sides of the posts and an exaggerated highlight on the right and some tops

The next step is to cover the remaining areas with the appropriate washes (see below)

An oil painting ‘wash’is made up of mainly white spirit and a little of the most common colour in the area that you will be working on.

As you can see I have chosen three areas, bottom left, road and right hand side.

The colours on the bottom left are a little Burnt Sienna, a little Raw Umber and White with the spirits

The right hand side is mainly a little Raw Umber with a tiny touch of Burnt Umber with the spirits.

The lane I figured was a lot brighter so I added some White with a tiny touch of French Ultramarine Blue and spirits.

If used correctly (that is to have a mostly liquid consistency ) it should be dry in less than 15 minutes.

Washing the Canvas


Spread a rich base of white roughly where you think the rocks are. Put more on than you think you might need as you can also close in on it with the greens/yellows etc later on.

Try to identify as many colours as you can. I spotted Purples, Dark Blues, Paynes Grey even some moss like greens (Yellow Ochre/ Yellow with a touch of Sap Green)

Place these colours where you think they should go. Do not over work them as this can result in the areas becoming too muddy

Make sure you are aware where you want to show sides and tops as sides tend to have the darker colours and tops have the brights.

I have used a small palette knife for this as you want to maintain a flatness to the rocks

Short sharp strokes mainly horizontal at the tops and downward strokes on the sides to emphasize the ‘flatness’ and the ‘drop’

Pulling the Stroke in an Upwardly Direction

Use a Yellow Ochre Cadmium Yellow mix for the ground base coat.

Place the remaining colours on top.

The colours I have used are colours that I’ve spotted by looking closely at the working photograph. Sap Greens, Spatters of Orange, Viridian Greens (small amounts) Burnt Sienna Burnt and raw Umbers with touches of whites.

Place the colours and when placed please use an upward stroke near the base of the painting (to show growth) but as you move up the painting these strokes should become shorter as by moving upwards we are moving away and won’t see as much of the detail.

All of this of course should be done when all paints are wet.


Road and Immediate Side on the Right

Paint a rich white base coat on the road and place your colours on top. A flat head brush is used at this stage with mainly horizontal strokes.

Again, examine what colours are to be placed on the wet paint and place accordingly.

The ones I have used are Lilac (Purple and White). Burnt and Raw Umbers in very small amounts, hints of yellowsand all to blend with their surrounds.

The Road verge should look rougher the nearer we are to it but in the distance it will look far sharper (see above)


Starting the Right Hand Side with Base Coat

Now we place our colours. I have used French Ultramarine, Blue-purples, Crimson-purples, Raw Umber, Yellow Ochres and touches of Sap Green

Roughly place these colours in their appropriate areas with soft flat head sable brush.

Applying various colours roughly in their areas

Help them along with a palette knife for added texture and effect (see below).

Use palette knife for extra texture and effect and add trees on the right side of lane


Add a dark green shade wherever you want to put the trees. To get the dark green I have used Sap Green with French Ultramarine Blue with Raw Umber.

When you are satisfied with your dark green placements, begin to add the bright green tree tops and edges.

Place these directly on the darks along with some Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ochre touches.

If you look closely at these areas on your working photo or print you will notice these extra colours


Tear a piece of paper roughly along the shape of the hill on the left hand side.

Torn paper

Place paper along the outline of the hill.

Tapping some white paint on edge of paper

When this is done use your forefinger to tap in the mist and gradually reduce your tapping pressure the further right you go

Using finger to blend gently into it’s surroundings

Now, we are almost there. I have decided not to include the figures but you can do so if you wish.

I will show you how to do this after we have finished this painting. We are almost there now only to add necessary touch-ups.

Almost there.
Touch ups complete

I have now completed this painting.