The dry brush technique is when you apply a stiff dry paint with a dry brush onto a dry surface. This technique works particularly well with a rough surface. The raised parts of your surface pick up the paint, while the dips or valleys in your support do not. This creates a broken color effect where the color of your canvas shows through.
Further information and resources on the Dry Brush Technique:
- Drybrush technique on Wikipedia
- Discussion on the Dry Brush Technique
- Tina Jones Dry Brush Technique Video
Painting On A Toned Ground
Sometimes, the white of the canvas or other support can be too bright. When you apply a uniform toned ground to your support, it makes it much easier to judge the values in your painting. You can use any color you like to tone your ground , but a popular method is to use warm tones of red, yellows and browns, which provide a wonderful richness to the finished work.
Here is an example of how to paint on a toned ground using Burnt Umber and Yellow Ochre. First you create the wash by mixing the Burnt Umber and Yellow Ochre together with a paint thinner ( use turpentine, or if you are like me, and are allergic to turpentine, use a water soluble oil paint). Apply the mixture generously to your support and completely cover it with a large bristle brush. Let this mixture stand for a couple of minutes and then wipe off the excess wash with a cloth.
Additional Resources on Toning a Ground:
- Oil Painting Techniques – How To Tone a Canvas
- Video – HOW TO OIL PAINT: Toning a Canvas
- Underpainting the Canvas
- Diana K. Gibson: Toning Canvas-Simple Steps
- Toning the canvas [Archive] – WetCanvas
Alla Prima Painting
Alla Prima painting is a technique of oil painting where the work is usually finished in just one sitting. I am sure you are familiar with the late great Bob Ross. He made this technique quite popular on his TV Show “The Joy of Painting”. It was amazing to watch this man complete such beautiful paintings in a 30 minute TV Show.
With Alla Prima Painting, the paint is applied wet onto wet directly on the support usually with no under painting or sketches. It might be a good idea in the beginning to lay down a sketch with some thinned down oil paint. This way you will have a general idea where your colors will be placed.
You have to be very careful while trying out this technique. If not, your painting can become muddy if you do not apply the colors correctly . It takes lots of practice to get this technique down, so don’t be upset if your first, second or even third painting does not come out the way you anticipated. Keep practicing and let your imagination run wild. As Bob used to say, “It’s Your World”.
Additional Resources on Alla Prima Painting Method:
Working With Painting Knives
If you never worked with painting knives before, I suggest you give them a try. This kind of painting method is quite different from traditional oil painting with a brush. When you apply your first stroke with a painting knife, you will understand why. Knife painting not unlike spreading cream cheese on a bagel. The consistency of your paint should be similar as is they way you apply the paint.
You may be tempted to use your palette knife to paint with. Try to avoid doing this as palette knives are not made for painting. Painting knives have more flexibility to them and come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. You can manipulate paint in a variety of different ways with a knife just by changing your hand position on the handle.
You can hold your hand down low on the handle to smear the paint over your support. Move your hand up to the top of the handle and you can use your finger to gently push the blade into the paint to create small dabs of color. You can also use the side of the knife to scrape away paint or or to create hard lines.
Additional Resources on Knife Painting:
- Painting Knife — Painting with a Knife Rather than a Brush
- Jaxas: Knife Painting Oil Landscape Demonstration
- Video – Create palette knife oil painting
If you never produced a painting using the glazing technique, then you should definitely give this a try as well. Your painting will have a different appearance then if you were to complete a painting using traditional color mixing techniques. Glazing tends to give colors more luminescence.
The colors are not mixed together first before applying, rather, they are mixed optically using single transparent layers of color. For instance, if you wanted to create the color green using glazes, you would not mix yellow and blue together on your palette first. You would first apply a thin glaze of blue, wait until it dries, then apply a thin glaze of yellow, which would then create your green.
Each layer must be completely dry before applying subsequent layers. Usually, the first step in using the glazing technique is to create a monochromatic (different values of the same color) underpainting of the subject. Using only one color will help you to focus on form and tone first, rather than being too preoccupied with color at this stage. Wait until your under painting is dry to begin applying your first layer of color. This technique is tricky and does require practice, but it is not as difficult as some may lead you to believe.
Additional Resources on Glazing:
- Glaze (painting technique)
- An Oil Painter Reveals His Glazing Secrets – Painting
- William_F._Martin: Glazing With Oils
- Vermeer’s Technique: Glazing
- Oil Painting Techniques – Glazing
The impasto oil painting technique is a method of applying paint with very thick and luscious strokes where the marks of the brush or painting knife are still visible. Paint straight from the tube is usually the right consistency for the impasto technique, however some artists will use a medium if needed. An artist who was famous for using this technique is Vincent Van Gogh. If you ever have the opportunity to view his work up close, you will see a perfect example of this technique.
Additional Resources on Glazing:
- What is Impasto?
- Impasto Technique for Oil Painting
- How to Use Impasto Medium With Oils
- Liquin Impasto Oil Painting Medium
- Video: Suzy Kitman – Impasto Technique
Oil Painting Technique DVD’s
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