L.A. Primavera

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16"x20" Canvas Panel

Paints: Most Oil paint sets will do. Some individual colors used here: Titanium White, Cadmium Red light, Cobalt Blue, Mars Black, Sap green, Burnt Siena. In terms of brands, I use and like Winsor & Newton.

Synthetic Brushes: Filbert 2, 4, 6; Round 1, 2; Flat 6; Liner; I've been happy with the Princeton SNAP series.

See all my art supplies

This is a painting of my cousin. I worked off a photo I took on my phone. 

In this post I'll walk you through some of my process. There were many stages and probably put somewhere between 20 - 40hrs into this. Here I'll just walk through some of the big milestones along the way and some techniques I used. 

Cover the Canvas

First step I take with any oil painting is to cover the canvas. With this painting, I actually covered the canvas with acrylic. I like to use acrylic for this stage because it dries fast. and mostly I try to get the major shapes in (i.e. shapes of the shadows, highlights, etc.). Goal is to get things as quickly and right as you can without sweating the details.  

Starting to apply oil paint

Now I approach with oil, really trying to get my smooth transitions. Making sure I'm getting good values and getting the general feel form that I want. I only touched the subject, leaving the hair, and background untouched. 

Adding details

I now come in with some detail. 

Shadows - Smoothed out the shadow on the left cheek, added some definition to the lips, nose, and chin. Some updates to the eyelid area. And darker shadow on the shoulder. On skin this color I like to use purple to darken the tones for the shadow. 

Eye lashes - I made sure to do that once I felt good about the eye lids, to avoid having to work between the eyelashes.  

The Background

Painting the background was pretty freeing. Less thinking about things as individual things, but representing everything as little blobs. 

The sand took me a couple of goes. With each go, doing less overthinking.


Really went in with lots of lines. Used a thin brush (like a small round or liner) to individually draw hairs in. I also wanted to capture the stray hairs which I think make the piece more interesting. 

For the eyebrows I both added some individual "black" hairs, but also used some of the skin color and painted that over the black eyebrows. 

Final Version 

Hair - More stray hairs. More stray hairs as highlights. More hair lines to cover the scalp

Shadows - smoothening out shadows, fixing the value of some (i.e. with the under left cheek shadow, I made it lighter).

If you want to start your painting journey, I've put together a list of all my go to supplies to get you started.