Oil Painting is one of the best known of the traditional painting mediums. No matter how many mediums and forms of art have existed in art history, oil painting has the leading role and the most significant impact on visual art and all people around the world in general, including both artists and art lovers. If you are being asked to imagine an artist, you will imagine a person with an easel and paints without thinking. No other medium has such power over our minds. Oil paintings live for centuries and carry history with itself. That’s why oil painting has power and magic that can’t be resisted. Many artists have been intimidated by the medium of oil paints because of some difficulties in work with them and a long drying time. At the same time those artists, who tried painting with oil, fall in love with it immediately. Oil painting becomes their favored choice because of its rich long-lasting colors and freedom of expressing themselves through different approaches and methods. In this article, I don’t want to bore you with art history or complicated nature of oil paints. Using my experience, I want to tell you the main things that you need to know if you are thinking about trying oil painting and give you some tips on how to manage this medium fast, so you won’t be lost in the theories and go straight to the practice. Also, I will help you to overcome your fear of painting, it happens to almost every artist, including me, but there is a way of how to fight with this.
So, here is what you need to get started… You need to have Oil Painting Supplies and you need to choose one of the main oil painting techniques, that you will use.
Let’s start with the list of oil painting supplies. You need: - Canvas I recommend pre-primed, stretched canvases for beginners - Oil Paint Start with a starter palette for oil painting: Titanium White, Ivory Black, Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow, Cobalt Blue hue and Viridian Green - Paint Solvent, Mediums Use Turpentine, Linseed Oil, Retouch Varnish - Paint Brushes There are different sizes and shapes. I recommend starting with 5 brushes: one round size 2 brush, one round size 4 brush, one round size 6 brush, one filbert size 8 brush and one flat size 12 brush. - Palette Knives (One will be enough for beginners) - Easel - Palette - Oil Painting Accessories (paper or cloth towels, jars to hold your solvent and oil medium, charcoal pencil) - The way to clean your brushes Try Turpentine or you can buy a special cleaner in a store Read more about the oil painting supplies from the list in my article “Oil Painting Supplies”, where I describe every tool and explain how to use them, which one I recommend and which one is optional.
Now you have everything that you need to start painting, it’s time to talk about oil painting techniques. There are many different techniques: - Scumbling - Alla Prima (Wet on Wet) - Glazing - Chiaroscuro - Impasto - Grisaille - Blocking in - Blending - Oiling out
I recommend glazing technique for beginners. It’s a popular technique in oil painting, where glazes (thin, semi-transparent layers of paint) are applied on top of an opaque layer of paint which has been allowed to dry. Using this technique, you need to remember the main rule “Fat over lean”. This means that each subsequent layer of paint has more oil than the prior layer to avoid cracking in the paint. For the first layer of paint you should use only Turpentine, for all other layers of paint, you can add little by little linseed oil and retouch varnish. Read more about this in my article “Three Oil Painting Rules”. Also, you can learn the glazing technique more detailed, in my step by step tutorial, in the article “Oil Painting in process. Glazing technique”. Glazing technique is not the easiest technique, but it will help you to learn how to work with oils and teach you how to be patient, which is very important in oil painting in general. Don’t rush with the layers and you will succeed. Oil painting can be intimidating but don’t let your fear stop you from creating art. If you have a calling inside your heart, you need to listen to it. I remember my very first artwork, done with oils. I got all the necessary supplies years before I finally overcame my fear and started painting. I know how it’s like to feel that you are not good enough for something and doubt yourself that you will mess this up. What helped me is meditation. I know it might sound silly first, but seriously, our mind has so much power, that we don’t even realize sometimes. If you clear all the mess and doubt in your head, and keep only good thoughts, you can do anything. And believe me, nothing can stop you! Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, be afraid of not even trying. Because you don’t even know what you are capable of until you do it. If you find this article helpful, but you would like to get more knowledge and help from me, I recommend you to take one of my online art classes, that you can find on my website. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate and contact me, I will contact you back shortly. I hope you enjoyed reading this article. I would be happy to hear your thoughts and comments.