Form & the Elements in Nature

Creating Form Within a Mass

Scott discusses how to use brushstrokes to create the illusion of form when you are painting shapes / masses.

6min 06sec

The direction and length of your brushstrokes have an impact on the illusion of form within your shape.

You can add variety to the line of your shape by painting:

  • At an angle to the line of your shape (across the form).
  • Using the length of the brushstroke to establish a sense of perspective (shorter strokes as the form recedes).

It is helpful to think about feeling the shape and using your brushstrokes to paint its volume as opposed to randomly filling in the shape.

Consider brushstrokes that radiate or flow across the top of the form you are painting.

Find at least 5 landscape photos.

For each photo establish a limited line composition.

Refine your shapes.

Choose a plane with multiple interesting shapes and draw lines within the shape to indicate its surface.

Mix a pool of color(s) that you want to use for the shapes.

Paint a gesture of the shape's form to establish its mass using the guidelines from the Key Takeaways section. Repeat as needed.

Once you feel you have mastered the technique, paint a small study.

Journal your observations.

Painting Journal.


Gouache or oil paints.

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