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Painting the cozy summer patio – the picture in the «Provence» style

My greetings to you!
This lesson will be dedicated to the French Provence. We are going to paint the flowers, the sun and the bright flecks.

For my work I have used the medium-grained canvas (50×60 cm), synthetic brushes and two palette knives: the sharp-pointed one and the one in the shape of a droplet.

You will need an unusual tool such as an ordinary toothbrush in order to create the small and barely noticeable splashes of the sun flecks.


Our oil painting class will require the following materials:

The paint box:

  • White
  • Phthalocyanine Blue
    Sky Blue
  • Cobalt Violet
  • Cobalt Green Light
  • Viridian Green
  • Phthalocyanine Green
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Siena
  • Cadmium Red
  • Cadmium Yellow Medium
  • Lamp Black

Moisten the canvas with the paint thinner using a wide flat paint brush.

Watch the oil painting lesson video – the painting in the «Provence» style:

Now let`s paint the picture «The cozy patio» :

Apply the background paint. For this purpose mix the White with a bit of the Raw Siena and the Cadmium Yellow, you can also use the Burnt Umber. These colors set the tone to the house walls in our patio. Add a bit of the paint thinner to the mix of these paints in order to make the paint rare. This layer of the background paint can also be applied with the help of a flat paint brush.

Outline the «line» where the grass will be in contact with the house wall.

Our patio is designed so that the entire upper part (approximately (1/5) is closed with the leaves of the trees and the whole lower part of the canvas is the greenness of grass. We can immediately apply the rare green background paint on these areas. Or for example, you can add the dark blue colors (Phthalocyanine Green + Phthalocyanine Blue) to the greenness of the leaves and the brighter shade of color to the grass underneath (Viridian Green + a bit of Cadmium Yellow). These paints can be applied to the different sides with the brush strokes of a big brush or a palette knife.

After we have outlined the wall and the greenery around it, let`s come over to the next stage of our free oil painting lesson and mark out the windows. Outline the rectangle of the window with the mix of the White and the Sky Blue slightly moving from the centre to the right. Then make a gap in the window as if there is one more window behind this one in the house. Outline the glass window space with the white and the shutters with the mix of the white and the blue. All the objects should be painted with the brushes.

In order to improve the small boards of the shutters, take a wide synthetic brush, dip it into the mix of the white and the blue and draw a few straight vertical lines. Sketch out the kind of the chinks between the small boards: draw the vertical trembly and slightly broken lines with the Burnt Umber.

The upper and lower parts of the shutters are in the shade, thus you should add the shadowy colors.
There is a lot of light in the central part of the painting – here you should paint with the bright white, yellow and orange shades.

Outline the shade under the window with the Cobalt Violet mixed with the Burnt Umber.
I want to tell you that the majority of the shadows will be painted with the violet mixed with the brown in different proportions and sometimes mixed with the white. I think that exactly these paints give the beautiful shadow in our painting.

Now let`s come over the next stage of our art painting lesson and paint the bench. Paint the lightened areas with the white (you can also add a little blue and the shadows with the violet and the brown. So, here everything is clear…

Then outline several pots with flowers with the Raw Siena using a palette knife. Mark the light on the pots with the white and the yellow and the shadows with the Burnt Umber. If you think this shadow to be not convincing, you can also add the Phthalocyanine Blue.

Free art lesson, how to draw with oil paint

Free art lesson, how to draw with oil paint

At this stage of our drawing art lesson we are going to outline the greenery in the pots. First outline the darkest greenery with the Phthalocyanine Blue and then cover it with the drops of the lighter and brighter shades of green: the Viridian Green, the Cobalt Green and the green paints mixed with the Cadmium Yellow. You can do this using either brush or palette knife – as you wish.

Outline the flowers in the pots making the gentle touches over the greenery with the plane of a palette knife. Dip the palette knife into the bright paint (Cadmium Red, Yellow, Orange and so on).

Paint the stems of lavender and rosemary in the pots, which are placed on the bench, using the edge of a palette knife and making the straight thin lines of these slim stems.

Now let`s come over to the next stage of our art lesson and paint a watering pot. I like the presence of this particular subject in our painting most of all. Outline the shape of a watering pot with the white using a thin round brush. First paint everything in white. Then outline the shadow with the Cobalt Violet and the Burnt Umber. The shadow segues to the half-tint and becomes lighter bluish or even bright-blue. Show the light on the watering pot with the pastous brushstrokes of the White with a bit of Cadmium Yellow and Red. Paint the nuances and the improvements with the Burnt Umber using a thin brush.

I have decided to paint a path going through the grass to the bench. Wipe the greenery with a cloth. Then take the mix of the Cadmium Yellow and the White and outline the path with the horizontal brush strokes. Draw the shadow underneath the grass on the left with the violet paint because the light comes from the top and the left. Add the denser brushstrokes with the white mixed with yellow to the place where the path is more lightened.

Outline lots of the grass-blades on the lush carpet of the grass making the vertical brushstrokes with a bias for different sides with the help of a thin brush or a palette knife.

Then darken the curtain on the window with the Lamp Black and Phthalocyanine Blue. Apply a bit of paint on the upper part of the window and gently rub it with the finger according to the form of the curtains.
Now we are coming to the next stage of our free oil painting lesson online and paint the lemons on the windowsill and the bench. Paint the lemons with the Cadmium Yellow or Lemon using a palette knife. Make a small round blob and straighten it in the form of a lemon. Be sure to add the shadows with the Viridian Green or the Cobalt Violet.

You should mark the multilayered greenery of the tree with the multilayered brushstrokes of different sizes and shades in different directions with the help of a palette knife. As always, the lower layer of this greenery is the darkest (Phthalocyanine Blue, Phthalocyanine Green) and the top layer is the brightest (yellow, cobalt green light mixed with white and yellow, white flecks and yellow spots).
The painting is almost finished. Now you should fill it with the sunlight, plashes of sunlight and flecks of sunbeams. How to do it?

Recently I have seen one great simple and very eloquent oil painting technique for creating the flecks and the plashes of sunlight in one of the magazines. The artist has applied them onto his work with the help of an ordinary toothbrush. And now we will try it.

Now let`s come over to the last stage of our oil painting lesson. Make very rare mix of White with Cadmium Yellow adding quite a lot of the paint thinner. Dip a toothbrush into this paint and spray it over the surface of the canvas: the greenery of the tree, the grass and the flecks on the wall, window and shutters. If you see that there are too many flecks or you get the blobs, you can easily rub them off with your finger.
Also before doing this, you can practice on a sheet of paper and so on.

I have liked the sprayed flecks very much; they have given the painting a certain mystery, put our picture into the gauze of the bright sunlight and combine all the objects together.

The brushes for the oil painting workshop:brushes for the oil painting workshop brushes for the oil painting workshop brushes for the oil painting workshop

That is all. I hope this lesson was interesting for you.
I wish you good luck and new success in your creative work.