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Oil painting progress

This page is a reminder of the process and techniques we try out during the workshops.

There are of course lots of ways to engage with different medium. In the workshops and on these pages I will be able to introduce to a few and of course they are often framed around my own working practice. 




Canvas, board, paper


Priming is there as a barrier to the canvas or board. It stops paper degrading or the paint soaking into the canvas. 


Canvas and board can generally be bought already primed.

Priming paper

Why prime paper? The reason I do it is to maintain a flow of activity. Adding Gesso primer to a series of sheets does this and takes away the presence of the canvas. 


As I say, find your own ways, if you are happy to buy board or canvas and use them then do that but for me priming paper means I produce more work. 

Surface wash (oil or acrylic)

I do this in order to remove the white surface of the painting, it make me feel as if the painting has already started, again you will find your own way of working - perhaps sometimes do it without and see what the difference feels like. Watch the Hester Berry YouTube video 2 - a much subtler, gentler wash.

Fat over lean

A principle of oil painting is that you follow this rule. The idea being that if what is on the lower level dries faster than what is on top of it then the top layer will crack. So this is why we use a quick drying medium as the underpainting and a linseed oil on the top. The are a range of mediums for oil painting each with their own characteristics. There are good books and website pages on this. 

As a footnote we have decided to only use non-toxic materials in the studio as of now. So no more turpentine - instead we will be using Zest-it and Gamblin Safflower Oil.


We will also be applying glazes over the next couple of weeks to see what effect they have on our artworks.

Link to Skipton art shop for Pebeo paints. I really like working with these paints and Skipton do them at a really good price. They fit into the category of a Graduate range, there is a Professional range of oil paints that generally will contain more pigment and less oil.

This is my working process but please experiment with finding your preferred paint - perhaps start with Pebeo and then get the odd tube of other makes and quality to try them out.

Priming with Gesso - action shot!

Click on Photo to see

Hester Berry video

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