Making an Oil Painting

A bumper lesson in which you will push your oil paint to its limits and find out just how versatile it can be as you make 3 versions of the same study using different techniques each time.


Undertaking repetitive studies from a simple image allows you to employ a variety of techniques without being distracted by variations of colour of design.

This lesson will guide you through the process of making 3 separate paintings of the same image, using 3 different ways of applying oil paint.

We will explore how the paint behaves when we use it straight from the tube, when we apply it very thickly and perhaps employ a palette knife and what happens when we choose to dilute the paint and use it in thin veils. Each painting will be made in a single session or ‘alla prima’ whilst the whole painting is still wet at once. Working from the same image each time gives you a clear illustration of how the techniques differ and which methods will suit you best.

Contents: Slide talk, practical demonstration and skill building exercise.
Running time: 1hr 38mins
Time required for exercise: 30mins

Materials List

Paints used but not essential:
• Titanium White
• Transparent Oxide Yellow (yellow ochre or raw sienna would be suitable substitutes)
• Cadmium Red Light
• Alizarin Claret/Crimson/Quinacridone rose
• Cobalt Blue
• Ultramarine Blue
• 3 x painting panels or pieces of canvas, I use a fine grain oil primed Belle Arti 007 Linen for the demonstration, but you should use your own preferred surface. I use 8×8” but you can use whatever size you like.
• Mediums – for the second painting use impasto medium if you have any, for the third painting use any ready-made paint diluting medium you have, or you can use just linseed oil, or make your own medium – my mixture is 3 parts rectified gum turpentine and 2 parts refined linseed stand oil for this exercise.
• I use a size 8 Ultimate short flat and a size 2 ultimate round bristle brushes from Rosemary and Co for this lesson. You should use whatever brushes suit your surface and your subject best.

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