How to paint a Flamingo — Oil on canvas – Step by step tutorial.


Today i am going to do an oil painting, I
am more of a drawing guy than a painter but i just wanted to explore other media as well.
i am not at all an expert in oil painting and i dont usually paint that often. so i
am not going to teach you how to do oil painting in a systematic way but i will just tell you
what all things i did to paint this one. For the painting i used a stretched canvas of
size 12×10 inches pebeo studio oil colors and the solvent i used was linseed oil.
I am starting off with painting a layer of burnt umber over the white canvas. here i
am not at all caring about the smoothness. This coating helps to attain the values easily
and painting on a white canvas is too boring for me. But there is nothing wrong in painting
directly on white canvas. It all depends on what you prefer.
After allowing the coating to dry for an hour i made an outline of the flamingo with a graphite
pencil. For the initial layer of burnt umber i mixed bunt umber with 1 part of linseed
oil and 4 parts of distilled turpentine for fast drying. We wont use that much distilled
turpentine for the actual painting though. So the initial layer will touch dry within
an hour. So i completed the basic outline here. I didnt
draw any details or values into it. but you can even draw fine details and values initially.
In my color palate i have a large portion of white paint , then cadmium red and orange.
I mixed the red with white to get the pink color. Some areas were a bit orange colored
and some areas were even brownish. so i added dark umber in those places. Right now i am
applying all these colors to the canvas. At this stage I am blocking in all the areas
with the most prominant color there. I dont worry about the texture and detail at this
layer at all. Instead i am concentrating on getting the values correct. So in this stage
you should have painted all the shadows and highlights with appropriate colors. If you
cant decide what color is the most prominant on each areas, just do a blurring filter on
photoshop and it will bring out the most prominant color avoiding all the details which is a
distraction at this stage. i am not mixing the paint with too much solvent
here, too much solvent make the paint transparent and the underpainting may show throw. I will
mix the paint with linseed oil and a few drops of distilled turpentine for the rest of the
painting. if you add more turpentine, the paint will dry fast and you may not be able
to manipulate them later. Like i said earlier the aim of this first
layer is to establish a value painting. so after painting this layer you shoud acheive
the basic shapes of the flamingo, and the shadows. you can paint over and over again
untill you are satisfied. That is the big advantage of oil painting over other media.
you get infinite amount of time to experiment with all the colors and values. So you dont
have to worry at all. if you made a mistake just paint over again to correct it.
To smoothen out and blend the colors i laid down on canvas i just used a large mop brush
without any solvents. Now i am painting the second layer where i
will add some details and make the colors little more vibrant by adding more colors.
I left the beak and background without painting because they are very dark. painting them
at this stage may smudge the color and ruin the lighter areas.
As you can see i am using a smaller brush to paint the details such as the feathers.
Feathers are pure white where the light is hitting the maximum and some feathers are
pure pinkish red. One think you should remember when painting feathers is the direction of
the feathers. you should paint the feathers according to the direction as seen in the
reference picture. painting them in all direction will make it less realistic.
I am going over the first layer again to make it more vibrant and to redifine the values.
This helps to make the painting smoother and more colorful. and by the second layer the
underpainting of burnt umber will disappear completely.
I mixed brown color with pink to paint the shadows between the feathers. and i used that
color to apply over some other shadow areas as well. This will help to increase the contrast
of the painting. Now i am blending the colors together with
a mop brush. You may loose the intensity of some colors while doing this but you can add
colors again later. blending with a moping brush helps to avoid all the sharp edges and
gives a smooth finish. I am adding another layer where i will use
the oil colors as such without any solvents. this will intensify the colors and helps to
paint pure whites. since this is a wet on wet painting, when adding white it will get
mixed with underlying colors and the resulting color will not be white. so i will use the
white paint as such and i will apply it with very light hand. so i can get pure white highlights.
so i will grab the white paint without solvent and paint over those feathers again to get
really defined feathers. This also helps to create an illusion of shining feathers. This
way i will paint single red feathers too by grabbing red paint.
Notice that i always follow the direction of feathers as seen in the reference picture.
I am using a small round brush to do all those strokes. to make that red a bit more interesting
i mixed it with orange. this gives a much more vibrant result. you should not worry
about the rought edges we can always make it smooth by just using a mop brush.
The method i used to paint this one is the traditional layer by layer technique. but
You can also paint something by carefully doing all the details in the initial layer
itself by working in a small area at a time. but this may take a lot of time. But you can
acheive far more realistic results. Most of the hyperrealistic painters use this method.
But for this painting i used the traditional layer by layer technique.
You can see that i am going over the shadows again with darker colours. as the painting
progresses we may have to darken the shadows again and again to get the perfect value.
I am now going over the painting with a layer of white to add fine feathers. i am using
a small brush to do that and after painting i will blend it lightly with a mop brush.
direction of the feathers should be maintained. Now i am painting the deep shadows between
the feathers with a mix of brown and black. After completing it i am using a mop brush
to blend and after that i will paint over and over until i am satisfied with the values.
Now its almost complete so i will paint the darkest areas. that include the beak and the
background. For the black color i use a mix of black , dark
green and dark blue to get a deeper black. after mixing the colors i will carefully apply
it with a small flat brush. for the edges i will use even smaller brush. extreme care
has to be taken not to smudge it over lighter areas.
For the background i will use an initial layer of sap green and then a layer of black and
some lighter greens and i will blend them together with the mop brush. for the edges
i will carefully use a small brush. we can use a dry flat synthetic brush to blur the
edges and blend them together. So the painting is complete. and it will get
dry to touch by around 3 to 4 days. Till then you will have to keep the painting in a dust
free area. after about 6 months the painting will get completely dry and then we can apply
varnish over it. So thank you so much for watching. Dont forget
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