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oil paint
colors and shapes
overcast skies
vibrant colors
How To Oil Paint
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How to Oil Paint

When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have in front of you; a tree, a house, a field or whatever. Just look at the colors and shapes in form of you. A little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you. The exact color and shape, until it gives you your own impression o the scene before you. Your outdoor work will have more vigor and strength that when you paint inside your studio.

The techniques I used to paint is a quick impression of the scene that is in front of me, Painting quickly; you will have one to two hours on a scene before the light changes. The light comes first and foremost; the colors are under mixed, producing raw, vibrant effects. You use warm and cool colors mixed together to form more vibrant colors on the canvas. Introducing color into the shadows is important and using strongly descriptive brushstrokes catch the character of the forms. A sketchy execution is essential to the final look and appearance of immediacy.

There are passages of long, unbroken strokes, short, horizontal daubs, and abrupt jabs. Large strokes for foregrounds and small, almost imperceptible touches in the distance to give the appearance of depth. You include in your work reflected colors; the colors you use are not premeditated, you put down the colors you see and not the colors you know, select scenes that are open and airy, choose light that comes from behind you and try using the midday light with is harsh, bleaching gives you the preferred effect. How to see like an Impressionist Oil Painter The Impressions avoided the Academic school method of painting deep, dark forest setting painted in the studio. They preferred to paint open airy scenes, broad boulevards, rivers and seascapes

. They painted scenes that were full of light with minimal shadows. In particular, they liked the light to shine on the scene from behind them, casting shadows out of sight, behind the subject. The impressionists liked overcast skies because it produced an even diffusion of light, although the midday sun, with its hard, bleaching effects. Painting outdoors in nature, the gradations form light to shade are softer and the shadows are more diffused and filled with reflected light from the sky. When you are painting form life it is essential to squint at your subject, squinting reduces the visual clutter and allows you to see the relationships between shapes, values, edges and color temperature once you have identified them, you can introduce these elements into your painting.

The key to expressing yourself with color is to understand that colors have different temperatures to make your painting work; you must have warm and cool colors on your palette. Colors can be subtle or dynamic, garish or restrained but it is color that sets the mood, color well give your painting their emotional value. Rather than painting a mass is one solid tone, which was the academic tradition, use different color within the shapes, notice the complementary color in the shadows and the color in the changing light as it bathed the landscapes form dawn to dusk. The color of the light is more important that the local color. In nature, cool colors recede and warm color comes forward. Your aim is to mimic the atmospheric condition that occur naturally and so they painted by juxtaposing different

temperatures (warm/cool) of color to suggest atmospheric perspective and to model form. To paint in an impressionistic way, it will help you if you separate your color into cool and warm ones, because it is how you position them next to one another in your painting that will give you the exciting look of an impressionistic work. Supports Although we are borrowing from the Impressionists, we can modify their approach to meet our special requirements.

The Impressionists preferred to work on white or pale grounds because it suited the atmosphere of Europe, with it flat, consistent light. Whichever colored ground you decide to use, depending on the special climate conditions in your hemisphere, is up to you. Try both approaches and see what appeals to you most. The benefits of using white ground Impressionists often used cream-colored grounds and allowed this to show through a loosely painted blue sky, full of roughly scrambled white clouds. This gave the optical effect of warm, glowing sunlight. Then they would enhance the cream by making it warmer and pinker against an adjacent blue, which would appear correspondingly cooler. Cream showing through the clouds would add an airy effect of warmth and the result would be an ethereal quality of light which is difficult to achieve by a more conventional build-up of colors.

A white or pale ground acts as a luminous unifying field for brilliant light effects. The Impressionists dragged dryish color mixed with large amount of light-reflective lead white, which enhanced the pale, chalky paint surfaces. Some Impressionists soaked the oil form the colors before use by standing them on blotting paper, this emphasized the chalky, pastel-like qualities produced by paint containing only a small amount of oil. The idea was to imitate the effects of pale, reflected light in nature. Suggested Palette I suggest you have a balance of warm and cool colors on your palette. I brake my colors into three groups; cool, medium and warm tones. Remember, cool colors recede and warm colors advance. Cool: Permanent Crimson, Cerulean Blue, Yellow Light, Phithalo Green, Burnt Umber. Medium: Light Red and Yellow Ochre Warm: Superchrome Scarlet, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Orange Plus lots of Titanium White.

Color Mixing Tip If you use a brush when you are color mixing you run the risk of allowing paint residue left on the brush to mix in with the new colors. Instead, use a palette knife for color mixing, wipe it every time you mix a color, and in that way you will keep the colors clean. Have a Plan Whether you paint in an Impressionistic way or not, I believe some paintings are doomed form the start because the artist hasn’t made time for preparation. It helps to have a plan. Each painting requires the artist’s undivided attention.

You have to think about it. During the initial phase of any of my paintings, my concentration is enormous. Even though I may be driven by my mood on any given day. I fine a subject that is interceded to me- a play of light, the shapes, a color effect, a place that tells a story, and then I make preliminary sketches and take some photos for references and help with the details. What is the light doing? Where are the lights and darks? My focus right at the beginning is to get the composition under control.

When choosing a subject I use my eye just like a zoom lens on a camera and I identify the most exciting aspect and do not paint everything I see because it can be overwhelming; there’s just too much to think about. If I am working form a photographs I make drawings form the photographs first because the familiarizes me with the subject and help me get all the proportions of light and shadow correct. My gold is to bring the form to the photograph’s flat planes. I find my concentration remains constant throughout the painting and climaxes in the closing moments with fine-tuning. I am patient during the working phase and try to save my spontaneous input for the final stages.

Enhancing Composition My aim to work most of the painting in a loose, impressionistic style contrasting with a focal area of tight detail. The focal area will have the lighters tones beside the darkest tones and this, combined with sharper edges brushwork, should lead the viewer’s eye directly to one point; everything else should be secondary. To achieve a balance in my composition every objet needs to be taken into consideration.

When beginning a painting, depending on the subject, I place the major objects in a one-third, two thirds position while aiming to keep any major objects away from either the dead center or the outer edges of the canvas or board. I use directional lines to leas the eye to this main focal point and subtle lines lead away from the focal point to a secondary point. No two objects should be the same size, shape or distance apart. Another element of good composition is grouping. Whether it is fencing posts, figures or sheep grazing I try to place them in groups of odd numbers. By following these tried-and-true methods my work tends to lave natural balance.

Drawing is the secret to artistic success Your drawing ability will help you enormously when you are assessing subject matter. In fact, the drawing stage is probably the most crucial time in a paintings’ life. Drawing will help you compose and place tones correctly so you will need to train your eye by scheduling regular drawing sessions.

The simples was to begin a painting is to make a pencil drawing to help you work out the composition and the tone Learn to draw before you paint is like learning to walk before you can run. Being confident in your drawing ability will translate to the canvas. Take a class It’s important for your development to be presented with a new and different ways of working. Take regular lessons, attend painting seminars or even better, and take an overseas painting holiday. Good luck on your painting and let me know it I can be assistance in your development, you may visit you website at

Sincerely,

Benjamin Johnson


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