Painting an eye in oil paint

Thank you everyone, for joining me! I think we did well, working with this limited palette. Here’s the replay and some tips that were discussed during the stream.


Photo by Cris Trung on Unsplash


  • Oil paint in (Mars) Black, Burnt Sienna and Titanium White.
  • Bit of linseed oil
  • Round brush
  • Oil paint paper or a piece of canvas.

Some tips

  • With this limited palette, you have only two choices to make: do I want it warmer, or cooler? Do I want it lighter, or darker.
  • I use Burnt Sienna with a bit of black as a colour to sketch with. You can also use just Burnt Sienna for lighter lines. Don’t put too much black in your underpainting. It will desaturate all the layers to come, because we are working wet-in-wet.
  • This is a direct painting meaning in one session, one layer, alla prima, however you want to call it. Working in layers (with the previous layer being dry) is called indirect painting.
  • I use some linseed oil to loosen up the paint. Because we work in one layer, this doesn’t break any fat over lean rules. Fat over lean applies to layered work. Don’t over do it though; too much linseed oil will make your paint difficult to handle!
  • Oil paint has great blending qualities. But sometimes you want to avoid that. For instance, in an area going from very dark, to a mid tone. If you blend that transition, the shadow colour will desaturate the transition. It better to load a warm colour (like straight Burnt Sienna), to make those transitions warmer. Add it in between the shadow and the mid tone area.

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