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How we make an Oil Painting from your Photos

See how we create a beautiful oil painting from a photo as we follow one of our artists from the very first strokes on the canvas to the last as she paints, 'Venice' for one of our customers.

The first step is to lightly sketch the composition onto the canvas using pencil, then go over the main lines with a diluted brown paint.

Next, the general colours of the painting will be painted into the main areas.

She will then add colour to the whole of the painting.

Now that the basic colour and composition is present it is a question of building up the detail. In this painting she started at the top and defined the roofs of the buildings, then started working on the building on the right.

Next, using black she defined the main edges of the piece, which included the doorway on the right, the edge of the canal, the building on the left, and the bridge.

Continuing with black, she completed most of the dark reflection in the canal, and the beautiful blooms hanging from the building on the right.

With all the areas now strongly defined, it is a question of slowly adding more detail - starting from the very rear, she focussed next on the buildings at the very back of the painting, as well as their reflection.

Next, moving round to the building on the right, she added the fine detail of the balcony, the facia, the paving slabs at the foot of the painting and the gondola.

The building on the left was next, adding the fine details of the windows, flowers, balconies and the shop.

Now that the main buildings are done, the path outside was completed including the tables, umbrellas and the railings on both sides of the canal.

All the main detail of the painting is now complete, but now it is time to add even more detail, going back to the building on the right, adding in window frames, more detail in the brickwork, and filling in the detail in any other areas that need it.

The buildings are now complete, so to add the detail in the sky with the clouds and moon, not forgetting their reflections.

Finally, the whole painting is re-visited, adding shadows and highlights to really bring the painting to life!

Painting Finished!

The Original photo
A blank canvas
The first few strokes  - defining the composition
Adding spots of colour
Covering the canvas in colour
Building up the detail
Defining the main outlines
Adding the flowers and the detail in the background
Starting from the back, comlete the remaining details
The detail on the nearest building and the gondola was next
Then the building on the left
Then came the pathway, railings and umbrellas
Finally, the finer details, such as bricks and leading
Then the clouds and the moon
And a final touch, some shadows, highlights and borders