Eoin O’Connor

A Road less Travelled





Hi Marie and Natasha 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




As you can see this painting is of a square format and can be approached in two different ways

(1) Use a square canvas, anything from 30cm x 30cm upwards

(2) Use a rectangular canvas (50cm x 40cm or larger) and build a square within it

I would suggest approach No 2 using a 50×40 cm canvas for this painting

50cm x 40cm canvas

As the picture you are working off is square then you will have to build a square within the rectangular canvas (see below) As this is a 50 x 40cm canvas, by taking 5cm from each side you will automatically create a square 40x40cm working area

Centre area only will be your working area for now.

Your central area is now your working area so please ignore the remaining left and right areas for the moment until you have your drawing completed

Please divide the remaining centre area into a grid( see below)

5 on top and 5 on sides. Each square will measure 8cm.

Ignore the left and right areas for now

This plan below will show you what I mean. The drawing will be confined to the centre working area only for now but…..

Keeping your drawing in the centre
Inventing the remainder on the left and right areas

…when this is done you then begin to invent what you imagine would be in the remaining left and right areas.

In other words, extending on each side what is there already such as the sky, road and track.

I hope I’ve explained this clearly to you. If you are not sure about anything please ring me at (085)233 7413 with your query between 10 am and 8pm any day.


Using your photograph as your reference, please start your pencil drawing as planned above concentrating only on the centre of the canvas for now (see above grids)

Please use a 4,5,or 6b pencil but do not lean too heavy on your pencil.

Completed pencil drawing in centre of canvas only


After you have completed your drawing with pencil, you should then proceed with a process 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 selected pencil lines.

Making the ink
Inking over some of your pencil lines.

When inking your drawing there are some things worth noting. Never ink clouds, shadows or reflections. These should be left as light pencil lines and dealt with only at the painting stages.

Filling in the remainder as you’d imagine it would be

Now you should be ready to complete the drawing by extending the remaining lines over to the left and right hand sides of the painting just as you would imagine they would be.


We will be starting our painting as we nearly always do with the background which is the furthest colours, the blues of the sky

Applying the French Ultramarine Blue

Sketch out roughly where you would like the white cloud like effect to be taking note of the suns position and the area that is mainly lit up by it (see working photograph below)

As is the case with most skies, they sometimes have to be painted in stages. That is that you may have to allow areas to dry before adding extra touches here and there.

In this case we will use two sky stages.

Start from the left at its darkest, painting the French Ultramarine straight on to the canvas, painting from left to right

The colours are French Ultramarine Blue and White. As you can see the brightest part is obviously the sun and its influence over it’s surroundings and at the edges of the clouds

Working Photograph
Claiming the white edges.

When you have your central area with the sun painted and toned with French Ultramarine Blue and whites, you can now start to put in your cloud boundaries, roughly at first.

Gradually start to tap tone them with each other. That is, that you let the edges of the clouds remain pure white but as you move away from the influence of the light of the sun, allow them to blend back gently to the darker blues.

First of the two sky stages complete

We will come back to the sky later to complete the final stage but firstly I’d like to point out something about this painting. In short, it’s all about toning.

Before we proceed with the middle ground I would like to show you an example of what I mean by this.

I’d like if you could look at the green field at the middle of this painting. We will use this as an example.


Applying the Sap Green on top of a light coat of white

Paint a light coat of white on this field. When you have done this please apply a mix of Sap Green and Yellow and add to the wet white (as above). Be aware that the closer these colours gets to the light, the brighter they get.

Tap toning

Begin to introduce these colours to each other gradually by tap toning (see above)

After tap toning

Top Yellow Field

Repeat the same process on the remaining colours.

Put another light coat of white on the top field . Allow the yellow to be applied from the bottom up, gently toning as you travel up but at the same time making sure you keep the white outline on top right hand fields as this will allow nearby light to exaggerate it’s impact on it

Lower Fields

In the lower fields, the base colour changes so if you look at the example below you will notice that I have selected the brightest colour which is Cadmium Yellow with a little white to be my base coat.

After base coat is applied, we begin to put the darker colours on top, making sure that the darkest of these colours remain at the bottom regions. I am using an orange (Cadmium Red/ Cadmium Yellow).

Applying the orange

The Ditches.

I have a few illustrations to show you how to go about creating these type of ditches

Picture 1

Picture 1 :

Quick pencil sketch

Picture 2

Picture 2:

Apply a little white base coat followed by Viridian Green

Picture 3

Picture 3:

Paint a narrow line of French Ultramarine Blue on the lower part

Picture 4

Picture 4:

Tone them together but allow the white to dominate on the tops. Added extra white highlights may be added at a later stage when surrounding colours are dry


Start to place the ditches in position. Keep the base fairly sharp. If you find the whites aren’t going in as sharp as they should be at the tops of the ditches….don’t worry, we can always put them on when the other colours are dry.

The shadows should now be put in and I used a little French Ultramarine and Raw Umber . You really have to be careful with the shadows. Put on your colours in a small area at first (lighten or darken it to suit) and don’t continue until you are happy with the shade you’ve chosen. A bit of trial and error if you like.

Applying the ditches and shadows

Continue on over to the left but please note that the further away from the light you go, it’s influence on the landscape wanes. For example have you notice that we don’t have the same white outline on the top left hand side fields. Toning remains though in these areas but maybe not as much as the right hand side.

