|The Indirect Method of Oil Painting involves painting multiple thin layers of paint in succession,
getting more and more detailed with each layer. This Demo is for students who are not confident
in their drawing skills. It shows a quick and easy method for transferring a drawing to the
canvas and then developing several values of one color to set the scene for color in the next
Layer 1: Undertone
Step 3: Place the photo directly over the canvas and line up the corners and sides. Gently hold in place as you use the blunt
tool to outline all the major forms and elements in the photo.
"The Look (Cat)" Oil on Canvas
Step 1: You will need to lay out your workspace with
necessary items including odorless mineral spirits, oil paints
(colors you think might be useful for the monochromatic
undertone color), gloves, rags, the canvas, the photo you
will use (enlarged to the size of the canvas and printed on
regular copy paper), and a blunt tool for transferring the
image (a ball point pen that has run out of ink works well).
Step 2: Once you have mixed the color you want for your undertone,
mix it with the odorless mineral spirits and spread evenly on the canvas
with a rag. I use gloves at this stage to protect my hands from the
harmful effects of the solvent.
Step 4: The back of the photo will look like this
Step 5: The canvas will now show white lines
where the paint has been removed.
Step 6: With a rag or brush dipped in odorless mineral spirits, begin removing paint from
the canvas in the areas where the photo shows the lightest values. As I did so for this
painting, I realized that I did not like the composition and the way the flower on the upper
left "drooped" into the middle.
Step 7: I looked for and found another photo I had taken from a different angle and
decided this would work better.
Step 8: Using steps 2 & 3 above, I erased the flower I did not like and re-established the background color in the upper left. I then
transferred the new flower shape into the area.
Step 9: I then removed paint in the areas of the
new flower that had the lightest value
Step 10: Using a brush and the original monochromatic color
with no added mineral spirits, I added darker paint to the areas
around the flowers in the background and the shadows of the
flowers to signify areas of darker value. This results in three
defined areas of value--darkest, middle and lightest.
Step 11: After spending some time filling in a few
details, this is what the finished monochromatic
under-painting looks like.
Step 12: The finished under-painting and what my
workspace looked like at the end. All in all, the
process took about 25 minutes.