Art theory Oil Painting Painting Still Life

Finding My Painting Process; 10 Minute Orange Exercise

Orange structure times 4, oil on panel
Orange structure x 4, oil on 10x8" panel

I read about the Daily Painters’ 10 minute exercise (paint the same thing four times, 10 minutes each) and thought it sounded like fun. What I learned from my attempt (below) is that I need more than ten minutes to do a painting, even if it is small. So when I finished doing the exercise below, I gave myself more time, and painted the study above, exploring a way of painting that works better for me.

Orange four times @ 10 minutes each
Orange four times @ 10 minutes each, 0il on 10x8" panel

I think I’ve found a way to approach an oil painting that works for me, and it’s sort of* illustrated in the top study above.

  1. Sketch in the big shapes and indicate the lines of the planes using *thinned paint (see diagrams in previous post here).
  2. With the same thin paint (*not thick paint as I did here), fill in the shadows to indicate darks and leave the light areas white.
  3. Use both dark/light and warm/cool variations of colors to model the form.
  4. Lastly add light highlights, dark accents, details and make any other necessary adjustments.

*Sort of because originally in the top study each square illustrated those 4 steps, but I played around with the first two, adding white paint between the plane lines, and turning the thinly blocked in value sketch into a value study with black and white paint.

4 replies on “Finding My Painting Process; 10 Minute Orange Exercise”

I appreciate processes. I always am nervous that I am going to forget something, especially when I am trying something relatively new. Plus, I think it is good to understand how you work. Good for you for at least examining what is is that makes your paintings “tick”.


In the top set, the orange on the bottom left has some strong, interesting color effects going on where the two shadows meet. Also in the orange on the right, but more subtly.

In the second set of four the effects seem quieter overall, very lovely and quiet.

The enjoyment you found in the exercise found its way into the little paintings. They look like you had fun doing them.


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