Over the next several blogs I will be demonstrating the process of painting with oils. So if you haven’t already, be sure to follow my blog to stay updated on the series.
I recently obtained a commission assignment of a beautiful winter sunset with some dark trees at the bottom of the scene. So that is what we will be doing here. In this post we will create an underpainting in which we will build our subsequent layers over. One of the main reasons to do this is because when you are painting with oils, the “fat over lean” rule applies. This means that you want to start with thin paint and go thicker with each new layer, so that your painting doesn’t crack over time!
Step 1: Creating an underpainting
First, let’s talk about what materials we will be using.
To thin down the paint, we will use Liquin Fine Detail Medium made by Windsor & Newton. This will make the paint spread easier and will also save paint by increasing your paint flow from your brush. Although I am a palette knife artist, I will also be using some fan brushes as well, upon client request.
For our oil paints, I use a combination of Old Holland and Williamsburg. But you can use any brand you desire, so long as it is professional grade.
For this first step in our commission painting, we will use the following colors:
2. Pthalo Blue
3. Cadmium Yellow Light
4. Ultramarine Blue (mix with Burn Sienna to make black)
5. Burnt Sienna
Let’s begin by dipping our fan brush into the Liquin and then rolling the tip of it into the paint. To achieve this shade of blue simply mix a bit of Pthalo Blue and your black into a puddle of Titanium White. We will use this color for the top 2/3 of the canvas. If your paint starts to get a little thick and won’t spread quickly, just add in some more Liquin.
Next we will lighten this color with a lot more of the white and mix in a tiny dab of yellow to make the blue warmer. This will give the bottom of our sky more of a “setting sun effect.” Block in the rest of the sky with this color.
And there you have it! A nice underpainting for our commissioned sunset in only a few minutes. Keep in mind that this will need to completely dry before we begin adding our clouds. This will take a couple of days; three at the most.
I will see you here next week for part 2!
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I hope you all are having a wonderful new year so far!
Until next time, let’s bring some color into the world.