I was working on a few handmade gifts leading up to Christmas when I realized the hardest part of oil painting isn’t the painting itself — it’s getting the scale right.
I was painting a portrait of my mom’s cat and struggled mightily to get the position of the eyes just right. No matter how carefully I thought I’d transferred the details from the photograph to the canvas, using a pencil, the cat’s face just felt … wrong.
I grudgingly finished the painting and decided it was OK, but I kept thinking there had to be a better way. Some kind of method for getting the basic shapes from a photograph perfectly transferred to a canvas so I could get the scale right.
I wasn’t sure if oil paint would adhere to glossy photo paper, so I went online and ordered a few photos to be printed on white 100 pound cardstock. I decided to start with one of my sister’s wedding photos — taken by the extremely talented Evan McMaster, a Halifax wedding photographer — since she’d just gotten married over Labour Day weekend.
I tacked the photo to a piece of cardboard on my easel and nervously decided to start with the background. These are the oil paints I have, by the way! (Affiliate link)
I mixed blue, green, yellow and white to make the different shades of the trees of the Public Gardens.
I just moved around the picture filling in areas that matched up with the colour on my brush.
Want to remember this technique for a future project? Be sure to pin it!