When it comes to painting, there are many different mediums to choose from but oil paint is by far one of the most popular. Not only are oil paints very durable once dried, but they can be used to create some striking color combinations. Oil paints dry more slowly than watercolors or acrylics as well, which leaves you with more options for blending. To make the most of this benefit, consider the tips and tricks for blending oil paint below.
Tips for Blending Oil Paint
The beauty of oil paint is that you do not need any special brushes to facilitate blending – any brush will work. Blending is simply the gradual transition from one color to another and it can be accomplished with any combination of colors. For the best results, use a flat brush for blending – round brushes will make your job a little bit more difficult. Before you can start blending, you need to mix your colors on your palette then use your brush to apply the colors to the approximate location on the canvas.
Once you have applied the colors to your canvas you can start blending. For vertical or horizontal applications you simply drag the brush back and forth across the space between the two colors in a crosshatch motion. After you’ve laid the foundation, you can then refine the blend with small parallel strokes. To ensure a smooth and even blend, use a separate brush for your light-to-middle blending and for your dark-to-middle blending. For circular blends, apply your brush strokes perpendicular to the light in a rotating movement.
Specific Blending Techniques
Using the tips provided in the last section you can achieve a blended look between two colors but it may take some practice to get the technique down. If you are new to oil painting you may need more detailed guidance. Below you will find a list of steps to follow in blending oil paints:
1. Mix your two paint colors using linseed oil to thin them out.
2. Use a flat 1-inch brush to apply vertical strokes of your two colors side by side – leave a little bit of white space in between.
3. Use a dry brush to apply heavy overlapping strokes, working the left color into the right and then the right color into the left.
4. Continue working the brush in overlapping strokes using only an up-and-down motion until the desired blend is achieved.
This is the simplest blending method but it is not the only option. Once you have mastered this method you can try another one:
1. Apply vertical strokes of your two chosen colors using a ½-inch flat brush – you do not need to thin the paints as much this time and the two colors should be further apart.
2. Use a clean flat brush and dip it in your choice of thinner then apply the thinner in vertical strokes in the space between the two colors without touching either.
3. Apply an overlapping stroke along the inside edge of each color until the space between the two is soaked with color and thinner.
4. Continue to apply up-and-down strokes, working the colors together for several minutes until the paint is evenly distributed and well blended.
Mastering blending techniques with oil paints will take a great deal of time and practice but, if you follow these tips, you will come to see how the process works. As you practice be sure to use different colors and different thicknesses for application so you get a feel for it.