Oil Painting: Setting Up Your Studio, Pallet, and Canvas

By February 5, 2018 Uncategorized

This is the second installment of my oil painting series. In this post, I will discuss setting up your studio, pallet, and canvas. I will be adding a written description below of everything covered in the video. I will add a link to the apple photo I will be using at the bottom of the article.

Setting Up Your Studio

The two things to consider when choosing your painting spot is space and lighting. When I am painting I need space to put all my supplies, laptop, and coffee. Coffee is an essential part of my painting process! The best place to set up your studio would be in a place that you can leave your supplies out. Having a set studio scape can be tough if you have children, pets, or a small living space. Until I get my dream studio, I use my kitchen table as my working surface. My kitchen has plenty of natural lighting which is essential for good painting. Artifical lighting can skew the colors making it hard to paint accurately. If you have to paint under artificial lighting, look for light bulbs that say natural or white light. If you have a creative studio space let me know in the comments!

Setting Up Your Pallet

There is no right or wrong way to set up your pallet! I set up my pallet in the following order: white, black, brown, blue, red, and yellow. I arrange my paints at the top of my pallet giving me plenty of room to mix. If you go online, you will see that there are countless articles and pictures of pallet setups. Find what is comfortable for you and then stick with it. I always know where my blue is because I always stick it in the same place. Also, if you are using a glass pallet like myself, make sure there is a white piece of paper underneath it. Having that white background will help you mix colors accurately.

Setting Up Your Canvas

This is where the fun part of painting begins! You can draw on your canvas with a pencil. I will caution you that unless you spray your canvas with a fixative, the paint thinner can remove the graphite. Spray fixative can be bought at any art supply store. You can also use your brush to “draw” the basic outlines of your painting. Use a little thinner and some burnt sienna as your pencil. Once you have your subject drawn in you can tone your canvas. Not every oil painter tones their canvas and it is completely up to you. I like to tone my canvas so that I don’t have to work from a white background. Burnt sienna is a very popular color for an artist to tone with. Use a big brush and thinned paint. When toning, I am not particularly careful I just get the paint all over the canvas. If I have areas that will be a highlight or will benefit from a white canvas I will leave those untoned. If an area in your painting is darker you can add more paint and less thinner. Once you are done with your drawing and toning, let the canvas dry for a couple of minutes before you move onto the next step.

If you have any questions the video or article doesn’t answer, please let me know! I hope to get a closer shot of the canvas in the next video to provide a clearer point of view as I am painting. If you want to paint the same photo that I am, you can download the photo from the link below and follow along with me as I post my videos!  https://www.pexels.com/photo/apple-blur-delicious-diet-209449/ In the next video, I will show you how I use colors and shading to make things look real.