Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Oil Painting Tutorial: A Bowl of Fruit

This can be a tricky lesson. I think it's better one-on-one and the most students I would have are three at a time because it gets messy and noisy! This lesson is all about composition, a restriced pallete and working with still life.

First, have a look at the oil painting supply list before you begin and make sure you have all these items. Clear a workspace and make sure there is proper ventilation because there are very strong fumes.

You will need:

  • canvas or canvas paper (of course stretched canvas is the best for oils)
  • oil paints: cadmium red, lemon yellow, prussian blue, white
  • rag and a smock
  • turpentine or Sansodor
  • oil painting bristle brushes


Arrange fruit in a plate or bowl and place it on a cloth and a high surface that everyone can see. This is where I like to talk about composition and the rule of thirds.


Using pencil on the canvas, draw the grid of 3-by-3 and make sure to center the fruit on the 4 corners of the middle square.

Squeeze out only red, yellow and blue onto the palette. Any other colours should be mixed from these three as done in the previous lesson.

Add linseed oil to each mixture (to slow down drying and extend the pigment). Paint only with thin layers- this prevents the paint from cracking when it dries. You don't want cracking!


White is not always the best way to lighten a colour, for instance, adding white to red makes it pink. Try and add a little bit of yellow to red.

Assess the relationships of colour an tone once the first coat has been applied. At this point, it is fine to still see pencil markings, it means the paint layer is quite thin.



Have fun and goodluck! Xo. Q.