Continuing with the fields


Applying the base coat

As these are toned fields we now have to pick out the brightest colour and use it as a base coat. In this case it’s Lilac (which is made from Crimson Alizeron/ French Ultramarine and White)

Cover the entire area with this Lilac and start to place your darker colours roughly in their specific areas. The colours that I’ve used here are Lilacs, Coeurilium Blue and French Ultramarine Blue with touches of Purple (FU Blue + Crimson Alizeron with a touch of white).

Roughly placing your colours

Make sure you have the field area at it’s darkest at the bottom (see below). This area is now ready for tap toning


Increasing the darker tones at the bottom.
The Field after tap toning and Sap Green / Yellow base coat application

For the next area please select the brightest colour in that particular area which in this case (above) is Sap Green with some Cadmium Yellow.

After tap toning the colours

After applying your green base coat (Sap Green with a little Cadmium Yellow) you are now ready to place your dark colours at the bottom.

The colours I have used here are Sap Green/ French Ultramarine Blue for the dark green areas and for the darker areas please add some extra F.U. blue and Raw Umber

For the lighter highlights you can use some Cadmium Yellow and a little white placed directly on the wet base coat. Tone it gently back into the darker areas

Try to guide your strokes in the direction you see above

Further detail

With a small flat headed sable brush please add some of the extra detail on the wet green areas (see above) The colours I have used for the lines are Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow and Burnt Umber.

Ready for the Lane
Painting the base coats on to the lane before toning

The colours that I have used for the lane are as follows.

Cadmium Yellow (middle) Cadmium Yellow with a little Cadmium Red (as you go lower) and Cadmium Yellow and Cadmium Red (= Orange) as you reach the bottom.

The bright highlights consist of some additional white added to the wet yellow.

Use a small flat head sable brush for application and use a small round head sable brush for toning.

Normally at this stage of a painting we begin to notice some small changes and alterations that we may need to make such as brightening and darkening certain areas.

Don’t worry too much about that now though.

We will be returning to certain areas for final touch-ups at the end of the painting

Toned lane with Orange and Red line detail


The next step is to paint the houses. This will allow us to concentrate on our last two fields and remaining ditches.

Every area of these houses are made up of tones. Note the green roof for example. It hasn’t got just one colour but several, Note also the side gable as it consists of several tones of blue.

The one thing to remember when doing this is that it’s vital that you paint wet on wet. We will take the gable as an example. When I was doing this I painted a light coat of white on at first ,followed immediately by some Coeurilium Blue followed by adding some French Ultramarine Blue.

All were then tap-toned (tapping the round head sable brush) whilst still wet.

The red roof began with an orange base coat with Cadmium Red to be added at the relevant areas with small touch of Raw Umber added to the Cadmium Red for the shadow that the chimney is throwing on the red roof .

The green roof began with Cadmium Yellow with white and a touch of Sap Green.

The chimney pots are painted with Raw Umber with an exaggerated light Coeurilum Blue and white highlights.

Don’t worry too much if your whites look as if they are not white enough. These can be touched up at a later stage when dry.

Painted houses Note the toning.

The windows are painted with Raw Umber with a little French Ultramarine Blue, using a small flat head sable brush.

Use your smallest sable brush at the end (whilst paint is still wet) for the shadow lines at base of red roof and same with the right hand side gable of the green roof. This is to show the white concrete protruding out.


for this you need to decide what are the main colours involved and paint them boldly untoned (see below)

The colours I have used here are Crimson Alizeron, Cadmium Red and White.

Paint on the white colours first at each crest of a hill (see below).

Put on more white than you actually need as you can always close in on it.

The darker red tone is a mixture of Cadmium Red and Crimson Alizeron, The middle pink will be the same but with a lot more white in the mixture.

Placing your colours
Applying some Orange here and there whilst paint still wet

Add a little Orange (Cadmium Red and Cadmium Yellow) to some of the darker pinks. By doing this you are creating an added interest to the rather one dimensional pinks.

Begin to add your blues and purples

After you have finished applying the Orange you can now start to look at the darker colours.

The colours that I have used here are Purple (French Ultramarine , Crimson Alzeron and a small touch of White) Coeurilum Blue and touches of French Ultramarine Blue.

Start with the darker colours at the base and gradually tap tone them upwards towards the lighter colours.

As you are toning up, make sure to take the weight off the brush gradually whilst tapping. This helps to reduce the impact of the blues and purples.

Remember, there here is a need to tone these fields but as you will notice they are not over-toned.


Finished Piece

Run a narrow line of white paint along the crest of the hill.

Paint the remainder in a light violet base coat. I used a small amount of French Ultramarine Blue with a small amount of Crimson Alizeron and White.

Paint the entire area using this base coat ….but don’t put too much paint on.

You will need to begin toning from the bottom left hand corner up towards the top of the hill.

Please use a round headed sable brush when at the toning stage

Start painting on the wet base coat starting with the darkest colour at the corner which is French Ultramarine with a tiny bit of Paynes Grey or an even smaller amount of Black just at the immediate corner. as this area is the darkest.

As you come out of this corner begin to reduce it down to French Ultramarine only and the further out you come the less French Ultramarine blue you use.

As you approach the middle of this area, start to gradually add some Coeurilum Blue bearing in mind that the further up you go the lighter this should get too. If you feel the need to brighten more in places then just add the white directly to your blues on the canvas

Continue to paint right up to the white line leaving a little white on the edges (but not too obvious) to make a broken white edge as I have done (see above)

And finally…. If you look at the picture you will notice that I have added some extra crimson purples mainly in the top middle just for that extra bit of interest.

Overall this area and the areas that appear nearer to us should look a bit patchy and not look to perfectly toned as you will notice on the picture.

I hope you have enjoyed painting your version of this Eoin O’Connor painting as much as I have.