Adam Houston

American Impressionist Oil Painter

Barnsley Tree VI

I finally felt like I was getting it on this one. Still not what I want but things just seemed to click. More than anything it was the shadows at the bottom that help me understand what to paint. I did this one on a Wooden panel too. First time I’ve every worked with that. It’s basically a piece of MDF that you gesso over and then paint on. It’s a totally different surface to work on. Incredibly smooth.

Getting There

This one was in the same boat as 226 where it was almost an experimental . This one has the false meadow added in and then I pulled it back to reality. ┬áSo there are some layers to this one but it’s where I finally felt like I started to understand the composition.


No. 226 is horrendous but ended up being important. I did an incredibly careful underpainting, added color and was disappointed (again) by the results. This time, I decided that the composition could have been what was causing the problem. If it’s fundamentally flawed then no one could paint it, right?

So, I trimmed the bushes in the front, added a meadow in the back and a tree line in the distance. I worked it like crazy. And it still stunk.

The good news is that those changes helped things start clicking. I ended up using this one as sort of a frankenpainting for the remaining four to test colors and ideas. So the bushes grew again, the meadow disappeared and it shifted to a sunset. I had to be content with this one being a disaster so that the future ones could be better.

In Search of Subtle

I liked 224 alright, but it felt too primary. It felt too loud and I wanted to explore how to make it more subtle. I wanted to try something where the greens were more muted and knocked back. So with 225 I did a normal Burnt Sienna underpainting and then used a limited color palette on top of that. During this exploration I also decided to ignore or blend the background with the sky and make it all a warm yellow. In the end it feels a little too murky but it was good to try this and see what a whole new color palette could do to the tone.