My second oil painting

6 min readJun 10, 2018


This is my second attempt at using oil paint. The first one was fairly successful, I painted my mom and she looked beautiful, and I promised myself I would keep on going. So here I am again, trying to continue learning and having fun.

Mom with my first oil painting.

The concept

For this second one I wanted to create something that didn’t exist. It is easy to copy something but when it comes to painting things that don’t exist I figured it would be harder. But I wanted to try. I am also a big fan of Salvador Dalí and surrealism in general. So I started thinking about concepts that I like and what could I make.

I love deer. I thought about painting a deer but it kinda sounded a bit boring so I thought about how to make it a bit more interesting. I decided I would make a deer woman. But also, a deer woman that was secretly Wonder Woman.

I looked for references. Photos of deers with big antlers. Women drawings such as the one below by Sara Herranz. The original Wonder Woman and also Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. Photos of leather jackets. I wanted her to be a bit of a badass, wearing a leather jacket (I would regret this later).

It is helpful to look for references and create an image in your head.

Inspiration and references

And so I made a first sketch of Deer Wonder Woman.

I had all materials from my last time painting (the list is on this post). After the last painting, I cleaned everything except for the Turpenoid jar. I used almost all the Turpenoid and I didn’t have more left so I reused the one I had. It was a bit dirty but the brushes would still get clean. Also the paint falls to the bottom of the jar after a couple of days sitting there and the Turpenoid gets cleaner.


On to it, I started with the background. I had light purple left from my mom painting and thought I would reuse that color (I am Catalan, we are known for being a bit close-fisted…).

I tried to make a gradient. A kind of radial vignetting effect from dark outside to bright in the center. As you can see it’s hard making gradients without leaving marks from the brushes. However, oil paint is good for blending on canvas so you just need to find the right brush. I read somewhere that flat brushes are better for creating gradients. Round brushes are worse.

Oil paint is good for blending on canvas.


I then painted the leather jacket. It was hard. It’s black. How am I supposed to make the shadows and highlights? I used white and grey. I tried to highlight the edges and apply some reflections in some areas where the light would bounce more.

Meh, at the beginning it looked bad… But as I said on my last post, don’t get frustrated! You gotta keep on perfecting the details little by little, going from undefined blobs to sharp edges. I would say, pay a lot of attention to the lighting. I guess this is super newbie basic advice. But it is something we normally disregard. You think the jacket is black, but the light gives it different tones. You have to look for the shadows and highlights and follow those tones.

At this point, I was a bit more frustrated with the painting than the one of my mom. Somehow it was being harder for me to get the right colors with the red, blue and yellow oil paint. The face started being a nightmare. I couldn’t get the tones. But then I thought about my last post, the first tones on my moms face were kind of off. I just had to keep on adjusting.

I was prouder once I had the face looking more decent. I think I did a good job with the body under the jacket. I also realized at some point she was super skinny so I tried making the arms wider. I didn’t want a skinny Wonder Woman.

Hands and flowers

The hand was another nightmare. The thumb looked odd. I’ve been told that hands are pretty hard. Gotta practice some more. So I left it for a while and tried to focus on the antlers and the flowers.

Ha! The flowers! I was like aha, I will make AMAZING flowers! Yeah sure, keep on dreaming. I looked for photos online. There’s some pretty nice ones. I wanted them to be super pink and for starters, I couldn’t get the saturated pink I wanted. I tried, I tried, I tried, no way. I just got this very light pink made out of red and white. But I wanted some kind of fuchsia/magenta.

I gave up at the end. I went back to my arts store and got some new colors. I know! It’s kind of cheating. But it was hard! This is what I got:

  • New colors: Cobalt Violet Hue, Brilliant Rose and Emerald Green. I know, I know, I told you not to get green… But sometimes cheating a bit doesn’t count. Not if it is for a greater purpose!
  • Brushes. I realized my brushes were very big and I was trying to make tiny details with them. And it made no sense. So I got smaller ones.
  • Turpenoid. I bought some more. Because I was running out of it.
  • Stretched canvas. I got three more. Small ones. I think I still need to practice with small ones to jump into big canvases.

With the new colors I could make better flowers. They were still very hard, also because they were tiny. I also added some green leaves on the antlers. And it finally looked like this:

Deer Wonder Woman

I like it but I also think it looks more illustrative than my moms. I also had a harder time with this one I would say. If I look at the color palette it’s a mess compared to the one I used on my first one. A sign that I had a harder time getting the proper color tones. I also feel like I should first cover the canvas with a plain color. I haven’t been doing this and I can see there is parts without paint. If I put it against the light it is very clear. Look:

Messy color palette and white spaces in canvas.

Despite all of this, I am proud. I like it and it certifies that my first drawing was not beginners luck. I can paint! Anyone can paint. So give it a try if you feel like it. It’s really fun and satisfying. I will definitely paint more!

Deer Wonder Woman