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Painting with Oils the Van Gogh Way - Painting Tutorial

 

Jacquelin Vanderwood

September 2004

Van Gogh had a very distinct style. However, in his later years the it became more bold. He could capture light and mood with just a few strokes. In this lesson we'll learn how to paint as he did in his later years. Using a 8 x 10 canvas, sketch out the picture you would like to use. Keep the sketch simple.

The first step is creating an under painting put down as dry as possible in this case. We won't use a drying agent as might be the case in other paintings. Block in the sky, clouds, and some of the landscaped as I have done.

I've take yellow mixed with white and began to cover the sky in short strokes. I did this throughout. When I got near the horizon I made sure to fill in the areas more thickly. When that was done, I then changed to golden sunflower color and added more strokes at the horizon area.

I changed to off-white and painted in short strokes in the upper sky area and then changed to a bright muted yellow and filled in more below.

I then used a dry soft brush to feather between the two colors to blend somewhat. After that step, I went through the painting with the same brush and blended paint slightly. Remember, this is wet thick paint so you have to be careful.

For the clouds I used off white to begin adding in color. I then went to bright white for some fo the areas at the top and then I used a purple gray color for accent. Again using short strokes.

Following the flow of the hills, I used colors I could see to paint in short strokes. Then I saw a lighter color and added that in. The basic principle is to set everything in short strokes, follow the flow of the lines, then add your highlight colors. Same principle as in regular paintings. With oils you have to consider that it's easier to go light from a dark color than it is to go dark if the paints are wet. 

When adding in more color in short strokes, remember to look for light in the form of color. Squint if you have to so that you can see more clearly.

Painting flowers using a slightly different method. I first painted in the area with dark brown as an under coat. You still use short strokes but more closely put together to create the form of the flower. 

I first outlined the buildings with dark brown. I then filled them with a base coat color.

For the side building I outlined it in dark brown and then filled it in with base coat colors. I then added in color for shadow and light using thicker, bolder strokes.

I then blended in short strokes after adding in the rest of the color.

I then outlined the trees in dark gray, almost black.

I painted in a base coat for the tree trunks. Using fairly short strokes, I change to a variety of lighter colors and added those in as texture. I used black to make more outline detail in the actual trunk. The leaves were base coated in strokes of medium green. A darker green was added after for the shadow areas. I used two or three lighter greens for the lighter and highlight areas. At this point I will call the painting finished.

 

 

Copyright (c) 2004, Jacquelin Vanderwood, All Rights Reserved

 








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