Examinations of Titian's Venus and Adonis: A Note on Early. Italian Oil Painting Technique. Catherine A. Metzger, Barbara H. Berrie, Gerard David's St. Read about art ideas and techniques. Drawing a little every day and studying design and color will give your painting a strong foundation. An open mind and. To that end, we share the concepts we believes are behind every beautiful fine- art oil painting in our newest free eBook, Oil Painting Techniques From Artist.

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    Oil Painting Tutorial Pdf

    that anyone should know before painting with Oil, but I did not essay here contains the Basic information and Techniques that any one would. Is exposes the reader to painting materials, brushstroke techniques, and alchemy of all things, in a book filled with rich descriptions and illuminating insight. by M. Stephen Doherty. OIL PAINTING TECHNIQUES: 24 STEP-BY-STEP LESSONS. This premium has been published by Interweave Press, E. Fourth St.

    That means if you download something we get a small commission at no extra cost to you learn more Oil painting has a reputation for being difficult. It can be intimidating to try matching up to the old masters. Even trying to get rid of combustible rags can be scary. The Basics of Oil Painting For an overview of beginner oil painting this minute video is quick and thorough. The artist Lena Danya will give you an idea of what oil paint is and how to download it. This will help you keep your painting from cracking or drying too slowly. All in all this is the perfect tutorial to jump in and get started. That will be important for the longevity of your paint brushes. It tells you how to use them. A great beginner tip from this video is using cheap chip brushes for large areas in your first layers. The artist also has a tutorial on cleaning and conditioning—something that will save you time and money in the long run. And for more information the author also includes a free pdf about the basics of oil painting which is great for beginners. This is very similar to the Proko Masterpiece Demo series which covers all of these topics more in-depth. Realistic Apple If you like painting from photographs this tutorial is for you. Follow along with this video using the exact same photo that the artist is using.

    Remember, in the umber underlayer we shall only be able to make them darker, but never lighter. The umber underlayer should consist of several well-dried stages.

    Don't decide on the number of umber stages in advance, make as many as necessary to achieve the tonality that will not require improvements in the next layers.

    Naturally, for some dark objects, for example, black cloth, a violin neck, some parts of black grapes, the darkness of umber will be insufficient. Nevertheless, the tonal construction of the darkest areas must be made in umber with the greatest possible precision. Don't spare your time in the umber underlayer because in the next stages you will rely on it. If you are able to avoid major tonal corrections in the layers that follow the umber underlayer, you painting will be fresh and beautiful.

    Don't forget to scrape the canvas with the razor blade to remove dust and excessive texture of brush strokes. As the result of scraping the canvas after each layer the surface of the canvas should become as smooth as silk Scrape the canvas carefully, however, don't despair if you scraped some areas more than you wanted; these areas can be easily restored.

    You will avoid scraping the dry layer to the white canvas if you made the priming correctly, that is if there is no uneven areas after priming. The classical composition laws require that light shall concentrate in the center of the painting and fade away near the edges of the canvas.

    If you are painting a portrait or a complicated composition, you will need to make more umber stages.

    READ ALSO: SWAPNA PHAL PDF

    In our case, the umber underlayer is completed in two stages. The finishing stage of the umber underlayer may be called the generalizing stage. In the generalizing stage you can use larger brushes than in the previous stage. All details of the composition were made in the previous stage.

    In this stage we only have to show tonal differences between the objects. This means, for example, that the lemon is darker than the white drape, but lighter than the pear.

    The jar is darker than the background, but is brighter lit. This is the last task that you carry out in the umber underlayer. If you follow the technological rules, then even the most successful colorist of the Realistic school will envy the delicacy and depth of the classical painting. Old Masters believed that the painting should be made in gray; color pigments can easily be bought later. The main purpose of the dead layer is to make half-tones of the painted objects. The laws of the classical painting say that the half-tone should be cold, whereas a realistic artist can see in the half-tone any imaginable color.

    If you make the dead layer well, then, working on the color layer, your creativity will be free from the necessity to solve tonal tasks. Remember, the colder the dead layer is the hotter and brighter the color will look on it.

    It is because of the dead layer finished paintings look lighter or darker, warmer or colder. To keep mixtures prepared for the dead layer, you may use empty tubes, or, for shorter periods of storage, you can use film boxes.

