I like to use a highly textured panel for my support. This panel is a former painting that i sanded down and gessoed over and reveals some wonderful texture.
The first thing i do is to tan my panel using a varied mixture of Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine and then loosely sketch my composition. Next, blocking in some shapes trying to lay in some darks, but sometimes i get a little antsy and my passion for color gets the better of me.
Introducing the background trees and sky
Here i have lightened up the hillside grass, established the foreground tree and layed in my highlights for the path which really allow the painting to take shape.
Path of Light 14x11
At last i add some touches of lights and darks in an effort to make things pop a bit, soften some background edges and add some foodle to the tree and i think were done. I really liked the way the foreground shadows act as stair steps into the painting, maybe a bit of a struggle to get past them (much like hiking), but the draw of the path leading you into the painting, i think, outweighs the initial struggles. Also, the big bushy tree in the foreground was an absolute joy to paint and keeps you from going off the panel. Oh, i should explain the foodle reference; its actually two words i enjoy saying that help me refrain from too much detail work...... Fiddle and Noodle - Foodle. Oops, i guess the Fox Terrier/Poodle mix beat me to it, darn poodles anyway.....