Arts & Crafts, Magazine

Painting with Oil paints – 5 Tips from Practice

Painting with oil paints is probably the supreme discipline of painting. It allows the combination of different painting techniques and is characterized by special color brilliance. Anyone who wants to paint with oil paints, however, must bring patience, because in comparison to other artists paints oil colors dry much slower.

1. The right preparation for painting with oil paints

As so often, good preparation is also a crucial factor when painting with oil paints. Ample space, plenty of light (but no direct sunlight) and good ventilation characterize the perfect place for the oil painting. The required artist material should be within reach. Cover the surface well and wear insensitive clothing.

2. The basic range of oil paints

For a start, a small range of oil paints, which can be extended gradually as needed. Next

  • Ivory black 
  • Titanium white

belong in the basic assortment for painting with oil paints for example:

  • Cadmium yellow mix 
  • Krapprot 
  • Prussian blue 

From these basic colors, you can mix many other shades yourself. An extended range of oil paints is also available

  • Lemon yellow 
  • Cadmium red mix 
  • Ultramarine blue light 
  • Chrome oxide green fiery 
  • Juicy green 
  • Lights ocher natural 
  • Siena fired 
  • Burnt Umber 

Since white is very commonly used to lighten colors, it is recommended to buy a larger tube of titanium white when buying oil paints.

Professional tip: Do not save on the colors! High-quality oil paints in artist quality can not only be processed better but also ensure a higher and more durable color brilliance and luminosity.

3. First steps when painting with oil paints

It is important to know that oil paints are a very thankful material because already applied oil paints can be changed and corrected for a long time due to their long drying time. Nevertheless, it makes sense to first visualize the planned image as a rough sketch, for example with charcoal. In addition, basic considerations about the lighting conditions in the picture are just as crucial as movements and perspectives.

The determination of the required colors is also central. It is important to adapt them to reality and not to sit up in a general cliché image like “The sky is blue.”

4. Techniques of oil painting

When painting with oil paints, the colors can be applied undiluted directly from the tube to the canvas. In the so-called “prima painting”, which dispenses with the use of several layers, this ensures particularly rapid painting, often in a painting session.

Further possibilities are the use of painting agents and additives. By adding painting materials, the painter has more influence on the consistency, gloss and drying times of the oil paints.

In layer painting and glaze painting, the oil paints are applied in several operations: sometimes with thin, translucent, sometimes with thicker, covering layers of paint.

5. After painting with oil paints

After painting with oil paints, it is important to clean the brushes carefully as dried oil paint will ruin brushes. It is best to use brush cleaner, then rinse the cleaned painting equipment well under warm water and let it dry in the air.

Only rarely are oil paintings finished after a painting session. Therefore it is recommended to cover mixed colors with plastic wrap or to store in small containers for the next operation. Namely, it is almost impossible to mix the same color twice identically.

It can take several months to dry an oil-painted picture completely. Only after complete drying, the oil painting can be coated with a final varnish, for example in the form of an aero spray, to protect the image from dirt and other harmful influences.

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