    Pigments used in the dead layer have passed the test of time. They are flake white, lamp black, yellow ocher, Prussian blue, and burnt umber. Prussian blue and burnt umber accelerate drying and balance cold and warm colors in your mixture. Now, after preparing the palette, we begin making mixtures. To make a black mixture for the dead layer, we take two parts of lamp black, one part of burnt umber, and about one eighth of Prussian blue.

    To make a white mixture for the dead layer, we take flake white, and decrease the intensity of the open white by adding a little bit of black mixture.

    Classical Oil Painting Technique

    After that, we make a middle tone between the light and the dark mixtures. The approximate proportion is two parts of the black, and one part of the light mixture. The middle tone mixture should be colored by adding yellow ocher, burnt umber and Prussian blue. The proportion depends on your vision of the dead layer, whether you want to make it bluer, greener, or browner. You should avoid violet tones in the dead layer. And remember, the dead layer is dominated by the gray color.

    Then, on the basis of the light and middle tone mixtures, you make five more intermediate tones. Two more intermediate tones should also be made between the middle tone and black mixtures. The umber underlayer dries in about three weeks. To make sure that the layer is well dried, you can oil slightly a corner of a white cloth and rub it on the dark area of the canvas. If the white cloth gets brown, you must leave the canvas to dry better.

    When the canvas is well dried, scrape it with the razor blade, oil, and wipe the canvas the way you did before. Now the canvas is ready for further work.

    Always begin with dark areas By touching lightly the painted area, identify the suitable tonality of the mixture. All the next layers will be made with two brushes: one brush for dark mixtures, the other for light mixtures.

    Sometimes, when the mixture on the canvas gets sticky too fast, and it becomes difficult to make blending with a brush, you can blend with your fingers. In the umber underlayer, you have already chosen the tonality.

    Now you have to rely on it, that is you must repeat the chosen tonality in the dead underlayer. You can make corrections in the tonality without making radical changes. You can alter the tonality towards shadow or light only to a small extent. If we take the range between black and white as consisting of seven tones, in the dead underlayer you can change the tonality only by one tone, up or down.

    A good guide in selecting the right tone is the areas of the umber underlayer seen between dead underlayer brush strokes. Visible umber areas must not be in a dramatic contrast to your working mixture. For that reason it is very important to work with small brushes even in large areas, such as the background. You should work as is imitating pen strokes. Visible umber areas function as the third brush. Begin blending with the dark areas: they get sticky faster. After blending it may seem that the umber underlayer has become invisible.

    However, it will continue its function, particularly, in the shadowed areas, which must have a thinner layer of paint in the dead layer. Sometimes blending may take as much time as applying paint. To finish work on a certain area, use the biggest soft blending brush. On the contrary, lighter areas require thicker layers of paint, because it is the light areas, the areas with a greater amount of white pigments, which become transparent faster than the darker areas.

    Besides, the blending brush cleaned from the dark paint with a dry cloth will not damage the light area as much as the blending brush with the remains of the light paint can damage the dark areas. You can ask why you should make so much work in the umber underlayer if you have to overpaint it. The best answer is found in the museums: paintings made in the classical technique look best of all.

    You should feel creative satisfaction after finishing each stage: while the painting dries between stages, it lives in your studio.

    Your visitors and yourself see it; don't deprive yourself of that pleasure. The tone in the dead underlayer should be made lighter in light areas and darker in shadows, compared to the umber underlayer.

    However, the tone should be darker in light areas and lighter in shadows than in the following color layer. It is important to make half-tones as precise as possible because they will hardly be corrected in further layers.

    There will be places that you will not paint at all. In future workshops we will discuss other methods of making the dead underlayer, such as Ian van Haisom's technique.

    His method is characterized by detailed and careful work in the umber underlayer that results in different tasks to be performed in the dead underlayer.

    In future we shall also discuss some other possible shortcuts. Now it is advisable for the artist beginning to work in the classical technique to make the dead underlayer by painting all elements of the still life in order to understand the tasks and meaning of the dead underlayer in practice.

    It is recommended to make ten or fifteen paintings using this method before learning other ways of making the dead underlayer. Don't work on the texture in this stage, but begin thinking about it while making blending smoother at places, or leaving more visible brush strokes in other places.

    Speaking about the qualities of oil paints, it should be remembered that oil paints stick well on the carefully prepared canvas, and are an excellent medium for modeling, shading, and achieving most delicate transitions from tone to tone, because they remain wet for a long time.

