Here’s a painting exercise that really works well with people who are using oils for the first time.
1. Starting with gray-brown chipboard, do a careful pencil drawing of the model about 22 inches high. The model should be lit with a single clear light source.
2. Seal the drawing with shellac. The shellac should be brushed on and squeegeed off with a piece of cardboard.
3. Squeeze some titanium white oil paint onto some blotter paper, or other absorbent paper to remove excess oil.
4. Using a bristle brush, scumble the white paint only in the areas of the form that are touched by light. Make the paint thin for the darker halftones and thicker and whiter for the highlights.
5. Leave the shadows untouched with paint. The result should be a photographic look, with an attention to variations in the light.
This exercise was taught at Art Center College of Design by the instructor Paul Souza. Mr. Souza studied with Millard Sheets and Frederick Taubes and died in 2007 at age 89.