In The Studio: Oil demonstration “Late Afternoon, Maine Coast”

This demonstration is again an opportunity for you to participate in my journey to learn to paint oils.  I am finding that although painting is painting, the nuances required for oils is elusive and not intuitive.  I keep trying and I think I will get there soon, I do appreciate the characteristics of the oil medium that allows for corrections and changes.  Great fun when my experience with watercolors has been that changes of direction, color, and value are sometimes impossible to achieve successfully.DSC_0024


I put down a turpentine wash and with the side of a bristle brush I roughed in the major dark shapes.  You need to keep these washes thin and translucent, or else the next steps will be very difficult.  Using the side of a credit card I lightly roughed over the surface of the painting pulling the extra paint off to highlight some of the underneath canvas.DSC_0012I lifted some lights and then restated the darks with a little more appropriate color and again went over it with a credit card, working on keeping the darks very thin.DSC_0013I painted in the sky trying to get the values correct, the colors in this circumstance are important but the values are crucial.  It is pretty hard to get the colors to read right if they are of the wrong value.  I apply the paint very loosely with the side of a bristle brush.  I then soften the sky with a light brushing with a fan brush, I am not looking to create extra marks in the sky but I am just trying to reduce and soften some of the marks. It also pulls a little of the paint into the tops of the trees.DSC_0017

I adjust the value of the sky again I felt it was too light and I add some warmer violet tones to the landmass.  Again I am really keeping the darks transparent and without much detailDSC_0020I put some highlights on the water and some in the trees and again pull the colors back with a credit card.  This is a very light scraping, not a down to the canvas scrape.

DSC_0024I restate the water making it darker in the foreground and pull a darker blue gray highlight into the trees giving a little more glare.  I also drybrush some dark warm greens across the trees in the foreground.  This represents a pretty quick paint I am still working on the premise that more time painting more paintings will result in my understanding the medium quicker.  I really am going to get this oil painting thing figured out but as of now it is still a work in progress.  Thank your for reading my blog and I will have something new in a few days.

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  • PatOctober 29, 2013 - 11:28 pm

    Steve, thanks for posting your guidelines for this oil landscape–and it’s Maine too! It’s going to be a good challenge to try 🙂ReplyCancel