    However, it is a mistake to think that oil painting does not require any methods, and you can make layer after layer without any system. On the contrary, oil painting requires strict adherence to a certain technique. It is true that defects of incorrect use of oils are discovered not so soon compared to other mediums, but they inevitably become visible sooner or later. The best techniques of oil painting were developed in the Renaissance epoch.

    They make the best examples of painting, both from the artistic and technical points of view. The knowledge of the physical characteristics of the materials enabled Old Masters to create the technique of oil painting that has never been surpassed. In the entire history of oil painting their style and technique are unique in their harmony of materials and artistic taste. The knowledge of that technique lived in the artists' guilds through the 17th century.

    In the 18th century, due to the emergence of new ideas in painting, that technique was gradually lost. As early as in the first art academies the technical artistic training of the artist was replaced by philosophic artistic education.

    Since that time the knowledge of painting technique, that had been the basis of the artist's work, begins to be viewed as limiting artistic freedom. Dramatic neglect of the oil painting technique occurred in the age of French impressionists who introduced a non-systematic use of oils.

    Impressionists' destructive ideas were brought to gargantuan proportions by their followers, particularly by neo-impressionists. Pointillism may have a certain sense from the artistic point of view, but this method does not arise from the intrinsic properties of oil painting. New ideas in art should look for other materials for their realization if they contradict established and time-honored traditions.

    From that standpoint, impressionism brought in a false style in oil painting that, regrettably, has its followers up to now. Research into oil painting techniques carried out both by artists and by scholars was primarily aimed at discovering and regeneration of the lost Old Masters' methods. Many aspects of the forgotten technique have been discovered, but painting itself went far away from the goals and principles of Old Masters' painting.

    Naturally, it is now possible to relate the Old Masters' technique with the modern understanding of art. But an oil painting technique, whatever its goals may be, that is employed to create long-lasting works of art, must arise from the properties and characteristics of oil paint materials. Color Layer Color Layers Now we are beginning the first color layer. Make sure that the canvas is well dried. Our canvas dried for four weeks. After the usual preparation of the canvas and the palette before the next stage, we begin work on the color layer.

    We'll be using ivory black, Prussian blue, transparent oxide red, burnt umber, permanent madder deep, red ocher, extra fine Indian yellow, yellow ocher, cadmium yellow deep, flake white, and our regular dead underlayer mixtures. The main principle of the first color layer is that you should make shadow areas darker and more colorful. Working on shadows you should use more transparent mixtures. Working on medium-light areas, apply semi-transparent mixtures.

    When painting middle tones on large areas, add a little semi-transparent mixture with some Prussian blue. Semi-transparency is achieved by making sparse brush strokes with a small brush with subsequent blending with a dry brush.

    Lighted areas should be made lighter and more colorful too. Working on light areas, use more paste-like mixtures, applying them rather thickly. Painting the wall that is our background, you can make it warmer or colder. To make it warmer, you should cover the shadow areas of the dead underlayer with a darker and warmer mixture of ivory black, burnt umber, and permanent madder deep. To make the background colder, don't overuse that mixture. The wall will look much colder even if the lighted areas on it will be made with very warm mixtures.

    By cold colors we mean colors closer to that of ice, whereas warm colors are closer to that of flame. Applying color mixtures on a well prepared shape in the dead underlayer, leave visible as many dead underlayer areas in half-tones as possible. Keep in mind that literally a couple of color brush strokes may be enough to make, for example, the table top made in gray in the dead underlayer become dark mahogany. Each layer brings us closer to the concept of texture.

    Texture is the degree of reflection of light by the surface. We do not carry out texture tasks in the color layer, but gradually intensifying lighted areas on the objects, we notice that some objects reflect light brighter and sharper, for example, the surface of a glass or polished furniture, while other objects reflect light more dimly and dispersedly, like our white drape or the mat wall in the background.

    Now you can see the advantages of this technique, particularly, for the beginning artists. The detail that you think went wrong is wiped away with a cloth from the previous well-dried layer. To make a correct degree of light on the surface of an object for a certain texture, stick to the following rules. In order to achieve a mat effect in the next layers, you should use mixtures that are closest to the tone of the dead underlayer whereby avoiding excessive contrast in transition from light to shadow.

