Sunday, 8 April 2018

Wash time

No, not your once a week bath ..... 😊

Having blocked in our first key colours on the coat and gaiters it's now time to apply some oils.

The key principle here is that I have block in a very light "version" of the underlying colour that I want, and then wash over with oils. This provides the benefit of providing a solid base of the colour underneath the oil wash, whilst still allowing the depth and the richness of the oil pigmentation to "shine" (it does quite literally, but we'll deal with that issue later). It might not come across that well in the images (I'm using a 10 year old digital "family/holiday" type camera under a spotlight), but take it from me, the richness and depth you get using this technique is subtle but really good.

So in this case, I've used two oils in the form of a wash, the yellow is Gold Ochre, the black is Blue Black (I only use Winsor & Newton Artist Oil Colour, so take that as given on all the oils from here).

First step

The Yellow is applied to the gaiters first, this is because I am actually going to be making these white/canvas. To do so, I apply the yellow wash, leave for a few minutes, then wipe of roughly with a small piece of sponge. This has the effect of "staining" the area, without making it a strong yellow. I find this works very well for a base for a "white" top layer, although I never actually use white on any of my figures.

Second step

I next use the yellow wash and overpaint the coat. In doing so, try to stay within the previously blocked in areas. It doesn't matter too much if you go over a wee bit, but try to be neat as it helps retain the definition of the edges.

Third step

Using the Blue Black wash I over paint the shoes and tricorne.

The figure should now look something like this:
They now need to be left to dry.... (make sure you do!!) Working in batches will allow you to overcome any delays, by switching between working on oils on one set whilst then prepping the acrylic's on the next.

Next time faces ....



Clive w said...

Looking forward to more updates. I bought my liquin the other day to give it a try. Are the washes only paint/liquin?

John D said...


Yes, I use a small amount of oil paint (just take a little from the tube on the end of a matchstick) and mix in a pallete with two or three drops of liquin, you are looking to achieve a fairly thin consistency, about the same thickness as motor oil. You will get a feel for it after a few attempts and when you are using it on the figure. Too thin add a little more oil paint, too thick add more liquin.



Graham Hilditch said...

Hi John

Planning buying some oils and liquin this week to further this project.
Can you list the other key oil colours you will be using for these figurines.
My uniforms (Roth Wurzburg) will be similar colour, with the addition of red facings.
Are you going to Salute or Falkirk? I have booked for both

John D said...


On Oils for this figure, other then the ones already mentioned, you'll also need Burnt Sienna, for red, I use Alizarin Crimson.

I'm not going to Salute, but hope to be at Falkirk.


Graham Hilditch said...

Hi John. So the oils are purchased and applied. The depth of colour does look great, but oh so shiny. I followed your instructions, just a touch of oil colour, mixed with liquin. The black gaiters, hat etc in particular look almost gloss in finish.
Am I jumping the gun here ? Do you use a matt varnish or some medium at a later date to tone down the shine ? Or have I applied too much oil ?

John D said...


All sounds in order so far. Don't worry we'll be sorting out the shiny aspect further along in the process.


Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

I've only just discovered your blog, but the painting approach you describe sounds very interesting. I too use (alkyd and normal) oils, in part, and could talk painting methods all day. Very eager to be along for the figurative ride since there are always interesting things to learn and try.

Best Regards,


John D said...


There are certainly similarities in the style you paint with and mine, hopefully you might find some of this of interest.