How To Paint With Oil Paints

The Colors Mix Very Well

A Crash Course on How to Oil Paint

You may even find that it is easier to mix water soluble oils than it is to mix traditional oils when producing new colors. Artists who have made the switch have been impressed with the vibrant colors that they can get with the pigments and have even found it difficult to produce a ‘muddy’ color.

You might notice that some pigments are more transparent than they are with their oil-based counterparts. Some artists have noticed this difference with the likes of viridian green and cobalt blue.

In General, They Work Like Other Oil Paints

Painting with water soluble oils feels like painting with any other oil. You may even find that you get better coverage because they tend to spread farther if you achieve the right consistency.

As with other oils, it is very easy to get rich, opaque layers of paint on canvas or board. Creating texture and accenting your brush strokes for effect is also quite easy and similar to traditional oils.

The one aspect you may enjoy even more with water soluble oils is the ease of creating transparent glazes and water-washed underpaintings. This is where the ability to mix the pigment with water is very helpful.

Linseed oil works wonders for reviving dried water mixable oils on your palette.

The Advantages Of Water Soluble Oils

Painters have long considered oil paints to be the crème de la crème when it comes to mediums. They take extra skill and care to use, but are rewarding because of the textures and vibrant colors they can produce. Oil paintings are also appreciated for their longevity and ease of care.

As great as oils are, they have always had their drawbacks. Long drying times and harsh fumes from solvents are among the biggest complaints from artists concerning oils. These can scare off beginners and cause painters with allergies and other concerns to avoid this type of paint.

Water soluble oils address these concerns and there are many benefits to using them:

  • The joy and look of working with oils without the harsh toxins and fumes found in turpentine and other compounds used with traditional oils.
  • Faster drying time than traditional oils.
  • More time to work with the paint than water-based acrylics allow.
  • Mixable with water, linseed oil, or other solvents to produce different effects.
  • It is possible to mix these with traditional oils and some acrylic paints.

Oil Painting Techniques You Should To Learn

Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments bound in oil. Oil paints can be made by the artist or purchased at art supplies stores. The common oils used in oil paints are linseed oil, poppyseed oil, walnut oil, and safflower oil. Different oils allow for different drying times and if the paints contain resin, you will get a glossy finish. Oil paints are prized among artists because the longer drying times allow the artist to manipulate the paint at a later time. Before you get started with the 25 oil painting techniques, learn to unleash your art creativity by finding and developing your own personal creativity and visual expression according to your strengths and interests.

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Learn The Rules Oflayering

There is a simple rule of layering in the art world: slow over fast. Whentalking about oil paints, those that have been mixed with more solvent tend tobe thinner and dry quicker. When mixed with less solvent, the oils are thickerand take far longer to dry. It is recommended that you make the first fewlayers of paint with a thinner consistency and the final layers quite thick.This method of layering works to ensure all the paints have been able to dryquickly and prevents the possibility of cracked paint in your masterpiece. Similarly,if you wish to add acrylicpaint to your oil painting, oil always goes on top, as it dries much moreslowly than acrylic.

You might also like to test out different oils, to see how they vary theconsistencies of your paint. Generally, Linseed oil works to slow the dryingtime, whilst Liquin will speed it up. Take some time to play and explore theexciting array of choices.

Oil Painting Techniques That Every Artist Should Know

Oil painting demonstration

If you have been experimenting with your oil paints for a while, now may be the time to take your art to the next level. Oil painting can be an incredibly versatile way of creating pictures and there are a number of oil painting techniques that can help you to vary your end result.

Before weget into those, there are three oil painting rules that you need to follow:

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What To Use If You Dont Have Liquid White

If you dont have Liquid White, you can use a white oil paint, like Zinc White. You can also use a white primer, like gesso.

You will need:

  • Airtight container


Start by laying out all of your supplies. You will need oil paints, a canvas or painting surface, brushes, a palette knife, paper towels, and an airtight container. If you have Liquid White, you can use that, but if not, you can use a white oil paint like Zinc White. You will also need a solvent like mineral spirits and old rags.

Start by priming your canvas with gesso. This will help the paint adhere to the surface and give you a nice white background to work with. Once the gesso is dry, you can start painting.

If you are using Liquid White, mix a small amount with your paint to make it thinner and easier to work with. If you are not using Liquid White, just add a little bit of solvent to your paint to thin it out.

Start by painting a thin layer of paint over the entire canvas. You can use a brush or a palette knife for this. Once the first layer is dry, you can add additional layers of paint, building up the color and texture as you go.

