See how the shack painting is done from start-to-finish with Dan Waltz.

How to paint a Shack Demo by Artist Dan Waltz

Have you ever wondered how a painting is done? Are you a budding artist looking for tips? Look no further.



Ok, there's been a slight gap between my last demo and now. It's because I really wanted to do

something a bit different this time. Less animal subject and a little more scenery, or in this case

a some what creepy shack. I must admit that when I ran aross this building I knew in a second

that I must do a painting of it and I was a bit creeped out when I saw it. I looked inside just to make

sure that when I was out in the middle of nowhere, I was out there alone. Lucky for me I was.

I took many photos while I was there. The photo pictured above is actually a combination of several.

Here is how it developed.....


The first time I was there the sun was actually behind the building and left the building a bit

on the colorless side, but I liked the way the sunlight casted shadows for good separtation of the weeds and the farm field behind.

step 2

I returned to the location a few days after at sunrise to get better shots of the shack in hopes

to get better color on the face of the building. I was just as freaked the second time visiting out

and took another look inside when I got there. I then tried to find that exact place to stand as I did before,

as I really liked the crop and angle of the first shot.

Now that I got the lighting on the face of the building just how I needed it, I looked back at the first shots

I took and really liked the lighting on the weeds and there direction of the weeds much better then,

so I borrowed them and placed them on the early morning photo. Now it's really looking like I want it to.

Now I'm left with a pretty creepy shack and nothing else.

I needed to add a few items to the picture. Since it was a bit creepy to start with, I wanted to make it a little more creepy, so I add a "keep out" sign, a barbed-wire fence and a couple of ravens (which I will probably change to smaller crows in the final painting. When I went back the second time there were two crows in a tree just on the south side of the shack, not shown.) After adding the birds to the pic, I then added an address to the house, just encase you may want to visit. I did go back a third time for more pics (and yes I took yet another look inside) to shoot detailed pics of the woodgrain of the shack.


Now this is just a reference photo for me to use. Parts of which may change as I go along. For now this is a great start to what will be a very deailed and pretty complicated painting, and possibly the makings of a good spooky story to go with it as well.

This is a larger and more complicated painting that I would typically do for the blog. I do expect this painting to take a lot longer than the ones in the past.

I hope you enjoy the process and please check back as often as you can, as you will witness this watercolor painting being painted "From Start To Finish."


I first draw out the basic lines that I need for some guidence while painting on a seperate sheet of paper.


I then transfer the lines to the watercolor board using graphite transfer paper. I try to keep the lines as light as possible.


Here I start to rough the painting in using the airbrush keeping things really loose. I debated back a forth for a week or on masking the shack off before painting, obviously I chose not to. I want to be a little more relax with this painting, at least for the beginnning stages. We'll see what happens. I'm thinking that this will be very interesting painting to paint. I'm going to be doing alot of trials and hopefully not very many errors. I'm looking for a certain look and feel for this one and you may see many changes in the painting before I get there.


The underlayment is now done. Don't adjust your monitor. It suppose to look like that or at least it does look like that, but it's a start. No artist likes staring at a blank board. Now I can start going in with the paint brush and start roughing in areas. It will start looking like something soon.


Just starting to rough the trees and the shack in with very light washes of paynes grey.


First my appologies. The reason for the difference in the colors is that I shot this one outside in natural lighting. This photo is a lot closer to the colors being used. Today I added the door, or lack of one, darkened a little more of the pre-foreground and painted more light washes to the wood grain of the boards on the shack. Long ways to go.....


I continue to rough the woodgrain in on the shack with light strokes of color. Thin washes of paynes grey, a virety of browns and blacks. I will continue with the washes and add more and more detail. So far, so good.


Ok, you probably don't see a whole lot of difference between the last post and this one, but there is a difference. A couple of hours diffence anyway. I now concider the shack part of the painting roughed in. Now I go back into ever board and define it a litle more. This is where the painting starts to come alive. It's where you have choices to make. Paint detail or continue with roughing other areas in, such as the trees. You may think it maybe helpful to rough the trees in, because a lot the shack gets covered by branches. And, that could save a lot of time because you would have to pain certain areas because it will just be covered with a branch anyway. The problem with this is, I never really enjoyed painting around things such as branches. It reminds me too much of cutting around a door frame when painting a room. Boring and not only that sometimes the painting won't look as smooth when you paint around things. So I much rather finish as much as the shack as I can before moving on. If I do start roughing the trees in it will just be the larger areas and because I may need a break from doing the detail work of the shack. All of which is subject to change of coarse. It is art after all.


Let the detail begin.


Details, details and more details...It's almost to the point where I will start roughing the tree in. The shack is not quite complete, but it is getting close.

This painting is going to take a while so please check back often. I will update as often as I can.

More on Page 2


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