    The matter is the surface the smoother the transition will be. On the contrary, in order to achieve a glossy surface, you should intensify the color, raise the tone, and reduce the lighted part of the surface. Remember, that in the last layer the glossiest surfaces will be those that have the lightest and sharpest highlight. Unlike the dead underlayer, that is made rather mechanically, in the color layer you begin to think by means of the brush: you paint objects, wipe paint away with a cloth or with your fingers, you try various color mixtures This is, undoubtedly, the creative part in our craftsmanship.

    The main thing in this stage is not to overdo it. You should leave some color in tone work for further layers. Remember that you won't find anything whiter than the white paint, or redder than the red paint. The brightest and sharpest highlights in the finished painting will be the sun reflected in the sparkles of water, the shiniest elements in our still life. In the jar we can see hints at the texture: gray patches, blackened at places, cover areas where the glaze was lost.

    It is better to start with the white drape because it requires a greater amount of paint, which therefore will take a longer time to dry. The lightness of the white drape can't approach the light intensity of the water drops.

    Accordingly, we express the whiteness of the white drape not by means of the intensity of the white color, but by means of the darkness of the objects around the drape. We paint the white drape in the color layer with little difference to the previous layer. Orange beams of the imaginary sun color the bulging parts of the drape very delicately. From time to time add more fresh mixture to light areas in order to increase the thickness of the layer.

    The transition from light to shadow should be made as smoothly as possible, transforming the dead color of the underlayer into the emphatic bluishness of the half-tone contrasting with the orange light. The folds of the drape are made according to their own laws. In some places they form sharp angles between which there are soft round folds. We can view a highlight as reflecting the blue sky and the shiny orange sun. Paint details of the ornament without going into the texture of the threads and the nap of the cloth.

    Remember that the mixture for painting the light areas of the white drape should be the same; that is why make a sufficient amount of that mixture.

    As you can see, blending of the delicate tonal transitions of the drape's surface becomes particularly significant. Compared to highlight, the reflection is a hot glittering of a fireplace or candlelight. The reflection is always warmer than light. Don't spare your efforts when blending the soft drape. As you can see, there is little work in painting the shadows of the white drape because the half-tone replaced the shadow. The mixture for painting the white drape is made of the corresponding dead mixture with a small addition of a lighter mixture, so that you can achieve a mixture one half-tone higher.

    In the deep shadow that is not lit by the sunlight, the drape is lighted by the imaginary fireplace to the right of us. Be careful not to make the tone too high. The resulting mixture should be colored with cadmium yellow deep and red ocher. We can correct the dark areas of the drape only in the construction of the folds; the color and tone of the dead underlayer are quite satisfactory in the shadow. Make the dark edges non-existent, even if you are painting the white drape, using burnt umber, ivory black, and transparent oxide red.

    Lemon takes a conspicuous place in the Flemish still life. Very often you can hear people viewing Old Masters' still lifes exclaim, "Look at this lemon! It really makes me hungry! Hence a good advice: treat the lemon you are painting as something delicious and not just a combination of yellow forms. The skin of the lemon is grainy and glossy. The gloss on the lemon skin creates a symmetrical play of highlight constellations in the lighted area. It is very difficult to make this texture in this layer.

    All we can do is to paint the color of the skin. Share the excitement with other classmates in the private Oil Painting Expressions Facebook group. New to Oils? We make it easy to learn! Watch and paint along with the short tutorials in the Oil Basics Brush Ups Series covering topics like surface preparation, blending, leaves, twigs, fruit, flower petals, shapes, gold leafing, varnishing, and more.

    Already an accomplished oil painter? Then you can pick up some valuable oil techniques to add to your skillset! Test Video - Check to see if your device is properly equiped to play the videos. Our Teachers Find out about our roster of incredible teachers. You will be hard pressed to find such talent all in one place for such a small investment.

    We can do that by rearranging the drape. Particular attention should be paid to the folds. Each fold should be viewed as a separate detail of the entire composition. Relying on a happy accident in laying out the drape, you have at the same time to correct certain details. Dew or raindrops add unbelievable freshness to the painting. It is difficult to find a still life of an Old Master without sparkling drops of water.

    It is conventional wisdom that drawing is the skeleton of the painting, color is the muscles, and composition is the soul of the painting. Similarly, you need to prepare the confectioner's knife. Its blade should have an elliptic shape. To remove tiny scratches from the blade of the knife, use fine sand paper once in a while.