When you are finished painting, clean your brushes with solvent and store them in an airtight container. You can also use old rags to clean up any spills.

Create Landscape Oil Sketches

Oil is a slow drying and transparent medium. Use the slow drying nature of the paint to your advantage to blend oil on the canvas for longer. The blending technique is conducive to creating sky gradients and fluffy clouds.

Get a soft goat mop brush to blend elements in the sky. The transparency of the paint can be used to create the illusion of detailas demonstrated in this Youtube tutorial by Stuart Davies. He creates highlights in the undulating hills by wiping away sections of paint with a stiff brush. This gives the impression of light reflecting on grass textures. Stiff hog or synthetic hog brushes in flat and fan shapes are great for this technique.

To create bright, blue skies, mix either Ultramarine or Cobalt with Titanium white. Natural, grass coloured greens can be made with Burnt Umber, Lemon Yellow, Phthalo Blue and Magenta .

Painting landscape sketches is a brilliant way to plan compositions and improve skills quickly. Work on oil paper and try and use the largest brush you can for the section you are painting. This way, you will avoid focussing on details too heavily. If you like the sketches you make, you can always frame them.

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Oil Painting Guide: 10 Tips For Beginners

Lisa Marder is an artist, painter, and teacher with over two decades of experience. She is a Harvard-trained artist with a focus on landscape paintings and works in a variety of media, including watercolor, oil, acrylic, pastel, ink, and digital. Lisa is a member of the National Association of Women Artists.

John Lund — Marc Romanelli / Getty Images

Artists have been painting with oil paints for hundreds of years and oil paints continue to be popular worldwide due to their versatility, quality, and color. While getting started with oil painting is fairly easy, there is a little bit more to it than acrylics, since you are working with solvents and mediums and the drying time is much longer. Individual artists who have been painting for a while have their own favorite brands, brushes, palettes, and mediums, but here are some general tips that may be useful to you if you are just starting out with oil paints.

Oil Painting Tips For Beginners

The Basics of Oil Painting

If youve never learned how to play music, sitting with a group of musicians using technical terms to describe their work can be a whirlwind of confusing, beautiful language. A similar situation can occur when speaking with artists who paint with oils: suddenly youre in a conversation where theyre debating the finer points of pigments, discussing the benefits of canvas versus linen, or sharing recipes for homemade gesso, brush recommendations, and a technique called wet-on-wet. The abundance of language that goes along with oil painting may feel overwhelming at first, but if you take the time to familiarize yourself with its terms and best practices, youll be on your way to using with the centuries-old medium with ease.

If youre just starting out though, dont expect Old Masters realness from your first few artworks. Whether youre new to paint, or an artist who typically works in another medium, like acrylics or watercolors, it will take some time to learn oil paints specific qualitiesmost notably its slow drying time and strict rules for layering. As with any medium, its best to alleviate yourself of high expectations, and afford yourself room for experimentation and discovery.

To help bright-eyed artists eager to try oils, we spoke with two artists who also teach painting and compiled five tips for familiarizing yourself with the medium.

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Learn To Sculpt With Your Paints

A big part of effectively using layers is learning how to make certain shapes or designs with them. When you do this effectively, you can truly sculpt with your paints, allowing you to add a new layer of depth. Learning how to do this isnt that hard.

It is simply a matter of playing with your paints. Build up your paints and see how you can push the bulk of the paint around to make exciting shapes. This will bring life to your image and make it easy for you to highlight certain areas more effectively. Many people find that they can even use these layers to give more substance to the elements of their work.

Beginners Guide To Starting Oil Painting

If youre new to oil painting or thinking about signing-up to my Online Art School, youll need a range of equipment to get started. You dont need to spend a fortune on oil painting supplies but I do advise you to buy artist grade oil paint instead of student grade, as you really will notice the difference in results.

Below, you will see a list of basic oil painting equipment that youll need to start oil painting or to join my Online Art school. Its not necessary to purchase the exact same equipment as me to start oil painting or to take part in my oil painting courses. However, I do recommend that you purchase the highest quality equipment that you can afford, as youll be happier with the quality and be able to produce better paintings.

  • Liquin or Linseed oil to thin the oil paint
  • White spirit to clean paint brushes and thin paint
  • Varnish to finish your work of art

As a beginner, its likely that youll have very limited knowledge about oil painting and the equipment that youll need. But its very easy to pick it up quickly and to start enjoying learning how to oil paint. My Online Art School specialises in teaching oil painting for beginners with step-by-step tuition, so youll be in very good hands.

