Teaching Tuesdays: Oil Painting for Beginners-Lesson 3

Adding Color! 

Now the fun begins.  

In this lesson you will learn the following:

  • Mixing color and applying foundation color in the right value
  • Learning to make adjustments to graphic shapes.
  • Learning about color harmony and building the painting up from graphic shapes.

Since you have a value study created, you are now ready to apply color to the painting. You will find that mixing color will take a lot of time as you start out. Enjoy mixing colors. Explore what happens when you mix two of the primaries together. Use caution when mixing all three primaries as it will create mud. Remember that Yellow and Blue make green. Red and blue make purple. Red and yellow make orange. Green, Purple and Orange are the secondary colors and some students find it useful to mix those first and have them available on their palette. What happens when you mix yellow and black? An interesting different color of green appears. Do take time to explore mixing your primaries together in varying amounts.

Homework assignment: 

  • We will start by applying foundation colors on the shadow side only. Mix the correct value of color you find in every shadow on your painting. The foundation color is the most prevalent color. Examine this example of some of the shadow side colors of Standing Guard.

Note that Linda still had some shadow areas to paint on the mountain (El Captian) areas. Also note that one light area was applied (the yellow ground plane). This was done to help Linda decide what value she wanted to place in the trees and to help her decide what shadow value the mountains would be. You may find that useful to do as well. The important thing to remember is to stay as close to the value plan you have already painted realizing the strength that fewer values provide.

  • Paint all shadow areas. Photograph your painting and send it to Linda via email (cincyredhead@gmail.com). Suggestions and comments will be provided by Linda as making adjustments are easier at this stage.
  • Now add the light side foundation colors to the painting just like you did with the shadow side.
  • Send Linda a photograph of your painting with any comments you may have via email.

You may want to wait for the foundation painting to dry before continuing. Working wet into wet is fun and typically how most painters love to paint. However, for beginners, this technique takes some mastering. Most beginners become frustrated working wet into wet and tend to muddy their painting. Give the painting some time to dry if you don’t want to work wet into wet. If you do want to work wet into wet, work slowly and always stop to look at what you have done before laying in another brush laden with color. If you create a muddy or unwanted effect, use your palette knife to scrap off the unwanted effect. Then lay in the color again.

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