When working in oils I follow the Frank Reilly method of painting that was started back in the 1950’s at the Art Student’s League. This method taught me to paint with a controlled palette. As I move through a painting almost all my essential colors are premixed into value strings from light to dark. I toggle back and forth between direct painting and careful premixed areas. There’s merit to both diving straight in and pre mixing for guaranteed results. Ultimately you have to go with whatever works best for you.
|3 value gray tone study - oil 3"x 6"?|
Here are some stages of painting the background. I tone the board in acrylics just enough to eliminate the glowing white surface but not enough to lose my underdrawing road map. From there I move background to foreground and refine as I go.
This is a photo of my palette after a day’s work. Based on this I was painting the creature’s head and arm. I work on a glass palette placed inside a Masterson palette box. A piece of masonite toned with a neutral gray rests underneath the glass. This box retards the drying time of oils and can keep my mixtures wet for days. If you premix an oil palette then put this box in the refrigerator, your palette can last well over a week. Airtight box in a cold airtight box. The fridge step was beneficial back in college but I don’t go that far anymore.
Find out more about Frank Reilly: