Art Lesson 42, Part 11
Discover how to Paint Blue Patterned Drapery in Oils
Learn how to paint like the Old Masters!
Old Masters Academy Online CourseSelf-study, self-paced online video course Lifetime membership One-time payment: $487 Enroll Now!
How to Paint Blue Patterned Drapery in Oils
The surface of the painting has dried. For the next step, Venetian Red paint is thinned with Stand Linseed Oil. In this case, you can slightly dilute Stand Oil with Turpentine for better flow. This is a new stage in the painting – pattern creation. It is not as complicated as it looks. You can use any pattern you find interesting as inspiration; or you can improvise, creating your own design. Keep in mind that in places where fabric is folded, the pattern should follow the direction of the folds. Just make up the pattern. Because Venetian Red is very opaque, for shaded areas, it has to be diluted even more to appear less pronounced.
In the lower part of the dress, it is easier to paint pattern – it has more flat areas and the folds are large and wide. Soft brushes that can hold a lot of paint is the best choice for this task. The pattern itself can have an unevenly filled surface – in some parts, the pattern looks more dense and saturated than in others.
The surface of the painting has dried, so we can continue. Titanium White is mixed with a tiny amount of Venetian Red. To keep the paint mix thick, no medium is added. Let’s do the pattern more tridimensional. We highlight the lighted sides of the pattern and paint shadows as well.
We define the illuminated side of the pattern. In our case, the light comes from the upper left corner. For pattern highlights, a small soft brush is required. Such brush should hold enough paint to last for a continuous brushstroke along the pattern.
The three-dimensional form will look more complete with cast shadows painted on the opposite side of the pattern. For these shadows, Venetian Red is mixed with Charcoal Grey. The mixture is thinned with Stand Linseed Oil diluted in Turpentine. After the elaborate pattern is completed, we leave the painting aside to dry or we can continue to work on other areas of the canvas.
We continue over the dry painting surface. The aim for this stage is to immerse the pattern into the shade. We do that with a transparent Glaze of Ultramarine. This Glaze affects the blue fabric very little, however the red-orange pattern will be affected quite noticeably. As you already know from Color Theory, the color Blue, which is a Primary Color, has the power to cancel a Secondary Orange Color.
Now, when the surface is dry, we can continue painting the patterned fabric. We mix Yellow Ochre with Yellow Lake, with no Medium added. To give a golden appearance to the pattern, we will paint yellow highlights.
The best tool for this task is a round, long brush with synthetic or natural springy hair. Do not cover the pattern all throughout, but rather selectively, leaving an original orangish design untouched in shades. This is what the updated design looks like.
Now we do the same in the upper part of the dress. This part looks too repetitive. Let’s change the texture and tone of the blue fabric. First of all, we remove this fold; instead, there will be one wide strip of fabric. So, we continue an interrupted design of the pattern.
A waistband also is painted, using the same set of oil paints: which are Venetian Red and Yellow Lake for shades; and a mix of Yellow Ochre with Yellow Lake for highlights. No Medium is needed.
Back to amending the blue fabric. We mix Titanium White and Ultramarine without adding any Medium. Densely cover the voids between the pattern design, using a small-sized brush. With this amendment, we change the texture’s appearance. It will look more dense and opaque. In this way, we enrich the visual language of the painting with various materials.
By this time, the surface is dry. We thin Ultramarine with Stand Linseed Oil, slightly diluted with Turpentine for better flow. Using this Glaze, we add shades to a currently flat, blue fold.
We continue over a completely dry surface. We apply the final highlights with an unthinned mix of Titanium White and Yellow Lake. Highlights are painted selectively, only over the most illuminated areas.
By now the surface is dry. As the final touch, we are going to make a gentle glazing with Scarlet Lake.
I feel like I said everything I wanted to say in this artwork, that means that the painting is completed.