How to do an oil painting ?

If you want to learn how to do an oil painting from scratch, you have reached the right place.
So this article is going to cover how I create my painting from the scratch, I mean from the treatment of canvas until the varnish of it, after the painting dries.

How to do an oil painting – Step 1 – Treatment of Canvas

Portrait painting on canvas
Canvas should be stretched to the size of your interest. Then it should rubbed thoroughly with sandpaper to remove all the dust, the undue bobbles and projections over it. After which it should be treated with one coat of primer which will give more strength to the canvas. Dilute the primer and apply around 2 coats which will give more thickness to the canvas and the 2 coating will cover the canvas completely.

How to do an oil painting – Step 2 – Application of Gesso

Gesso should be applied just the same way the primer was applied. The purpose of gesso is that the painting will not lose its depth if you do apply gesso. This is something you can understand after you try a work with and without the application of gesso on canvas.

How to do an oil painting – Step 3 – Preparation of Canvas

This is something particularly I do. I do a small thick oil coat on canvas. By which I mean, I apply oil paint which is a combination of red and any white. One thing is that I do not want my canvas to be white in color when I start with a painting. Next thing is that if a canvas has a lot of paint on it, the painting will look great.

How to do an oil painting – Step 4 – Just the subject

In this image, you can see thin lines running across on the canvas. That is the grid, that is something I do before I start with any painting. This is a very rough study of my main subject. This will be as rough and as casual as possible.

How to do an oil painting – Step 5 – Just the background

This is the first round of study, and I have finished the first round of study for both the main subject and the background. With this as a guide I will go ahead and do my second round of study.

How to do an oil painting – Step 6 – Second round of study

Portrait painting on canvas
This is the second round of study where I set the direction in which the painting should go. So I have decided the color of main subject, the woman and the allied subject the chair. Also I have set the mood of the background. Here I will decide whether it is a morning or a mid-noon light that is falling on the subjects.

How to do an oil painting – Step 7 – Third round of study on the subjects

Portrait painting on canvas
This is where I will tighten the color in the subjects and the background. By tighten, I mean I add more depth and more reflection wherever it is required. Very interesting round where my painting gets more close to completion.

How to do an oil painting – Step 8 – Final round of study

This is where I try to get all logical. I take a close look at the painting and take a note of all the mistakes I have done in it. Then I will be rectifying it in the final round of study. This is the round of perfection.

How to do an oil painting – Step 9 – Varnishing a painting

This is a very vital procedure in a painting. After you finish a painting, during the process of drying, the painting will start to become dull. The colors become dull and the depth loses its magnitude and the reflection and highlight lose its effect. This is something that happens in all the oil painting. To retrieve the values lost and in order to preserve the painting, one good coating of varnish will help a lot.

Underneath is a video that shows the process of varnishing

Output of the painting

Portrait painting on canvas
I hope you like the output of the painting. If you are interested in this painting, it is available for sale. If you would like to learn my style of painting or drawing, you can please use my courses.

Ramya Sadasivam has been practicing art since 2006. She so loves to portray Indian culture, customs, day to day chores of the hard working laborers, happy village life and life of women.

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