The style of indirect painting, as a rule, calls for the use of multiple layers of paint on the same piece. This is done to enhance visual effects (shading, for example) and create a more "refined" look in the piece. Generally, indirect paintings consist of three layers:
- A dark initial layer, used to draw out the painting. Usually consists of similar colors.
- A middle layer, made with opaque colors; usually contains the lightest colors in the painting.
- A top layer that serves as a glaze and enriches the surface of the piece.
Where direct painting enflames the senses with simplicity, indirect works to lend a realistic appearance to paintings. The staple of indirect painting is subtlety. It is as its name implies, just as in direct painting. The paintings are meant to be enjoyed as a whole, splitting the observer's attentions into many facets.