Friday, July 31, 2009

A Short Oil Painting Technique Tutorial

Step 1

First, draw your image on paper.
Map out areas to be colored or shaded.
Trace to vellum or tracing paper.
You have to be able to see through the paper to make a graphite transfer.

Step 2

Make a graphite transfer.
Now that you have traced your original drawing to vellum or tracing paper, turn it over and apply a B pencil over the image as shown here.

Step 3

Transfer the image to canvas.
Tape the vellum to canvas with the graphite transfer face down on the canvas. Try not to move it too much in order to keep the transferred lines crisp and clear on the canvas.
Retrace your original sketch so that the graphite transfers to the canvas.
Spray the canvas with fixative once the image is just the way you want it.

Step 4

Begin to paint.
Mix equal parts of turpentine or paint thinner with linseed oil. You can add an equal amount of Damar varnish if you have it, but it is not necessary.
Use this medium to thin your oil paint.
I used cadmium red, lamp black, titanium white, cadmium yellow medium and cobalt blue for this painting.
Paint a thin wash of colors to the canvas in order to get a feel for the overall tones and hues you intend to use for the painting.
If you are using acrylic paint, thin your paint with water only.

Step 5

Build up the hues, tints and shades.
Add white to colors to make tints.
Add black or a complementary color to achieve shades. For instance, if you want a dark area or shadow for red, add a little green.

Step 6

Apply Varnish.
Wait until the painting is dry before applying two or three coats of matte or gloss varnish. This could take several weeks or months depending upon the thickness of the paint.

Other Ways to Paint

There are many ways to paint and one way is not necessarily better than another. Poppy Fields is 15”x18” and painted in just a few short hours by applying textures with pumice gel, then mixing and painting colors right on a reclaimed canvas. There was no drawing necessary. I used acrylic paints in cadmium red, magenta, cobalt and phthalo blue, cadmium yellow and titanium white.

Ghosts is 16”x20” in oil.The dark blue and green background was built up over time by applying paint thinned with large amounts of linseed oil and allowed to dry in the sun. The white areas were applied with a palette knife.