Johnnie Liliedahl

Johnnie Liliedahl: Watermaid

Video Length: 2 Hours
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TECHNIQUE: Grid Method of Drawing Enlargement, French Naturalist all prima method of painting after Charles Sprague Pearce, in the style of Jules Bastien-LePage, Jules Breton and Leon l'Hermitte.

Charles Sprague Pearce was an American painter who studied and painted in France during the period when the French Naturalist movement was born. Led by Jules Bastien-LePage, a new approach to painting and composition was explored. Painters moved out of doors to paint from nature, and the landscape was painted as it was observed, and not idealized.

Innovations in composition were expressed by high horizon lines and great sweeping landscapes behind figures, which were placed in the front-most plane of the picture. An immediacy with the viewer made these paintings a new and powerful statement in the art world of the time.

Painting outdoors presented the same problems then as now, with changing light and imperfect painting conditions. Therefore, the best light was deemed to be that of an overcast day, so that the movement of the sun would not produce great changes in light and shadow. A soft, uniform ambient light permeated the paintings of the Naturalists because of this preference, and the extended outdoor painting hours it allowed.

The Naturalists painted from life, both for their models and for their backgrounds. These were not studio creations, although many of the paintings were large and cumbersome. To allow the artist to paint such large canvases, portable glass studios were constructed, some with wood heaters for colder days, so the artist could paint in comfort away from wind and occasional rain showers.

The original painting, from which this is copied, is called The Water Carrier, and is in the collection of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts (MFAH), where I first observed it. Pearce won a third place medal for the painting in the Paris Salon of 1883, and it established him as a successful figurative artist within the Parisian circle.



  • Color Images of painting in progress
  • Cartoon Line Drawing
  • Color Swatch Reference Guide
  • Value Maps


Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Marq F.
A rare gem: a figure (with face) in landscape demonstration

Johnnie Liliedahl does what very few instructors attempt, a painting demonstration of a full figure (face

included) in a landscape. And she does it well. Here are some of topics she covers:

How do you paint a figure in a landscape, where do you begin?
How do you paint recognizable facial features on a full figure in the near distance?
How do you keep greens in a landscape interesting?
How are value, temperature and directional strokes used to create depth?
What is the benefit of using transparent and opaque paints; and, when should you use each?
What's the difference between wet-on-wet, dry brushing, glazing and scumbling and what mediums facilitate the techniques?
What is an optical color mix and why create it?

You will learn all this and more.

Every now and then I glimpse sparkles of a Theory of Everything (regarding painting). There is something unifying about Johnnie Liliedahl's use of the "tooth" of the canvas in oil painting and Daniel Greene's use of the "tooth" of paper in pastel painting, as he demonstrated in "Pastel Portrait - Jim" (also available here).

Duane L.
A great teacher

This was Johnnie Liliedahl's attempt to paint in the style of Charles Sprague Pearce, and she accomplished it masterfully. What a great teacher! She walks through the process in her typical confident, well organized, systematic teaching style. It is easy to follow and her end result is a painting that looks remarkably like a Charles Sprague Pearce painting. A must for figurative painting students. This is the third Johnnie Liliedahl DVD I have purchased and I have never been disappointed by her videos. I am surprised that more people aren't commenting on how good her videos are. I have had many teachers, minored in art in college, attended dozens of classes and workshops and ordered dozens of instructional videos, and I think Johnnie Liliedahl is possibly the best art teacher I have ever found.