Introduction to Oil Paint: #2 Monochromatic supplement


Develop a monochromatic palette: One hue plus white, gray and black:  You can include all of these variations in your painting but stick with the hue plus gray initially.

1. Hue plus white in three distinctively different values.

2. Three values of gray: Light gray,  mid gray and black

3. Hue plus light gray, mid gray and black


Feather blend the transitions between values to practice a blending technique used to make soft edges and see intermediate shades.



Using grayed hues; rough in background to foreground and dark to light. This will give you a value and shape map to explore and develop in slower time.


Lay the paint on one stroke at a time. Each stroke a different hue/value mix. Developing a painting this way, without a detailed value underpainting  is called “alla Prima”  (at first attempt) also referred to as the “direct method” and “wet on wet”.  It can be used to great effect for any genre. Paintings of this nature are often luscious, fresh, spontaneous and impressionistic in appearance .

Try to resist blending on the canvas until later. See if you can distill the subject into planes of light and dark.

Grayed hues will recede. Saturated hues with little or no gray will advance.


Keep it loose. Use the  biggest brushes possible. At times you may need to scrape off paint and start in again.

Hold your paint brush as far from the ferrule as possible (the ferrule holds the bristles of the brush in place). It’s okay if it feels a  little out  of control.

Work up to the details-when you have better coordination.


1. Pay close attention to placing hard/crisp and soft/blended edges to indicate space.

2. Pay close attention to the distinction between lights and darks.

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