Leanne Spanza

Bold Colours. Simple Lines. Happy Art.

Canadian Landscape Painter

Painting Process

As a self taught artist it's all about trusting myself  and paying attention to what feels best.

Often when I'm at an art show or teaching a class I get asked 'What is your painting process?' My answer always changes because my process is always changing but I'll tell you what my process is now.  

Sometimes my paintings are of a certain place and sometimes they are simply inspired by our travels throughout British Columbia but I always start with a sketch.

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I then copy the sketch onto the canvas either by hand or by using a projector (big secret revealed!!) because sometimes you can never get the sketch on canvas to look as good as the sketch on paper. It also saves a lot of time. Having two young kids home with me limits my painting time to naps and after bedtime so when it's go time, it's GO time. 

Even though my style appears to be flat there is a layering process to it all. I always start with the sky. Why? Because it's behind the hills or mountains but mostly because it's the most fun. This is where I play with colour combinations, lines and clouds. If there are clouds, I paint the sunset first because the clouds are on top. Then I paint the mountains, followed by water and any trees, buildings and details. Why? Brush strokes. I always want the brush strokes to appear continuous, not making abrupt stops, so I can paint the next layer over top. The black outlines are last and yes they are all painted by hand with a brush, not a pen. 

My black outline paintbrush  

My black outline paintbrush  

Another reason I paint this way is time. There are some days I only get to paint for an hour, then I have to stop and start again after dinner for another two hours. The way I paint allows for this, working on one layer at a time and planning my layers accordingly. Maybe I'll write a post on time management and balancing life...... 

Below is a fun little Video capturing the different layers of one of my latest paintings.  

I would love to hear your thoughts and questions below!