    For study purposes, use ultra-smooth cotton canvas. Prepare a mixture of gesso and modeling paste: 50 percent of gesso, 50 percent of paste.

    Even if you use primed canvas, you must prime it again. Apply as many layers of the priming mixture as is needed to achieve the surface that will make the canvas texture almost invisible. When applying the priming mixture, change the direction of the movement of the knife as long as the mixture is soft. The movements must be energetic and confident.

    Stop before the mixture begins to thicken. To speed up the process, use a hair dryer. Make sure that the priming layer is well dried. Then use the round-cornered razor blade to remove excessive priming. Never use sand paper for that: there can be a large grain of sand that will make a deep unrecoverable scratch.

    The desired smoothness of the canvas is usually achieved after priming the canvas three or four times. After you have finished priming, the surface of the canvas should feel like the surface of the eggshell. Drawing is a means of thinking: the artist must be able to think without difficulty.

    Constant drawing from nature, constant exercise in that is as important as copying the works of Great Masters. However, this topic requires a special workshop; now we are discussing painting technique and preparing the canvas for the next stages. If you have problems in drawing, don't be put off by that; use the advantages given by modern technology, such as a camera, slide projector, opaque projector, or similar gadgets.

    Leonardo da Vinci, for example, to achieve a better precision of painted objects, invented a camera obscura, grandfather of modern photo cameras. Don't be afraid to use technical devices in your work, a camera is just a tool, like a paintbrush. Each step in making a painting, beginning with priming the canvas, must be carried out with the highest possible quality. Each step should produce an impression of a finished work. If you manage to make seven finished works on one canvas, you are bound to be successful.

    Trey to make as many details as possible in the pencil drawing: it will make it easier for you to achieve a better quality in the next steps. The main of the pencil drawing is to create a precise structure of borders between areas of highlight and light, light and half-tone, half-tone and shadow, and reflections. It is also advisable to draw some details of texture. This, however, is done only for your own convenience: it will help you to memorize texture characteristics.

    After you have made a pencil drawing on the canvas, draw it out in ink. Imprimatura, the first oil layer, will wash away the pencil, leaving the ink drawing as the first layer of your painting. Many unfinished paintings by Old Masters give us evidence of the importance of the ink drawing. According to Cenini, the painting in that form was already capable of fascinating the viewer. It is obvious that the ink drawing is not only good in itself; it has an important functional; value, particularly, for the beginning artist: the beginner sometimes has to wash away everything he or she has done in the umber underlayer.

    The ink drawing remains, and the artist doesn't have to draw the composition again A little advice: pay particular attention to such details as the ornament of the tabletop, lace ornament, and other structurally complex elements. Imprimatura must have a neutral olive hue. The degree of darkness or lightness of imprimatura should be chosen in relation to the largest light area of the future painting, such as a white drape or a face.

    You can use only yellow ochre and lamp black. However, Prussian blue and burnt umber are added to accelerate drying of the next layers. The presence of Prussian blue and burnt umber in imprimatura enables you to make your mixture warmer or colder. Flake white is added to make brush strokes softer. Prepare the mixture on a white palette: it will help you see the degree of transparency of the mixture.

    The mixture should be thinned with 20 parts of turpentine and one part of damar varnish. Add paints to the yellow ocher very slowly and carefully. Be particularly attentive with Prussian blue: it is a very intensive pigment.

    40+ Free Oil Painting Video Tutorials For Beginners

    Spread linseed oil on each well-dried previous layer immediately before you begin the next layer. This leads to a better contact of the paint of the dry layer with the paint of the next layer.

    It also improves the process of dry brush blending. Apply the linseed oil with your hand: the warmth of the hand helps the oil penetrate into the pores of the dry layer.

    Then remove excessive oil from the surface with a clean cloth. Wipe the canvas well: excessive oil is harmful for the paint layers.

    The mixture should be spread on the canvas with a bristle brush as evenly as possible. Then blend the brush strokes as carefully as you can with a soft squirrel or camel brush. Then blend the brush strokes as carefully as you can with a soft squirrel or camel brush The dry brush that you use for blending should be cleaned with a cloth regularly, to remove paint that gets on it from the canvas.

    Imprimatura completes the main preparatory stage. This layer must dry very well; it takes about 7 days. During that time you can begin work on other paintings. Umber Underlayer Imprimatura is now well dried, and before you begin the next layer, you should scrape the canvas with the round-corner razor blade in order to remove an occasional brush hair and dust that covered the canvas during the 7 days of drying.

