Tips on Oil Painting – Thinking While Painting
Oil painting is a mainly right brain activity but the left brain is by no means idle. A good question to ask is: What sort of brain activity goes into the act of painting?
Here are some answers:
* The Drawing Phase – In this phase you create a drawing on your canvas. During this effort you should be preoccupied with all the technical issues that make a good drawing.
You ask yourself questions like: Is this shape right? Is this angle too shallow? Is this object in the right place? Is this line too short or too long? Is this what I intend to convey to my audience? In other words, be preoccupied with concepts such as accuracy, seeing, comparing, judging, etc.
You must learn to draw well so you do not get constantly distracted by your lack of skill.
* The Block-in Phase – This is the phase where you color the large shapes in your drawing. Here you must keep in mind not to deform, enlarge (this is particularly easy to do), or crimp these shapes which were already correctly established in the Drawing Phase.
Be busy judging colors in terms of hue, value, and intensity. At the same time, think about how you will mix these colors on your palette. Which tube colors will you use? To do this well, you need to learn a few things about color mixing. During this phase, I recommend using fairly thin paint.
In all this, squinting is a great help, particularly for discerning values. To identify hues, avoid watching at them for too long. It's better to have a quick look, preferably with your peripheral vision. Also, restrain yourself from painting details.
* The Shaping Phase – This phase involves the modeling of the shapes so they look like the real objects. Here you should return back to the drawing mode. That is, think angles, lengths, curves, and position.
Also, refine the values, hues, and intensities. Force yourself to observe and to compare. Stand back regularly and judge your work from a distance. Also, in this phase we use thicker paint.
Keep in mind that at the end of this phase your painting should be more or less finished.
* The Detail Phase – This is the final phase where you add in the details. This is the icing on the cake phase where you can dream and let your individual talent come to the fore.
Be in a tender and soft mood. Think of hints, lost edges, accents, etc. Use thin paint for delicate lines or thick paint for highlights. Be discrete and measured. Do not overdo it.
The purpose of this article was to give you an idea of the sort of thinking patterns that go into the painting process. Painting is a mentally demanding activity and requires very much a multi-tasking approach. For many people, this takes some getting used to. At first, you may want to write lists of the various things to keep in mind while creating your masterpiece. Later on, all this will become second nature. As always, practice makes perfect. No shortcuts here.
Oh yes, and above all, do not forget to sign your painting!