A Fast And Fun Oil Painting

This masterclass is about a fast and fun way to create a good looking oil painting in just a few hours.  To do this you first need a natural subject - something which can grow and develop without the conformity of man made structures.  I've chosen a tunnel of shrubbery that can be found at Morfa Nefyn on the Lleyn peninsula of North Wales.  I've picked a relatively small canvas board (10x12 inches) and will be starting with a fairly large brush - a size 6 long flat - but feel free to go bigger still as there is no need for precision at this point.



The first job is to get patches of background colour spread and blurred together on the canvas.  Here I've used cerulean for the sky, vandyke brown for the dark tunnel and naples yellow for the foreground, and then added dark blue and purple to the dark section to make it darker still, and a tiny amount of red to the foreground to match the colour of the dirt.  Note the sky here occupies more space than I want in the final picture.  This is because I will be overlapping it with vegetation showing hints of blue behind.


The aim here is to have no hard boundaries as it would show badly in the final picture.  So with the canvas covered the next job is to blend the colours at the borders and throughout.  For this subject a swirling stroke worked very well.



Without adding further paint I used the brush edge on to make linear marks at all angles around the swirl alternating between areas of the painting so that I picked up paint from the dark and added to the light, and picked up paint from the light and placed in the dark.


Next onto a small brush to put the detail at the focus of the eye and the shrubbery tunnel.  The balance of light and dark and colour here is key to perception of the finished picture, and worth spending a little time on.  Note how the light bleeds into the tunnel - the way to do this is to carry on using the brush having deployed the paint working away from where you put the paint down.  Decreasing amounts of paint ever dirtied vy the wet dark paint creates a diminishing lightness.  I used this technique particularly for the bottom of the tunnel.



The last part of this picture - the detail is a bit repetitive, but doesn't require much thought, so feel free to let the brush do what it wants and work with it.  I've used a long thin brush here, and with each colour in turn made masses of marks to represent the twigs of the shrubbery, making sure that sufficient colours are used throughout to give the perception of a tangled depth of vegetation.  Each brush mark took a fraction of a second.  You should be able to get half a dozen marks or so for each loading of paint - but don't overload the brush as you'll get a big blob thats awkward to do anything about.  Once satisfied with the shrubbery I've blobbed on tiny spots of red for the berries (its an Autumn picture).  One more touch for completion - I went back to the large brush to push patches of green grass into the foreground, using two shades of green to provide variation.

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© Richard Paul