    Use the razor blade very carefully; otherwise you can damage the imprimatura layer. After that oil the canvas and remove excessive oil the way you did before.

    Do the same thing with the palette. You will need several round and flat kolinsky brushes of different brushes to paint with, and several soft squirrel or camel brushes for dry brush blending. The working medium is composed of approximately 2 parts of turpentine, one part of damar varnish, and one drop of lavender oil.

    From time immemorial lavender oil was used to stimulate intellectual and physical activity. Old Masters knew that and added lavender oil in their working media. However it may be, a drop of lavender oil kills the heavy smell of turpentine.

    Apply burnt umber to the canvas with confident movements, but stick to the drawing contour. The technique of making this layer differs significantly from the traditional concept of oil painting: although your medium is oil paint, use it as if you were using watercolor. This means that light and shadow depend on the degree of transparency of the applied mixture; the pigment you add to the medium, the darker it will be.

    As soon as you feel that you have covered an area with a desired tone, begin blending with a medium size correcting brush. Begin blending with the lighter areas, moving gradually to the darker ones. After the correcting brush, which you use to spread the paint masses more or less evenly, use a big blending brush to achieve the final smoothing effect. One of the aims of making imprimatura is to reduce the amount of applied light paint. Therefore, the relationship between imprimatura and the umber underlayer must be carried out in a way that would bring the future corrections to minimum.

    Remember the golden rule: you make the next layer not to correct mistakes in the previous layer, but you make the previous layer to facilitate work in the next layer.

    Umber Underlayer In the first stage of the umber underlayer it is very important to maintain the construction between light and shadow of the individual object, leaving the tonal relationships between the still life objects for the next stage of the umber underlayer. Be sure you don't make dark areas of the still life too dark.

    Remember, in the umber underlayer we shall only be able to make them darker, but never lighter. The umber underlayer should consist of several well-dried stages. Don't decide on the number of umber stages in advance, make as many as necessary to achieve the tonality that will not require improvements in the next layers. Naturally, for some dark objects, for example, black cloth, a violin neck, some parts of black grapes, the darkness of umber will be insufficient.

    Nevertheless, the tonal construction of the darkest areas must be made in umber with the greatest possible precision. Don't spare your time in the umber underlayer because in the next stages you will rely on it. If you are able to avoid major tonal corrections in the layers that follow the umber underlayer, you painting will be fresh and beautiful.

    Don't forget to scrape the canvas with the razor blade to remove dust and excessive texture of brush strokes. As the result of scraping the canvas after each layer the surface of the canvas should become as smooth as silk Scrape the canvas carefully, however, don't despair if you scraped some areas more than you wanted; these areas can be easily restored.

    You will avoid scraping the dry layer to the white canvas if you made the priming correctly, that is if there is no uneven areas after priming. The classical composition laws require that light shall concentrate in the center of the painting and fade away near the edges of the canvas.

    If you are painting a portrait or a complicated composition, you will need to make more umber stages. In our case, the umber underlayer is completed in two stages. The finishing stage of the umber underlayer may be called the generalizing stage.

    In the generalizing stage you can use larger brushes than in the previous stage. All details of the composition were made in the previous stage. In this stage we only have to show tonal differences between the objects.

    This means, for example, that the lemon is darker than the white drape, but lighter than the pear. The jar is darker than the background, but is brighter lit. This is the last task that you carry out in the umber underlayer. If you follow the technological rules, then even the most successful colorist of the Realistic school will envy the delicacy and depth of the classical painting.

    Old Masters believed that the painting should be made in gray; color pigments can easily be bought later. The main purpose of the dead layer is to make half-tones of the painted objects. The laws of the classical painting say that the half-tone should be cold, whereas a realistic artist can see in the half-tone any imaginable color.

    If you make the dead layer well, then, working on the color layer, your creativity will be free from the necessity to solve tonal tasks. Remember, the colder the dead layer is the hotter and brighter the color will look on it.

    It is because of the dead layer finished paintings look lighter or darker, warmer or colder. To keep mixtures prepared for the dead layer, you may use empty tubes, or, for shorter periods of storage, you can use film boxes. Pigments used in the dead layer have passed the test of time. They are flake white, lamp black, yellow ocher, Prussian blue, and burnt umber.

