5-Step Oil Painting Demonstration

Interiors empty of people are Matt Condron’s evocative subject matter for his oil paintings.

Condron is drawn to painting American diners, airport waiting areas and small town restaurants—places that aren’t glamorous but become, in his oil paintings, moody and unforgettable.

“My favorite subjects are places that are common, if not boring and forgettable,” says Condron. “I hope to transform these otherwise prosaic scenes into things of beauty in and of themselves.”

The following is a free demonstration on Condron’s oil painting, Height of the Day. Click here to get your copy of the full story in The Artist’s Magazine.

5-Step Oil Painting Demo: Height of the Day

By Matt Condron

charcoal drawing, oil painting

1  My charcoal drawing in this case isn’t precise. The lines will be tightened and made clean as layers of base colors go in. You can see that I’ve started the underpainting, using burnt sienna thinned with Gamsol.

underpainting, oil painting

2  Here you see the underpainting completely blocked in. For this particular painting, I decided to experiment by blocking in the chairs with Naples yellow—just to get a jump on determining which way I’d want the yellow to go.

background of painting, oil painting

3  Working from the background plane forward, I’ve begun putting in the aluminum siding and related shadows. For the vertical lines, I use a large C-Thru drafting triangle. Using a triangle with non-inking edges is important; the bevel on the inking type allows the paint to bleed through.

color schemes, oil painting

4
  The basic color schemes for the background and foreground are in. At this point I can see whether I want to punch up the two metal chairs or keep them somewhat muted.

painting layers, oil painting

5  Detail work can entail reworking nearly an entire area by rubbing in an equally “fat” oil layer over the initial color layer. This was the case with the cement walkway, where I reconfigured shapes, such as the puddle. Then came the enjoyable work of distressing the chairs with rust and scratches. I gave the pavement its own treatment of splattering and dabbing to depict pebbles and their shadows. Finally, I added grime splashes on the siding, completing Height of the Day (above; oil, 31×56).

To read more about Condron’s oil painting process, see the entire article in the April 2010 issue of The Artist’s Magazine.
Click here to order The Artist’s Magazine (print) to read more about Condron’s oil painting process.
Click here to download the April digital issue and read more about Condron’s oil painting process.


After spending his first 12 years in the Los Angeles cultural aura of Southern California, Matt Condron moved with his family to a small, rural Connecticut town. Since his 20s, he has at various times claimed New York City, rural Montana, Arizona, Seattle, San Francisco and Mexico as his home. A longtime, avid photographer, he appreciates the importance of a moment—the preciousness of a fleeting opportunity. He’s been painting for nine years and received an honorable mention in the interior/landscape category of The Artist’s Magazine 2008 Annual Competition. He has a show slated in July with the Arden Gallery in Boston. Visit his website at www.mattcondron.com.

Don’t miss this free article: Quick and Easy Oil Painting Techniques for Beginners.


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