Reference and research
To create a believable world we need to understand the world around us. I spend time looking for photos and art for colour ideas and inspiration. If I pick well, I can take the colours from images and the ideas of shapes and forms from another to create something new. Here, I take light and colour inspiration from Albert Bierstadt’s Rocky Mountain Landscape.
Find the fill light
I think about each light source independently, and the easiest one to start with is the fill light. If you’re outdoors that will be the blue of the sky: a soft light source with soft shadows. So I fill the frame with a solid colour that’s the colour I want my fill light to be. I then use darker and lighter versions of this colour to paint in soft shadows.