Painting Mom's Apron
A Demonstration
Oscar Durand

Phase One

The first step is to arrange the items into a pleasing composition. Using a round-tipped brush, I then sketch the items onto my canvas, using any color that I wish.

Phase Two

This step is called an under-painting and it establishes both color and composition. I use colors that are similar to the finished product. Oil colors are transparent, to varying degrees, with the exception of white, which is opaque. I build the painting, layer by layer. I allow each layer to dry, or to nearly dry. Over each layer, I spray a small amount of retouch varnish. This process helps to produce a very luminous effect. It catches the light and forces it to bounce from the back of the painting to the front. 

Phase Three

    In this step, I mix variations of three primary colors which produces a variety of neutral tones. I then begin painting from the back to the front, roughing in the strongest darks and lights to help establish a feeling for the mood.


Phase Four

Beginning with the stone background, I use a round-tipped brush to apply the color. I also do some splatter work in order to enhance the stone effect. To give the painting a three-dimensional quality, I use softer colors in the background and stronger colors in the center of interest.

Phase Five

   I continue to work from the back to the front. As I paint the wire basket, the coffee-grinder, the mixing bowl and the small tin, I use colors that are a little stronger. Additionally, I paint the rear edges more softly than their front edges, pulling these items forward and away from the background, adding even more to the three-dimensional effect.

Phase Six

  Next, I concentrate on finishing the table. I first apply a rough and very thin layer of slightly tinted green, mixed with white, in order to establish the proper value. While the paint is still wet, I mix tinted reds, oranges and yellows that I apply over the wet greens. This completes the general color and tone effect. Once the paint is dry, I apply thin glazes of pure color. I then brush in lighter details to complete the table. Using three primary colors, I paint the paper under the eggs much the same way as I painted the background.

Phase Seven

    Notice how the colors are generally warmer and richer that I used to finish painting the main subject matter, which is comprised of the eggs; garlic; tomato; onions and potato. By using these colors, I pull these items further away from the background and propel them forward, further enhancing the three-dimensional effect. Finally, I paint in the onion bag, using a delicate reddish tone in order to play on the red tomato, consequently spreading the red color to the right. This technique forces the viewer to concentrate on the central portion of the painting first.

Phase Eight

    In order to create the light and dark tones of the white cloth, I mix three primary colors together, using white to control the value and tone; I then paint the rear section of the cloth first.

Phase Nine

 As I paint the rest of the cloth, I continue to use the same paint combination that I described in phase eight. I carefully adjust the lights and darks with the intent of causing the eye to perceive that the cloth has been pulled forward from the main center of interest to the front of the table. This completes the three-dimensional effect. Lastly, I paint the lettering on the bowl. 

Phase Ten

    You are now looking at the finished painting. During this phase, I use a technique that I consider the most important part of the painting process: I turn the painting upside down. By doing this, it forces me to concentrate on the painting's structure; color distribution; mood; depth; and its highlights and accents. I use a glazing technique in order to lower the value structure and to enhance the tonal quality of the background. Then using paint in its more opaque form, I make the final corrections by adjusting colors and values of lights and mid-tones. Notice how the background has deepened in tone; and how I pulled the center of interest even further toward the viewer.

Phase Eleven

The finished painting in it's 18ct white gold, museum frame