Oil Painting Of An Elephant: Step 5

So far I have been demonstrating the painting of an Elephant on primed 16" x 20" canvas using Winsor and Newton oil paint.

Oil Painting of an Elephant by Nkolika Anyabolu

The technique I am using is the Glazing technique. See the different types of Oil Painting Techniques.

I started in Step 1 with a charcoal sketch and monochrome under-painting. This formed the basic structure or skeleton of the painting.

In subsequent steps from step 2 to step 4, I carefully built up the painting with the application of thin layers of paint on one another after leaving each previous layer to dry.

In this step, I have continued to touch up the painting by enhancing the darkest areas (shadows) with a dark tone which isa mixture of Prussian blue and Burnt umber. I also used the same mixture to outline the creases and wrinkles on the trunk and legs.

For the tusks I used a mixture of Titanuim white + Yellow ochre to produce an off white colour.

Oil painting of an elephant

I also added the grasses in the foreground. For this I used a size 0 round brush and a mixture of Sap green + Prussian blue for the darkest tones. For the lighter tones I used yellow ochre and a bit of cadmium yellow and painted it in while the paint was wet.

For the grass in her mouth I used a mixture of raw sienna + Sap green and a bit of Titanium white.

There is a smoothness to the painting which is characteristic of glazing. This is quite unlike the alla prima technique I used to paint the African drummers.

The Alla prima technique is faster to use and the paint stays fresh with rich brushstrokes. Each technique has its beauty and they all produce awesome works of art.

Every artist has a signature style which often takes time to discover and entails trying out different styles on hundreds of paintings.

I try out different techniques and though over time I am inclining more to a particular technique; I still continue to explore

Oil painting Of An Elephant: Step 1

I love trying out new things and projects. I always love a new challenge and I am not so much interested in what the end result would be......good or bad it does not matter (though I aim for the best always).

Oil Painting of an Elephant by Nkolika Anyabolu

What matters is starting off. I decided to attempt painting an Elephant and will be showing you how I would be doing it.

I am using a reference photo of an Elephant and her baby which I got from a magazine. Magazines and publications make excellent sources of reference photos for painting. They come in handy especially when one is learning to paint and ideas seem to run dry.

To make the sketch I used the grid format. Though it is tedious drawing the lines over and over again, it gives a very good approximation as to the right magnification while maintaining the proportion. I used a charcoal pencil. Though you can use a lead or graphite pencil.

There are several ways you can use to make a sketch or draft of the subject of your painting. Aside from the using the grid method, you can use tracing paper to trace the picture and then transfer it onto your canvas. Or you can make a free hand sketch. Whichever method you use depends on what you are comfortable with

After laying down the sketch, I erased the lines with a rubber eraser and sprayed a thin layer of fixative on it. This is to make sure the charcoal does not stain my paint.

The drawing is then left to dry, after which it would be ready for the 2nd stage and the application of the first layer of paint. The work is on primed canvas and I would be executing it with oil paint.

I then used Prussian blue to redraw the whole picture, bringing out the dark parts, the creases and shadows. This serves as a monochrome under painting. Monochrome meaning one colour.

I scanned the picture and blew it up on my laptop in order to see the wrinkles and fine details well. Otherwise you can use a hand held magnifying lens.

I have split the work into several steps and would be posting the follow up steps regularly.