Cute Pet Portrait in Oils – Patching in the Colours

In this series we will be making a pet portrait in oils. In this session we will be figuring out the basic colours in the piece and patching them on in a loose manner.

Reference Image:


  • Canvas
  • Brushes (one medium and one small)
  • Solvent (mineral spirits etc.)
  • Linseed Oil
  • Easel
  • Palette
  • Palette Cup

Oil Paint

  • Titanium White
  • Ivory Black
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Umber
  • Cadmium Red
  • Cadmium Yellow


  • Begin by working over the shadow tones established during the wash drawing stage.
  • Start by putting pure black in the darkest parts, then use burnt umber mixed with gradually more of the cadmiums to make up lighter shadow colours.
  • Next you can start to mix up the darker halftones, working your way towards the lightest parts.
  • You can use a bit of the medium to dilute the halftones.
  • Try to keep the brushwork as simple and loose as possible.
  • Finally you can mix up the lightest tones.
  • Patch them on more thickly than the halftones and shadows.
  • If necessary you can use the smaller brush to have a bit more control over the details.