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Oil Step By Step Demonstrations

Quiet Moorings / Workum / Holland

The source material for this oil painting came from a painting trip with members of the Royal Society of Marine Artist's to Heeg in Holland last year. We spent four wonderful days sailing around the Iselmeer on a Dutch Barge.


The painting was painted using just three primary colours plus white on a textured board.


A 16" x 12" board treated with one coat of  texture paste and tinted with a 'turpsy' wash of Permanent Bright Red with a touch of Cadmium Yellow Lemon .


Oil paints by Vasari : Permanent Bright Red, Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow Lemon and a tube of Titanium White Griffin Alkyd.

Escoda 4050 Oil brushes, Nos. 4, 6, and 8.


White Spirit or Turpentine.

Step One:

A standard Winsor & Newton  canvas covered board was treated with one coat of texture paste.

When dry, a coat of acrylic primer was added.

Finally the board was treated with a 'turpsy' wash of Permanent Bright Red with a touch of Cadmium Yellow Lemon.

The drawing was then carried out using a 2B pencil.

I began to 'block in' the boats, concentrating mainly on the 'darks', not being too concerned with any detail at this stage.

A series of 'blue-greys', 'blues' and subdued 'reds' were mixed, using all the colours.

Step Two:

The trees and grassy banks were tackled next.

Although only three colours have been used, a vast number of greens can be mixed by varying the combination of the colours available.

Cooler greens are obtained by using the yellow with more blue, slightly warmer ones by reducing the quantity of blue and finally, even warmer ones by using small quantities of red.

The addition of white obviously lightens the mixes, but care needs to be taken to get the right balance, as the addition of white not only cools the mixes, but also reduces the intensity / chroma.

To counteract this effect it may be necessary to enliven the mix by the addition of a little more colour.


Step Three:

The sky was painted, once again using varying quantities of all three colours.

Notice how the colour in the bottom of the sky is a pale warm grey and that there is a gradual colour change to warmer, stronger blues as we progress to the top of the sky.

The clouds are mixed with blue and a touch of red and even less yellow.

I was particularly careful at this stage with regard to the 'edges', ensuring that where necessary 'lost' edges were introduced ensuring a visual flow from one area to another.

Too many hard edges result in a painting where the viewer cannot 'rest' and is forced from one hard edge to another, without moving easily through the painting.


Step Four:

The painting was completed by using stronger, warmer mixes of the sky colour for the water, and generally cooler and darker green mixes for the waterside reeds.

Final details were now added, especially to the barges.

I took care not to overdo these details, as it would be very easy to lose the 'feel' of the painting, which I felt captured the qualities of a 'plein air' work


Step Five:

My last consideration was to take time for evaluation. asking myself the following questions:

Does the composition work? Especially with regard to the visual path through the painting, and the 'focal point'.

Does the 'tonal sequence' and 'colour harmony' work?

Do any of the 'edges' require strengthening or softening?


Quiet Moorings / Workum / Holland

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