OCAD Studio: Limited Palette Portrait in Oils Parts 5 & 6

After successfully completing the previous stages, you should be happy with the general forms and colours. The final two videos in this series cover the final touches you can add to polish the painting. These final refinements will be quite easy and fun


    • Small canvas or a panel prepared for painting
    • 2-3 flat brushes (¼-1 inch wide)
    • 2 small pointed brushes
    • Piece of soft charcoal


  • Titanium White Oil Paint
  • Cadmium Red Oil Paint
  • Yellow Ochre Oil Paint
  • Ivory Black Oil Paint


  • Palette
  • Easel
  • Thinner (I recommend odourless mineral spirits (OMS))
  • Linseed Oil
  • Painting rag or kitchen paper towel for wiping back and cleaning


  1. Work on the face first – looking for subtle adjustments to things detailed parts like the eyes, nose and mouth. The general principles of form and colour apply in exactly the same way that they did during the previou steps. You are just working at a smaller, more detailed scale.
  2. I recommend that you use your smallest brushes at this stage as most of the brushstrokes you need will be quite fine. However you may want to build up the paint in some blockier areas (such as the forehead or bridge of the nose).
  3. Once you’re happy with the face you can make adjustments to the clothing and background. At this stage I recommend switching to larger, flatter brushes as it’s best to keep the background simpler than the face. This difference in detail will draw the viewer’s attention to face, which is the focal point of the portrait.
  4. That’s it! You can keep refining to your heart’s content, but after you’ve finished all these stages you should have a solid portrait that you’re happy with.

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