Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tutorial: Painting "Prance" (acrylic and oil)

This is more of a WIP than a tutorial but still shows some of my process: I've been super busy on a number of projects and here is one of them! This large oil painting ("Prance") will be in a show in Hong Kong in a couple months! More info coming soon.

Rough Sketch:

Refined Sketch:

Transfered Drawing:

Oil Painting in Progress: (The brown is the acrylic underpainting.)

More progress:
Finished at last!
This painting is currently on display in Hong Kong and is for sale. If you are interested please contact the gallery director James Churchill:


  1. Thank you so much for your tutorials! I just found them and I'm learning lots with them! Just one question, I see that you finish some of your works with oils. What do you do when you have to frame your oil on paper works? you lay the glass of the frame directly over the paper? or with your oil paintings on paper, you only use the mounted paper on wood/board and display them without framing at all?

    I've been having this question because I would like to work with acrylic washes and finish works with oil, but I don't know if they can actually be framed with the glass touching the surface =o Thanks for reading and again, thanks for your tutorials, your art is breathtaking!

    1. Thank you for your lovely words! Great questions:

      First of all, any work done on paper and intended for a gallery show should really be framed behind plexi or glass to keep it protected from the elements (especially moisture.) The plexi or glass should never touch the surface of the paper/wood/canvas as that can damage it in a number of ways. Use a truly acid free archival matte or risers to hold the glass up off of the surface of the piece.

      On the issue of glass vs plexi vs UV-plexi, I almost always recommend regular plexi. Glass is essentially unshippable and you have no way of knowing where in the world your piece will end up. Plexi may scratch easily but will not shatter and possibly damage your work like glass. UV-plexi costs approximately two to three times as much as regular plexi, but regular plexi already has some degree of UV protection built in and it is an easy enough thing to switch out if a particularly picky collector buys one of your pieces- so I only ever install it myself if specifically requested by a client for a commission (in which case they are covering the costs anyway.)

      Lastly oil paint is corrosive to paper and may eventually eat right through it so before using it on paper be sure to seal the paper very well. I use a combination of matte medium, clear gesso, and acrylic paint. I would also recommend mounting the paper to a sturdy board before painting at all- this will keep the paper flat, prevent bubbles and curling, and will be easier on the oils as they dry. (flexible surfaces can cause them to crack.) Many would advise against ever painting oil on paper but I personally love it and just take as many precautions as I can to ensure the longevity of painting.

      All that said, archival is just a buzz word - different people have different standards and there are so many considerations, opinions and variables - just try your best and don't let it keep you up at night!

      Hope that helped! - J.A.W. Cooper

  2. Hi Jaw Cooper,
    Thank you so much for your tutorials! Your art is absolutely beautiful!!! I have couple questions, and hope that if you got time, you could answer them for me, thanks in advance!
    When you do your under drawing in graphite, did you have to spray some fixative before you go over with gouache wash or oil wash? Wouldn't the graphite makes the drawing muddy? Some of your work has beautiful outlines ( such as the artwork in this post. the red outline). Do you usually re-draw the outline at the end to polish it up? Would you please share how do you choose the color for your under-painting? ( in this artwork, the finish are mostly in white and blue, I wonder why you chose an earth color for the under painting) Last question, when you work with oil wash, did you use any mediums to make it dry faster? Thank you so much for reading my comment. I really look forward for more of your artwork! It will be really awesome if you ever get a chance to start a workshop or publish an artbook!


Thank you for your questions and comments! I read all of them and try to respond to as many as I can!