The Oil Paint Website


What is a tone?

Tone is strength of color. It is the light or dark of any color. Tone is controlled by adding more or less white. Colors can be made darker in atone by adding a dark color.  For example, adding brown to yellow darkens it. Tone can also make the drawing look 3 dimensional.

Exercise - oil painting a flowerpot

  1. Using a small, soft brush and a thin solution of Burnt Umber, draw the outline of the pot.
  2. Using Burnt Umber only and a small amount of medium, paint the dark interior, side and rim of the pot.
  3. Mix a little white into your brown mix and using small brush marks gentry the medium tone in the middle, alongside the dark on the side of the pot. "Feather" the edges (using small brush marks) so that they blend.
  4. Finally, add a large amount of white to your brown mix and paint the light side of the pot. Remember to keep the paint soft but not wet, then you will have no trouble blending it.

Exercise - oil painting a tube

Painting a tube is a good way to practice shading and painting depth.

  1. Mark out the shape with a solution of brown
  2. Using a small soft brush, paint the right side using brown and a touch a of blue (this will produce a brown gray color.)
  3. Blend a little white into the mix and apply towards the center of the tube.
  4. Add more white to the left side, blending gently with your brush. Add a thin flat oval (ellipse) as a shadow.