Oil paints are a favorite medium for many artists because they are very versatile. Also, because the paint dries more slowly, it is possible to correct mistakes. But it does take time to learn how to use oil paints correctly and it is something you’re going to need to practice. As you do, follow these top ten tips to master the art of oil painting more quickly.
Follow These Ten Tips to Master Oil Painting
Learning how to use a new medium can be difficult, but you will get better if you keep practicing. You can only learn so much by reading art books and watching online tutorials – at some point, you just have to try it. When you’re ready to practice, follow these ten tips:
1. Hold the brush correctly. Holding a paintbrush is different from holding a pencil – you want to hold it as far back on the handle as you can to get the most sensitivity and fluidity with each stroke.
2. Use all sides of the brush. Paintbrushes come in all different sizes, but you don’t necessarily need a dozen different brushes for one painting. Keep in mind that most brushes have two orientations – try turning the brush or holding it at a different angle to create a different stroke.
3. Don’t be heavy-handed. In the same way that you can change the brush stroke by holding the brush differently, the amount of pressure you use will change the stroke as well. Try not to use heavy pressure because it will create ridges in the paint or blend areas that you don’t want to blend.
4. Experiment with different mediums. To create different textures in your painting you can mix your paints with different mediums. Using solvent, you can thin the paint for a layer of translucent color or you can add just a little medium to give it a thicker but smoother texture.
5. Clean your brushes often. When you are painting, be sure to clean your brushes often and be careful when you pick up paint from your palette so you don’t accidentally mix the paints.
6. Mix your colors. Most artists don’t use paint straight out of the tube. Pure paint may have the most intense color, but it isn’t always the most natural. When you’re painting, you want to blend colors to add depth to your work.
7. Use plenty of paint. When using oil paints, you can add depth to your work by laying the paint on thick. If you find that the paint on your palette is becoming too thin, it may be time to remix it.
8. Use your palette knife. Another way to apply oil paint is to use your palette knife instead of a brush. With your palette knife you can actually create some very interesting strokes.
9. Don’t buy too many paints. When you first start oil painting it may be tempting to buy every color of the rainbow but you’re actually better off starting with a few and learning to mix your own colors.
10. Start with an underpainting. When you begin a new painting, start with a thin wash of background color and then paint in the major areas of color before adding details.
Oil painting is an art and one that takes time to master. If you want to give it a try, however, you’ll find that the ten tips above may help you get started.