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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Oil Painting

Oil Painting is a type of paint that is slow  drying. While water is used for aquarelles (watercolor) and acrylics, linseed oil is for oil paints. To increase glossiness of the dried film, a turpentine or white spirit and varnish may be used.

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Oil  paints are thick and come in tubes. It usually takes three days  before you can apply another coat or layer because of its slow drying properties. When it dries, new colors can be applied over the painted surface. One thing good about this medium is that you'll have enough time to refine the paint before it dries especially when making gradual transitions from one color to another. If you made a mistake, it can easily be removed by scraping carefully the paint off the canvas with the use of a clean stiff brush, a palette knife or a rag.

The only disadvantage with oil paints that I see is the possibility of cross-contaminating another color when not applied accurately.  Therefore, strokes on the edges of your sketched object must be handled carefully to avoid from getting over to the next wet object you're done painting with as colors may join together.

Mostly, oil paintings are done in canvas but, traditionally, this is made out of linen. Other artists nowadays who are more experimental use different types of fabrics or even marine plywoods prepared and surface applied with a white latex paint. Art stores offer a ready to paint canvas, framed in wood, that comes in different sizes.

Oil Paints vs Acrylics

  • Oil paints have more pigments that allow richer and vivid colors.  Acrylics lightly darkens as they dry but oil paints do not.
  • Oil paints are of slow drying properties while acrylics with quick drying.
  • Oil paints are used with a linseed oil, water for acrylics.
  • Turpentines or Mineral spirits are used for cleaning brushes with oil while Acrylics with water.
  • Oil paints are quite expensive compared to Acrylics, at least, depending on the brand being used.

Which is the right one for you?

This really depends on you. If you are a slow painter, I would recommend using Oil paints or if you are a quick one, Acrylics are best for you. It doesn't really matter which one so long as you are comfortable with your chosen medium. You may use cheaper ones for practice.

Oil paints may be expensive for beginners, however, you'll have fun practicing with color blending and transitioning. More or less, the principles are the same with any other mediums but with Oil paints, you'll just have more time to correct and adjust the paint of an object you are working on. 

I have tried using different mediums but I enjoyed practicing with Oil paints when I was just starting. I can leave my project anytime and resume painting at a more convenient time.

Getting started

You can directly draw on canvas but may find it difficult with its texture when pencil or charcoal is used. You can also prepare your drawing on a large sheet of tracing paper and transfer it to the canvas. You can do this by smudging your pencil or charcoal at the back of your paper, place the paper on top of the canvas and trace the lines of your drawing. You may lose your sketches on canvas in the process, therefore, it is advisable to seal your drawing with a fixative before you start applying Oil paints.

Another method when drawing straight on canvas is to use paints that's thinned with a thinner. Because it is a paint you are using, it does not need to be isolated from subsequent colors.

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