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Oil Painting the easy way!

Updated on February 2, 2016

Getting ready to paint!

Painting Montana
Painting Montana

Montana on my easel

I recently received a commission to paint Montana, the adorable pooch. Unfortunately he is no longer with us :- (

I’m posting my process with progress photos to show I how develop a painting. The easy way!

Here’s the photo of Montana, I love his beautiful smile! I used some artistic license to create a playful element and a pleasing composition.

Tinting my canvas

Tint with Burnt Umber

I began with a 11″ x 14″ canvas I primed and sanded smoothly. Next, I tinted the canvas with burnt umber thinned with oms, applying it with a brush.

Smooth it off

Wipe with a lint-free rag or paper towel

Smooth it off with a neatly folded rag or paper towel. If you bunch up your rag, it will leave marks on your canvas.

Drawing montana

Draw in your image with burnt umber

Next I drew in Montana's image with Burnt umber thinned with odorless mineral spirits. Try not to use thick paint and neither too runny, keep your brush as dry as possible.

Painting in the darks first

Paint in the darks

Once drawn in, I begin filling in all the darks with a mix of Burnt umber and Ultramarine blue. Remember not to paint too thick, keep paint thin this early in the game.

Begin painting in the background

The color I use for this painting are...

The colors I’m using for this painting are; Transparent red oxide, yellow ochre, Ultramarine blue, Burnt umber, Titanium white Alizarin and cadmium red. It's always a good idea to premix the colors for your painting, lots of it as it's difficult to match the exact color each time. I mix a pile of black using Ultramarine blue and Burnt umber.

At this point you can add medium to your paint. Walnut oil is easy to work with when you are just starting out in oils.

Once I had laid in my darks, I filled the background with blue skies and clouds, placing Montana on the beach, his favorite place to be.

Mix together some Ultramarine blue, Titanium white and a dash of Transparent red oxide. Always a good idea to use a complimentary color to tone down a color so it's not isn't too intense and bright.

For the clouds, use Titanium white with a dash of Ultramarine blue and Transparent red oxide. Don't forget to to add shadow on the underside of the clouds by adding your black mixture and mixing a grey shadow for your clouds.

Important to note...

Remember to always keep your edges soft by making sure your edges meet wet. Don't blend, Instead, gently drag a clean brush halfway between colors. Don't over do it.


Pre-mixed colors

Adding color to Montana's eyes and fur

Adding Ocher

I painted in the yellowy brown colors above and below Montana’s eyes. I mixed Transparent red oxide with yellow ocher. To darken the mixture I added some burnt umber.

Adding white fur

Paint in the nose and markings

I then added the blue grey markings on his forehead and nose and blended the fur with the white color which is Titanium white with a dash of transparent red oxide and tiny dash of ultramarine blue and grey.

Don't over blend, just gently drag on color into another using clean brushes each time.

Painting mouth and features

Paint in eyes and mouth

I then painted Montana’s eyes with Transparent red oxide, a dash of blue and burnt umber. Next, for his tongue, I mixed a dash of cadmium red, grey, Permanent Alizarin and white with a teeny dash of yellow ocher and white. The grey I refer to is a mix of transparent red oxide and Ultramarine blue.

Painting in teeth and fur

PaintingTeeth and fur

Next I painted in Montana’s teeth with some transparent red oxide, a dash of yellow ocher and white.

For the browns in the fur I mixed together some transparent red oxide with yellow ochre and a dash of burnt umber.

Complete the fur

Work in the fur, don't over do it

I mixed some titanium white, a tiny bit of transparent red oxide and a tiny dash ultramarine blue and a tiny dash of yellow ochre for the white fur; to which I ad a dash of gray made up of burnt umber and ultramarine blue. It’s a little tricky working the dark and the light fur without greying the black. I used a clean brush with every stroke, dragging my brush from the black and into the white fur so that I didn’t grey any of the black fur. I left little bits of the underpainting showing through and that warms it up from the inside out.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with Montana~ His smiling face and bright eyes touch my soul.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

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