Stages of Oil Painting

It takes me about two months to paint a 24 X 36” oil on canvas. Preparation steps involve sketching to establish the general composition ideas and calculating dimensions. After these steps, I stretch, gesso, and tone the canvas.   This takes several days because of drying time. Next comes a series of drawings on the canvas (with a brush and paint) and establishing color and value relationships with paint. Each stage requires about a week of drying time. I repeat this process many times. I usually have several paintings in various stages of process so that I can continue working when paint needs to dry on a particular painting or section of a painting. I thoroughly enjoy each of these stages. If I find myself with a challenging stage, I put the painting aside and turn to another one for a while. I’ve included a photo of a finished painting, Sow and Pig Islands with Seaweed and Reflection, and a photo of the painting in process.


Sarah Knock, stages of oil painting


One Comment

  1. Reply
    Marsha Donahue June 24, 2017

    This is beautiful. I have done the same thing in the last year, a full watercolor study before the final oil. I found that sometimes I lost a little of the freshness of the study in the final painting but that is made up for with the elegance of the “finish” in the oil. Your oil is exquisite.

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