VIDEO: Even Application for Transparent/Semi-Transparent Paints

A question came up during a recent Skype artist hangout regarding a successful way to apply “even” layers of very thin/semi-transparent/transparent oil paints (like Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, etc.) I use a very simple 3 step process when requiring handling these paints in early layers of a painting: apply them with bristles, even out with a sable/synth stipple, and flatten with an even softer sable/synth.

Here is a video of this process:


Nice! Need to get me some of those real tech brushes

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They are really cheap and seem to last a long time.

Two sets I really like:

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Hi Tony
I watched the latest video about thin layers, thank you. I’m glad to know about the stippling pass, it will help. I’ve gotten very good results from the makeup brush, but I would pick up paint while spreading the unevenness.
The real question is: this works beautifully within a taped off area, but what about working in a confined area? You can see I’ve worked the black here, but now I have to contend with the over-brushing on my objects.


Thank you so much for sharing this question here Debbie. I will definitely put together something for tackling this issue in more complex contexts. (Hopefully today!)

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This is really helpful, thank you Anthony - it would be interesting to see this In relation to gradations, or passages where there is variation such that broad blending is not possible. But I’m verging on asking you just to strap a go pro to your head so we can watch you paint in real time…!

Edit - I’ve just seen that Debbie is asking the same thing so consider me a second vote!


Ok, here is a short video that demonstrates the application of this 3-step process in a more complex scenario ( a lay-in of a spherical form surrounded by black.)


Again, so helpful. I’d be interested to see some of your thoughts re examples of options, issues and interactions with making second or third passes - perhaps with some address to considerations of detail when building layers. This is obviously something that varies depending on the subject but I’ll bet there are some great examples out there. I’m just setting up a new home studio so will post my own stuff soon!


I had to try this right away. My examples are alizarin and a weird color given to me: aureolin cobalt yellow, done on a canvas board. First I must say that I’ve not seen alizarin so jewel like, good to know. The yellow is a strange color, it looks like greenish ochre in the tube. It is transparent so I thought it would make a good example. When applied very thinly it became a brilliant “true” yellow. An interesting color. It was also very thick as I may have used it only once.

I must say that the stippling is the magic here! It is the most important part of the process.

And thanks, Tony for the update with the sphere.


YES!!! You did it Deb!!! Just awesome—I get really excited to these methods work out for others so well. Way to go—(and thank you!) <3


Looks great Deb! I’m glad that the procedure worked so well. :smiley:

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I tried this too today. Williamsburg Permanent Red Orange was my colour of choice. Here’s a pic of a solid colour block and my first ever painted pressure scale :champagne:.

Both done in one pass, and I think I used too little paint maybe. I’m interested to see what will happen when I go over them again.


Brilliant Stuart! I’ll be curious to see how a second layer takes as well.

Thanks Anthony - it was so interesting. As I said above I may have used too little paint so I’ll try a bit more in the next one to factor in paint removal by the stippling and blending processes.

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Nice, Stuart. I must try a painting pressure scale too. Never done one.


lol! the music has tapping sounds in it! love this!!

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Thanks Anthony, this is very helpful. Going to track down some of these magic brushes and see how they feel :slight_smile:

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Awesome Steve. There is a question from Suzanne Batchelor called “Brushes: good sables?” that has the direct links to the brushes from Amazon in the thread. :smiley:

Here is the link to Brushes: good sables?


Great demo! thanks

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