The Making of “The Clever Hen” – Oil painting workshop/class


This painting was done during my oil painting class/workshop at Jerry’s Artarama in Tempe, near Phoenix. Here is the finished painting, “The Clever Hen,” 18×24″

the-Clever-Hen - original oil chicken painting by artist christopher clark

I always start my pieces with a value study, drawn in charcoal. This is a very expressive and versatile medium, and can be pushed around in the much the same way as wet paint. If you’ve never used this medium before, I recommend it very highly. It will sharpen your perception of values, and get you thinking about your drawings in terms of shapes, and less in terms of objects. If this makes no sense, then take my class and I will be happy to explain it better.

I then begin my underpainting with washes of just a few colors. I want to keep the focus of this stage on values and drawing, and some edges.

stage1 - oil painting workshops and classes by artist christopher clark

Here is with all the darks blocked in.

stage2 oil painting class workshop phoenix by christopher clark fine artist

Here is with the lights added. Since this stage is still in washes of solvent, there is no opaque white paint used yet. You’re getting your lights by removing paint back to the white of the canvas. So in a sense, you’re painting with light, not with paint.

stage3 oil painting workshop class phoenix by christopher clark fine art

Here is the background painted in. In many of my paintings, I use the back-to-front approach, painting the farthest things first, and gradually moving closer to you. My paint palette here is: white, cad yellow light, yellow ochre, cad red medium, ultramarine blue, and black.

stage4 oil painting workshops and classes phoenix by artist christopher clark fine art

Here is with the rest of the grass filled in.

stage5 - oil painting workshops and classes in phoenix by christopher clark fine art

And here is the finished piece. When rendering the chicken, I paid close attention to warm and cool color relationships, based on which direction each plane is facing.

the-Clever-Hen - original oil chicken painting by artist christopher clark

Contact me to own this original painting, or to register for my oil painting classes and workshops.

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