Oil Painting With Umber Underpainting


I started to paint with oil a while ago. I had a few lessons for my first painting (not this one here). After this I painted another one for my son’s bedroom. He likes to play with Duplo so I painted it.

In the following sections I’ll describe how I made the oil painting.

Besides, my teacher in Oil Painting is Guiseppe Fiore (Giuseppe FioreFacebook page of Guiseppe Fiore)

Basically I used just a few basic colors of Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colors. I chose water mixable be then I could paint at home.

  • Permanet Alizarin Crimson
  • French Ultramarin
  • Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue
  • Ivory Black
  • Titan White
  • Burnt Umber (for the underpainting)

I mixed all colors by myself and I used a big size 10 brush for the background and a small size 4 brush for the details.

1. Photo Transfer

First step was to transfer the photo of the Duplo to the canvas with pencil. Then I fixed the pencil drawing with a Acrylic Fixative.

Pencil drawing

Pencil drawing


2. Underpainting

The next step was to paint the underpainting with Burnt Umber values (mix it with water and white and black). Make sure that no pencil stroke shines through because it’ll be hard to cover them using i.e. yellow or red oil color. The best to achieve this is to mix it with lot of white so that you cover all the pencil strokes.
I did not do it as you can see below and that was a huge mistake!




3. Color Layers

The next and also final step is to paint the picture using your colors. You can add multiple layers if you want. I ended up painting 3 layers (and still the pencil strokes shine through the yellow color).

Color Layer

Color Layer – 1st Layer

Color Layer - 2nd Layer

Color Layer – 2nd Layer

Color Layer - 3rd Layer

Color Layer – 3rd Layer


4. Lessons Learned

Definitely, use white and black and a lot of umber to cover all your pencil strokes. I tried to “refurbish” the yellow area. The result is not perfect but it’s Ok.

Paint the next layer only if the previous one is really almost dry. Otherwise you would “move” the color of the previous layer.

And finally, don’t use too much color for the first layers. With each layer you can add more color. Start with a thin color layer and become thicker then.

"Refurbish" Layer

“Refurbish” Layer