What paints do you need to start oil painting?

What can you use as a palette for oil painting?

What are the best paint brushes for oil painting?

What type of surface can you paint onto with oils?

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Thin Oil Paint With Mediums

Besides solvents and natural oils there are a wide variety of manufactured mediums you can use to thin your paint. Many of these mediums are a combination of some type of oil-based substance such as petroleum distillates with solvent. While there are many on the market, we will discuss a few of the more popular ones here to get you started.

Oil Painting Techniques For Beginners

Paintings, Oil painting on canvas 45x50cm, Impressionism painting, Sea ...

Now that we know what products to use, we can discuss some oil painting techniques for beginners. Just as with other paint mediums, there are many techniques when using oil paints. Below, we will highlight the most popular ones for you in order to get a better idea on what you can accomplish with this medium.

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Tip #: Explore Mediums

You can use a medium or oil to mix with your oil paint, to adapt the consistency, drying time and finish of your painting. Refined Linseed Oil and Liquin are great for beginners the first slows down drying time, whilst the latter will speed it up. A great one for beginners is the Winsor & Newton Artists’ Medium, because it’s straightforward and multi-purpose it improves the flow of the oil paint, slows down trying time and improves fine details, as well as drying without leaving a yellow tinge.

How Long Do You Let Liquid White Dry Before Painting

You should wait until the liquid white has dried completely before starting to paint. Depending on the temperature and humidity, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a day. If youre in a hurry, you can use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process.

Once the liquid white is dry, you can start painting your masterpiece! Be sure to follow the instructions on the oil paint tubes, and dont forget to clean your brushes when youre finished.

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You Can Mix Them With Other Paints

Because water soluble oil paints bridge the gap between oil and acrylic paints, they can often be mixed with either. You will need to experiment and choose wisely, but it is possible.

  • When mixing with traditional oils, you loose some of the ability to mix the paint with water. Many artists have found that a small amount of oil is a good range if you want to retain some water solubility. Again, an oil-based solvent like linseed oil will likely give you superior results.
  • Check with the acrylic paint manufacturer to ensure that it is mixable with water soluble oils. It is not possible to use just any acrylic with this type of paint, so be sure to research the brands you intend to use. With acrylics, 25% or below is also a recommended amount for the mix.

Easy Oil Painting Ideas: For Beginners

Oil Painting for Beginners – Basic Techniques + Step by Step Demonstration

Need some inspiration for what to paint? Oil paint is an incredibly versatile medium that has been around for centuries. That means that theres an abundance of established approaches, techniques and styles to choose from. Many of these are accessible to beginners and the rest just takes a bit of practice.

In this guide, find eleven easy oil painting ideas, with step-by-step tutorials on how to try them for yourself. Youll be creating awesome artworks in no time!

Disclaimer: Fine Art Tutorials is a reader supported site. When you make purchases through links on this site, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Your Choice Of Solvents Is Vast

While you can use water to thin water soluble oil paints, it may not be your best option. Straight water will often create a duller color and stickier paint that doesn’t brush easily or work well when other oils are added. In reality, water may be best reserved for clean up with these paints.

Traditional linseed oil can be used to thin water soluble oils and it will give the painting a nice sheen and add depth to the color. There are specially formulated linseed, safflower, and other oils designed to work with these non-traditional oils.

You will also be able to use other mediums to customize your painting experience and the finished piece. Among these are fast-drying mediums, stand oils, impasto and alkyd mediums, and blenders to give heavily pigmented colors more of a transparent look.

Linseed Oil And Solvents

You can use paint right from the tube without adding any medium or solvent, but itll be thick and harder to push around on the surface, causing you to use more oil paint.

I love the flow of brush strokes I can get with a medium in the mix. My go-to is a combination of linseed oil and gamsol.

NOTE: I HIGHLY recommend gamsol if youre going to be working with a solvent. It puts off WAY fewer fumes than other paint thinners like turpentine or even other versions of odorless mineral spirits. Still use caution, and be sure to read the safety section coming up!

Adding medium to your oil paints will make your paint more fluid and dynamic. With some trial and error, youll find the amount of paint to medium ratio that works best in any situation.

Linseed oil is a drying oil, which means it will eventually cure, so its suitable for oil painting . There are other oils used for painting, like walnut oil and poppy oil that extend the drying time, but linseed oil is what most oil paints are made with.

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