    Prussian blue and burnt umber accelerate drying and balance cold and warm colors in your mixture. Now, after preparing the palette, we begin making mixtures. To make a black mixture for the dead layer, we take two parts of lamp black, one part of burnt umber, and about one eighth of Prussian blue.

    To make a white mixture for the dead layer, we take flake white, and decrease the intensity of the open white by adding a little bit of black mixture. After that, we make a middle tone between the light and the dark mixtures. The approximate proportion is two parts of the black, and one part of the light mixture. The middle tone mixture should be colored by adding yellow ocher, burnt umber and Prussian blue.

    The proportion depends on your vision of the dead layer, whether you want to make it bluer, greener, or browner. You should avoid violet tones in the dead layer. And remember, the dead layer is dominated by the gray color.

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    Then, on the basis of the light and middle tone mixtures, you make five more intermediate tones. Two more intermediate tones should also be made between the middle tone and black mixtures. The umber underlayer dries in about three weeks. To make sure that the layer is well dried, you can oil slightly a corner of a white cloth and rub it on the dark area of the canvas.

    If the white cloth gets brown, you must leave the canvas to dry better. When the canvas is well dried, scrape it with the razor blade, oil, and wipe the canvas the way you did before. Now the canvas is ready for further work. Always begin with dark areas By touching lightly the painted area, identify the suitable tonality of the mixture. All the next layers will be made with two brushes: one brush for dark mixtures, the other for light mixtures.

    Sometimes, when the mixture on the canvas gets sticky too fast, and it becomes difficult to make blending with a brush, you can blend with your fingers. In the umber underlayer, you have already chosen the tonality. Now you have to rely on it, that is you must repeat the chosen tonality in the dead underlayer.

    You can make corrections in the tonality without making radical changes. You can alter the tonality towards shadow or light only to a small extent. If we take the range between black and white as consisting of seven tones, in the dead underlayer you can change the tonality only by one tone, up or down. A good guide in selecting the right tone is the areas of the umber underlayer seen between dead underlayer brush strokes. Visible umber areas must not be in a dramatic contrast to your working mixture.

    For that reason it is very important to work with small brushes even in large areas, such as the background. You should work as is imitating pen strokes. Visible umber areas function as the third brush. Begin blending with the dark areas: they get sticky faster.

    After blending it may seem that the umber underlayer has become invisible. However, it will continue its function, particularly, in the shadowed areas, which must have a thinner layer of paint in the dead layer. Sometimes blending may take as much time as applying paint. To finish work on a certain area, use the biggest soft blending brush. On the contrary, lighter areas require thicker layers of paint, because it is the light areas, the areas with a greater amount of white pigments, which become transparent faster than the darker areas.

    Besides, the blending brush cleaned from the dark paint with a dry cloth will not damage the light area as much as the blending brush with the remains of the light paint can damage the dark areas. You can ask why you should make so much work in the umber underlayer if you have to overpaint it.

    The best answer is found in the museums: paintings made in the classical technique look best of all. You should feel creative satisfaction after finishing each stage: while the painting dries between stages, it lives in your studio.

    Your visitors and yourself see it; don't deprive yourself of that pleasure. The tone in the dead underlayer should be made lighter in light areas and darker in shadows, compared to the umber underlayer. However, the tone should be darker in light areas and lighter in shadows than in the following color layer.

    It is important to make half-tones as precise as possible because they will hardly be corrected in further layers. There will be places that you will not paint at all. In future workshops we will discuss other methods of making the dead underlayer, such as Ian van Haisom's technique. His method is characterized by detailed and careful work in the umber underlayer that results in different tasks to be performed in the dead underlayer.

    In future we shall also discuss some other possible shortcuts. Now it is advisable for the artist beginning to work in the classical technique to make the dead underlayer by painting all elements of the still life in order to understand the tasks and meaning of the dead underlayer in practice. It is recommended to make ten or fifteen paintings using this method before learning other ways of making the dead underlayer. Don't work on the texture in this stage, but begin thinking about it while making blending smoother at places, or leaving more visible brush strokes in other places.

    Speaking about the qualities of oil paints, it should be remembered that oil paints stick well on the carefully prepared canvas, and are an excellent medium for modeling, shading, and achieving most delicate transitions from tone to tone, because they remain wet for a long time. However, it is a mistake to think that oil painting does not require any methods, and you can make layer after layer without any system. On the contrary, oil painting requires strict adherence to a certain technique.

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