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Titanium White1 Inch2Paper Towels
Sky Blue2 Inch1Linseed Oil
Cerulean BlueScript Liner1Thinner
Vermillion Red#3 Fan Brush1
Lemon Yellow#6 Fan Brush1
Yellow Ochre#10 Palette Knife1
Indian Yellow#6 Filbert1
Vandyke Brown
Burnt Sienna
Ivory Black

Free Oil Painting Lesson





By: Michael Thompson


1. Prepare your canvas:


Apply a coat of base medium “extra creamy thinned white paint”


make sure this is spread evenly over the entire canvas.


Do not let dry before you start.


2.The Sky:


Using the one inch brush loaded with Sky Blue start to paint in the sky.


Leaving some empty spaces for the clouds.


Mix together Titanium White with a touch of Vermilion Red making a off white color result.


Now with the one inch brush heavily loaded with the white mixture


paint in the empty spaces so the clouds will have slight texture. See the following example:

3. The Mountain :


Now let’s get started on painting the mountain first mix sky blue and ivory black,

add titanium white in small amounts till you get a light grey color result.

Grab the number six filbert sketch the outline of the mountain,

after you get the results you like paint in the rest of the mountain

do not apply to much paint to the bottom of the mountain



Now using a clean two inch brush tap the base of the mountain creating a misty effect also tap in some titanium white around the mid part of the mountain. Softly fluff and the inner part of the mountain to diffuse, this helps make the mountain appear father away. Let’s move on to the next step..

 4. Placing The Background Trees



You can use the one inch brush that was used

to do the blue part of the sky.”or you can use a clean one your choice”

Start by tapping a small amount of the mountain mixture

with more ivory black added to it. Concentrate on creating foliage shapes,

these are distant trees don’t make them to tall.



Paint The Tree Trunks: Thinning a mixture of Vandyke brown and cerulean blue with a touch of titanium white, make sure the mixture is thinned to a water consistency.

Now load the number 2 script liner brush by twisting it through the paint creating A sharp point on the tip of the brush. Paint in the tree trunks, pay attention to the tree shapes that you made earlier with the one inch brush. See the example above to give you an idea where to place your tree trunks. Add the under color for the grassy area under the trees with the one inch brush using the same foliage color.

5. Highlighting The Background Trees:


To highlight the trees load a clean one inch brush by tapping in a mixture of yellow ochre, Indian yellow, very small amount of vermillion red. Mix more to the yellow side, now tap on the highlight color, make sure the color is slightly thinner than the under color, this will help the color stick easily to the canvas not creating a muddy mess. See the example below:


6. Putting In The “Evergreen”Foreground Trees:


Mix Vandyke brown, ivory black, cerulean blue small amount of yellow ochre. Use a number 3 fan brush, load both sides of the brush, now using the tip of the brush create a center line that will be like a guide line, now turn the brush where the bristles are horizontal, start gently touching the corner of the brush at the top of the tree as you go down the guideline bend the bristles upward work the slightly left to right or vice versa “do not let the brush slide” apply more pressure as you get to the bottom of the tree : use this example:  


Here is a full view example:

 Highlight the evergreen trees using the number 3 fan brush loaded with a mixture of cerulean blue, Indian yellow, lemon yellow, yellow ochre, add small amounts of these yellows til you get the desired shade of green.


The Cerulean blue will be a strong color “I Used Lukas Paint” start with a small amount. Make sure this mixture is thinned down slightly so it will highlight over the dark color easily. Apply the highlight with a gentle touch.


See the following example:

7. Detailed Tree:


Just as you thinned and loaded the paint earlier to water consistency in “paint the tree trunk Section” do so with these colors, ivory black, Vandyke brown, small amount of cerulean blue.

Follow the above example if you need help creating tree shapes.

8. Adding The Foreground:

As you can see in the example above I have added the highlights to the foreground pay attention to the lay of the land using a one inch brush loaded with the dark mixture you used for the foreground trees. Mix the following colours and alternate them to get colour variation vermillion red, yellow ochre, Indian yellow, lemon yellow, start applying the grass highlights, use tapping strokes to apply colour. Use vermillion red, mixed with small amount of burnt sienna to highlight the red bush under the tree to the left of the canvas and lemon yellow mixed with Indian yellow for the other bush.

Note: The light orange yellow grass strip in the foreground does not have any dark under color, to get that color mix lemon yellow, Indian yellow, a very, VERY small amount of vermilion red.




The foliage on the tree to the left does not have any dark mixture under it’s highlights use the same mixture as the grass strip in the foreground.

9. Large Evergreen Tree/Rocks:


The tree in the example below was created by using a #6 filbert brush, and a fan brush




Mix Vandyke brown, ivory black, and cerulean blue now use the filbert brush to draw the trunk of the tree you can use the palette knife to highlight the tree trunk or the script liner. Use a yellow ochre, titanium white, and burnt sienna mix, for the highlight color.


Now grab the number 6 fan brush load it with the mixture you made the trunk of the tree with load both sides of the brush. Now start at the top of the tree using the corner of the brush bend the bristles upward the ferrule of the brush should be moving upward that’s how you can tell you are doing this brush stroke right, do not let the brush slide it is a bend and release technique.


The highlights are applied the same exact way except you use a gentler touch. Mix cerulean blue, Indian yellow, lemon yellow, if you need to tone the color down just add small amount of burnt sienna.


Now for the rocks I used the knife to do these with, first you have to create your initial shape



So let’s start by adding a dark under color this will help with where the object appears in the painting and also aids in creating shadows on the rock(s)

Mix Vandyke brown, ivory black, and cerulean blue, pull the knife through the paint til it is flat, then pull the edge of the knife through the paint this will load paint on the edge of the blade, this makes it easier to manage your ability to apply the paint to the canvas with the palette knife.

After you create all the rock shapes you want in your painting, next put highlights on them still using the knife mix titanium white with burnt sienna, add just a small amount of yellow ochre. Load the knife the same as before and with a very gentle touch place the highlight color on top of the darker color DO NOT USE ANY PRESSURE JUST BARELY TOUCHING THE CANVAS IS ALL THE PRESSURE YOU NEED. Let the paint break as you apply the highlight color to the canvas it will let the dark color show through creating instant shadows.

10. Applying The Finishing Touches:


Now all that’s left is to tidy up and sign your painting, let’s look over the picture below and see if we need to do anything else before we sign it.



One thing I see, tidy up the grass around the rocks so it appears that the grass is growing in front of and around the rocks, it also sets them into the painting. Look at your painting see if you need touch up any spots if not sign your painting. I usually sign in one of the lower corners it is all a personal preference, I print my last name using capital letters I think that looks better than lower case letters, but again it is all individuality, you sign how you feel comfortable.


I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial?


Until we have a chance to do it again.


Remember Paint And Make It Happen!


Michael Thompson


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