In this post I show you my step by step process of an oil painting study I recently did. I’m still quite new to oil painting so doing studies is a great way to familiarize oneself with the medium.
The reference picture I used was black and white which means I had to make up the colors myself. These are the colors I used: Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow Light, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Quinacridone Red and Ultramarine Blue.
For the first step I put down a thin layer of paint to add a bit of color to the white canvas. It’s easier for me to paint when the canvas isn’t completely blank.
I mixed Burnt Sienna with Gamsol and some Galkyd to make the paint very thin and dry faster. The first layers can contain more medium and solvent. Be sure to use less on added layers to avoid cracking paint (paint fat over lean).
I like to start with the shadows so I painted the darkest values first. The colors I mixed for that were Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber and Ultramarine Blue.
To see the darkest values of your reference it helps to look at it with squinted eyes.
Next I added the lighter shadows. For that I used the last color but added a bit more Burnt Sienna and a bit of Titanium White.
For the next step I added some midtones to the painting. I just mixed some more titanium white to the previous color and probably a tiny bit of Cadmium Yellow and Quinacridone Red.
I’m still painting the midtones but I mixed more Cadmium Yellow to the color because the painting didn’t seem warm enough yet.
Now it’s time for the highlights. To mix that color I used a lot of Titanium White and a bit of Cadmium Yellow as well as a tiny bit of red.
To see the whole painting more clearly I finally added a background color for the next step. As a result the colors of the subject pop more and it’s just visually pleasing (at least to me haha).
I let the oil painting dry for about a day and then added some more highlights and defined some of the shadows a bit more.
After that step I was content to leave it like it is.
Please let me know if you’ve found this step by step painting helpful and if I should post more.
If you’re a beginner to oil painting check out my blogpost about how to start painting with oils.