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Here the real challenge in oil painting begins:  painting an actual object from life. To keep things simpler, our instructor restricted our palette to mixed black (Burnt Sienne + Ultramarine Blue) and white.

Unfortunately, I didn’t capture the progressive stages of this painting, but it was a long process. We first chose our subjects and set them up on a table. Then, we tried out different compositions in our sketchpads. It’s difficult for me to adjust the scale of what I see and make it fill up the whole canvas, but finally doing so made the painting more interesting!

We also tested out simple value patterns (where the dark and light areas would be in the painting). According to my instructor, it is the value pattern that a person notices first in a painting. If you don’t have an interesting composition in that respect, the painting will be never be really good. So she held our sketchpads about ten feet away from each of us so we could appreciate (or not) our value patterns.

Once satisfied, I moved to the canvas and blocked in major areas of value. The result was what I might see if I really blurred my eyes looking at the subject.

Then little by little, I adjusted the forms and brought in more and more details and value shifts that I saw on the leather boot and purse.

My last step (and the most difficult one) was incorporating the wing designs at the end!

If you want to see more, this person’s blog does a good job of illustrating the steps of oil painting.


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