How I painted this commission piece of Mount Royal
I’ve recently completed this commission for a good friend of mine. I absolutely loved this one because it was all about capturing a special memory and place. After months of travel, Mount Royal (and Canada in general) was somewhere he wanted to remember most and I was the one he trusted with capturing it.
I was tasked with painting a snowy Canadian landscape, which I went into with both nerves and excitement as it’s quite far from the type of painting I would usually create. Quite a bit larger too. But, I’m always up for a challenge and an opportunity to improve my creative skills.
The piece is painted on A2 stretched canvas, which I prepped and primed using white gesso paint. I then started by washing the entire canvas with a sienna colour. I chose this colour because the majority of the painting is cool-toned so I wanted to create contrast to ensure I covered every inch of the canvas and could also better focus on details. I then used a slightly darker shade to map out the general shapes of the whole piece.
Once prepped, I began the painting with the snowy areas in the foreground. My top tip for painting snowy areas (particularly from a reference image) is to use a colour picker tool to get a more accurate idea of the tones. I’ve found that when looking at a photo of snow the colours are much more blue and lilac than you first realise. I do this by putting the reference image into Procreate on my iPad and using the colour picker tool in that, but there are also ways to do this on a phone or computer.
When I had put in the majority of the snowy area I then began on the buildings – at this stage just painting in the basic structure and leaving the details to the end. Next was the sky and clouds. The sky started at quite a bright orange but I later soften that to make it fit better with the tone of the whole piece.
Once I was happy with that I added the tree line and all the other trees and greenery dotted around. I wanted to make a feature of the buildings so placed the trees in a way that I felt framed those.
To finish I added all the last details to tie everything together. This included defining the windows and general structure of the building (I chose a deep blue and white to stand out against the dark green tree line), adding snow to the trees and, painting in little silhouetted people.
The Tools & Products
(Some of these contain affiliate links)
- A2 Canvas – Hobbycraft
- White Gesso Primer – Amazon
- Acrylic Paints – Hobbycraft (Not all of my paints are from here but the majority are either ‘Studio Acrylics’ or Hobbycraft’s own)
- Paint Brushes – Nicpro on Amazon
- Tabletop Easel – Amazon
Being trusted with a piece as special as this is really daunting and there were several moments of self-doubt, thinking I hadn’t done a good enough job but, the customer loves it so now I can too.
If you’re interested in getting a piece commissioned by me please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org ★