Oil Painting “Mother and Child”

I am showing some of the steps in the process of painting an oil painting.  I used burnt umber, cadmium red, cadmium yellow, white and a little bit of ultramarine blue.  I have made all of my paints with pigment from Natural Pigments and Blue Ridge Pigments.

Open Grisaille_web

Starting with an open Grisaille

This is one way of starting an oil painting.  It gives you the basic value structure, and if you give it a couple of days to dry, the burnt umber doesn’t mix in with your other pigments. I didn’t think I would like having to do this step, but it is actually very helpful because you don’t have to worry about losing your drawing and also the graphite doesn’t mix in with your other pigments.  Though I have decided that if I use pencil for my drawing, I am going to give it a light erase with my kneaded eraser before beginning to paint.  I think that will keep the graphite from mixing into the paint and the graphite doesn’t erase easily from the canvas anyway so you won’t lose your drawing.

Step 2_web

Begin to fill in chroma and value

If you paint with thin coats of paint, you won’t have so much trouble with your paints mixing. Soften the edges of everything that you don’t want the eye drawn to. It also keeps your objects from looking “pasted on top of” the background.

Step 3_web

Softening the hair because I don’t want it to draw the eye

Darkening things pushes them into the background


Martha_Iler Mother & Child_web

Finished after much problem solving and many changes.


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