Whatever time of year it is where you live there is so much around you to be appreciated. What can you find around you to paint? A simple branch, a leaf, a feather, a sprig from a fruit tree?
This is a wonderful exercise to not only get a better feel for oil painting, mixing colors, but also to celebrate the world around you by bringing it into your studio and seeing all the amazing details within that piece of nature.
"The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." -Henry Miller
Figure out what colors you will need by looking at your piece of nature. I used a slightly off version of the primary colors, bringing in Payne's Grey instead of a primary blue.
I worked on gessoed drawing paper. The gesso gave me a nice texture for the background, as you can see in the photo above.
Using a small brush, sketch out your subject with some paint thinner and a neutral color. Begin painting your piece, looking out for different values and any details needed to make up the the whole piece. Take your time and use light brush strokes to apply your paint.
Start off by taking a walk outside, soak up some fresh air, and find something you wish to paint.
Once I felt satisfied with my finished painting I wanted to see how I could take it further, making it different/more interesting. I took a piece of cardstock paper and gently pulled it across the painting, creating a windswept look. I then did it again in another direction. When you finish you piece look at it and think about how you can take it one step further.