Monochromatic Painting - Oil (level 2)

Goals and Objectives

  1. To exhibit a thorough understanding of the elements of art and principles of design (primarily value and contrast)
  2. To show an understanding of the uses of oil paint* for a variety of edges and textures, as well as the history of the medium
  3. To paint a scene from a photograph and/or subject that has personal significance (ideally)

Step by Step

  1. Discuss project and have students bring in high quality b/w photos for their project (3-5, min., as options); photos they and/or a family member has taken are ideal - pay particular attention to contrast and composition
  2. Draw grid onto 16x20" canvas (when using the Grid Art Tool Kit these will be 2" squares
  3. Draw grid onto, and crop, your photo using the photocopies from the
  4. Demo and Draw image on canvas
  5. Erase grid lines
  6. Demo and paint first "wash" layer over pencil lines (three rough value areas - should still see pencil marks through thinned paint)
  7. Demo and paint next steps; beginning to build up density of paint and "painting" the painting
  8. Focus on appropriate amount of paint (not to thin but not so thick that there is a physical texture), blending, crisp edges, appearance of texture, etc.



  • This project typically takes approximately 12 class periods of 90 minutes each


If you would like digital photographs of examples of this project, or digital copies of the Grid Art Tool Kit, please email with your request.

This project follows a grisaille oil painting of basic forms on canvas panel to get the students accustomed to oil paint handling, and is an extension of the basic shape/value principles first addressed with the Grid Drawing they did as Level 1 students.

*oil paint - Level 2 students use oil paint for this project on a 16x20" canvas, but you can do this same project with any painting media that is appropriate for your classroom

Some select supplies can be found with the below links: