Intro to Oil Painting: Part 2 – Step by step

Part 2 of this intro to oil painting tutorial walks you through every step of the process to paint a lobster in a still life.

38 min. video

Prof Lieu talks about how to premix your colors with a palette knife, lighting & shadow, brush techniques, how to layer your oil paint, the differences between opaque and transparent paint, glazing techniques, how to paint details, and more. 

Video Walkthrough

  • Seeing colors as a group
  • Pre-mixing colors
  • Squinting at the lobster
  • Palette knife
  • Lighting on the lobster
  • Warm & Cool colors
  • Mixing base colors
  • Adding small quantities of color
  • Mixing a shadow tone
  • Mixing the highlights
  • Sketching with paint
  • Painting is not about accuracy
  • Blocking in colors
  • Painting the negative space
  • Assigning 1 color to each brush
  • Training your eye to see colors
  • Tube wringer
  • Don’t critique yourself as you paint
  • Reinforcing the lighting
  • Glazing (transparent paint)
  • Opaque vs. transparent paint 
  • Dry brushing techniques
  • Painting details
  • Is the painting is done?

Prof Lieu’s Tips

Clara cartoon

I think the thing about palette knives is that they’re just a really awkward tool, so if you don’t have someone right there showing you how to use it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense!

Painting Basics Track: Self-Portrait Palette Knife Painting
Palette Knife Paintings: Mixing Flesh Tones

There’s no “correct” way to hold it, just that you have to press down.

So what you’ll see me do in a lot of the demos is I am pressing down to mix, and then I scrape up what I have mixed with the side of the palette knife so the color doesn’t spread all over my palette.

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