14 Oct 2022Mont Marte
Acrylic Oil Paint Weekend project

Create a mandarin duck painting in oils and acrylic

Firstly, transfer the image of the mandarin duck onto a canvas. We have provided an outline and reference image on the project webpage. 

Shade the backside of the outline with a 6B pencil and flip the shaded side down onto the canvas. Regarding the composition, we placed the duck slightly to the right of the canvas instead of directly in the center. Tape the outline into position and retrace it using the 6B pencil.  

To create the acrylic underpainting, squeeze out some Lemon Yellow, Medium Green, Scarlet and Lamp Black. Drag a 1 inch flat brush across the colours and mix them on the canvas. If the colour becomes too dark, add some more Lemon Yellow to lighten the mix. As we’ll be adding oil paint over the top, the underpainting can be patchy. 

Next, you can undercoat the duck. Squeeze out every colour in the Satin Acrylic Intro Set except the Purple and Medium Green. Paint Lamp Black into the head area, the chest, the markings on the body, the top part of the body and the tail feathers. Then, lay some Lamp Black into the reflection of the water. 

Add some Phthalo Blue to the forehead, chest and tail area. Apply this tone to the appropriate areas of reflection also.

Lay some Cerise into the top of the chest, some Scarlet into the cheek feather area and some Red into the beak and the reflection. Then, add some Lemon Yellow around the eye area, and some Orange on the wing feathers. 

Add White around the eye and up the head, the base of the chest, the markings on the wings and the tail area. Then, add White to appropriate areas of the reflection. 

Once you’re happy with the underpainting, you can paint the topcoat using oil paints. For the background of the top coat, squeeze out some Lemon yellow, Orange Yellow, Brilliant Red, Emerald Green and Lamp Black on your palette.

From there, mix some Yellow, Orange, Brilliant Red and a touch of Lamp Black to create a warm red-brown colour. 

Take a touch of this reddish brown tone and mix it with some Lemon Yellow and Emerald Green to create a Yellow Ochre Tone. 

Then, mix Lemon Yellow with a touch of Brilliant Red. 

On your palette, you’ll have a reddish brown, yellow ochre, orange, warm yellow and straight Lemon Yellow tone to create the glowing water surface. 

Use the 1 inch brush and some Lemon Yellow to paint large horizontal strokes. 

Add the darker yellow tones in between this colour, wiping the brush between each tone. Then, lay the yellow ochre and reddish brown tones sparsely throughout. 

Then, wash the 1 inch brush, dry it and gently blend the tones together on the canvas. For best results, hold the brush very lightly and only use the tip of the bristles.

When painting the water ripples, apply the darker tone in the bottom gully of the ripple and the lighter tones at the apex of each ripple. 

Once you’re happy with the water you add the top coat details. Squeeze out all the colours onto the palette and create a mix of Phthalo Blue with a touch of Titanium White and lay a light coat over the blue of the forehead and chest.  

Detail the head with Brilliant Red and Lemon Yellow.  And add highlights to the beak using some Titanium White mixed with Red. 

Create a light yellow tone using Lemon Yellow and Titanium White, and add thin strokes using a liner brush. As the feathers are quite detailed, you can use a straight object such as a booker rod to steady and support your hand. 

Then, define the orange wing tips and the black tail feather. 

Paint the wing with a white, yellow, to orange blend. Add this tone into the appropriate areas of the reflection too.

Scratch back the paint to create fine lines with a pointed modelling tool. A sharp pencil would work for this as well.

Apply some small touches of the light blue mix onto chest to suggest soft plumage. Paint this tone into the wing feathers and the appropriate areas in the reflection.

Refer to the reference image and add any final details. And, you’re all done! 


  • CSDT5060 Double Thick Canvas 20 x 24in
  • PMSA818 Satin Acrylic Intro Set 8pc
  • MPO8181 Oil Paint Intro Set 8pc
  • BMHS0030 Taklon Brush Set in Wallet 11pc 
  • MCG0022 Tear-off Paper Palette Signature 50gsm 36 Sheet
  • MCG0060 Palette Knife No.6 
  • MSCH7536 Acrylic Colour Paint – Cerise

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Outline and reference image Print project