Krel's Painting Process

Developing the “Color-Weaving Technique”

Since my childhood, I have been inspired by nature. I have appreciated the natural randomness of color and texture in the outdoors as I have explored tree filled landscapes in all seasons. After spending time exploring the landscape while driving through wild, natural areas, I have examined what I would refer to as a “uniform haphazardness.” These thick forests of texture woven like baskets made of randomly placed lines create a cross-hatched pattern. I can understand now what the impressionists saw as they looked at nature in its simplest and purest form, boiling it down to color, texture, and light.

Winter Creek Canvas Painting copy.jpg

After choosing our subject matter, we must decide

what art medium and materials we will use and what process we are going to follow to produce our works of art. The painting medium we use and materials such as brushes and canvas or papers dictate our painting process. The painting style that we choose, whether to paint the details loose or tight, impressionistic or realistic, using thick paint or thin washes, will also dictate the process that we follow in our work.


After painting for more than 35 years as a professional artist and illustrator, I continue to explore and develop as a painter every day. Just as I was when I started out in my teens, I am still driven by the passion and desire to translate to the viewer of my paintings, the feelings that I experience when I am walking outdoors through a natural area untouched by man or machine.


Like a chef who works and reworks a recipe over a period of years in an effort to unfold all of the flavors that may be possible when the food is tasted, an artist has a recipe, or process, for painting that includes many ingredients. The medium I have chosen to work in is oils because of the feel of the paint and the richness of the colors. To preserve the texture and spontaneous nature of the lines that I get from my rough drawings, I paint with liner brushes that have thin, long bristles. I began using these brushes years ago to create lettering on signs, cartoon paintings, and illustrations. I first apply large sheets of paint and block in a painting with palette knives and large brushes and then work these areas of wet paint into finished details with a liner brush. I continue to layer colors over each other with thin lines to create this weaving effect of color to replicate the colors and texture that I see happening in the thick and lush growth found in nature.


Then, there is light and shadow or contrast. Light effects made up of the dance between the highlights, shadows, cool and warm colors is the key to bringing a painting to life and portraying the time of day, the time of year, and the temperature of a scene. A powerful use of light makes the difference between just painting a picture of a place and creating a door to that place through which the viewer can walk.

Painting Winter reflections.jpg

Before starting a painting, I begin with an idea from nature and collect photos to reference and do sketches. As I roughly block in a painting, the image develops on its own. The placement of rocks and trees unfolds as naturally on my canvas as it does in the forest. I keep my mind open to how a natural place develops in the wild as I paint the hard ground and rocks first, then trees and other vegetation. Water always comes last, as it begins to flow through a stream after a rain. Piles of leaves and broken-down and scattered branches are the culminating touches in a beautiful work of art.

In these photos, krel is painting a winter scene called Winter Reflections. This is a medium sized painting on a gallery wrapped canvas that measures 36" X 48". Krel paints a range of paintings from small 5" X 7" all the way up to large paintings on 1/4 inch wood board panels measuring 4' X 8'.

When painting on gallery wrapped canvases, Krel likes to continue the painting image over the edges and on the sides to give a dimensional effect and frame them so the sides of the painting will be visible.

Autumn Light Waterfall copy.jpg