Gamblin Artists Colors
Direct Painting


This method of painting is used to make paintings in a single application. This is an opaque painting technique used by the Impressionists in their early work, the Fauves and the Abstract Expressionists. (But consider a painting made with transparent colors all in one layer a direct painting, too.) Direct painting relies on more planning because artists must consider form and color simultaneously.

A few guidelines:
  1. Paint from light to dark
  2. Vary brush marks from long stroke to short mark (like Cezanne's) to stippling, etc
  3. Scrubbing in multiple directions
  4. Scumbling with a near dry brush
Among the many choices, consider:
  • Paint the background to the foreground
  • Mix the colors primarily on the palette or on the canvas
  • Begin with the middle tones and gradually increase the contrast
For painting wet-into-wet, use mostly artists' grade oil colors with a small of amount Galkyd Slow Dry Painting Medium to increase the fluidity of the paints.

Alla prima is a method of direct painting in a single paint layer usually on a white ground.

Plein Air describes a direct technique of painting a landscape entirely out of doors.

Most painters use a combination of direct and indirect painting. For example, a landscape painting may look better when a glaze is applied to certain areas, such as the sky.

Other techniques:

Impasto is the use of thick layers of paint to create texture. Often painters use Galkyd Gel (transparent medium) or Cold Wax Medium (translucent medium) to body oil colors. When painting on linen or canvas, we recommend using ½ Gel and ½ Cold Wax Medium. Using only Galkyd Gel, painters can create impasto of ¼ inch per layer. Using only Cold Wax Medium in a mixture of more than 30% wax (70% oil colors) may cause paintings to crack when moved.

Imprimatura is the application of a wash or glaze of color that tones the canvas before beginning a painting.

Sfregazzi - (Italian: "light rubbing") shadows applied as a glaze over light areas.

Sfumato - (Italian: "softened") making transitions from light to dark very gradual.