Staying Within the Lines – Not

My first forays with oil painting have mostly involved big brush strokes, and lots of dabbing and stabbing, using the brushes themselves to create different effects with the paint. There’s much, much more to oil painting, of course.

If I hope to become truly proficient in the art, I have to learn a lot of different techniques. One of the most basic oil painting techniques is that of blending colors to create a smooth gradation.

While I understand the blending technique and managed to create a three-dimensional sphere, I certainly haven’t yet mastered staying within the lines. As a result, my little sphere is a bit lopsided.


This project — from the Oil Painting series of lessons at The Virtual Instructor — was both fun and challenging. I learned the “stitch” technique, found out that nylon-bristle brushes are good for blending, and had a chance to practice mixing colors and creating a value scale.

I think I might be able now to actually paint an apple.

I’m smiling, because my apple drawings and paintings were a bit of a joke last year. Apples — and the occasional pear — seemed to be the only thing I could draw/paint reasonably well. And so I drew apples. Lots of apples. I quipped that “an apple a day” might not keep the doctor away but would certainly improve my drawing and painting skills.

So be forewarned. I’m thinking that apples might be a lot of fun to paint in oil. Even if they turn out a bit lopsided, it will be all right. Maybe that’s why I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting apples.

Or maybe I should just stick with circles and spheres and learn to stay within the lines.



  1. When I took a drawing class , we were encouraged to trace plates to get the circles for our spheres , since the goal was the gradation , not drawing a perfect circle. I always found that to make the process a lot more fun, though my spheres still wobbled !

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