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How Should A Beginner Start Oil Painting?

Updated: Jun 17

"Oil painting is one of the most well-known and respected types of art."

In addition to being one of the oldest types of painting, since the 12th century AD. There are rumors that it was known before this time.

Oil colors are also characterized by their thick texture, and delayed time of dryness, which allows the opportunity to correct any error in the painting without damaging it.

In this article, we will help you to make your first step in oil painting by following some important steps. Also, in the end, you will find some instructions and warnings.

Why Mixing Oil Painting Is Essential?

"Paint is a dispersion of small, colored, insoluble particles (pigments) in a liquid medium."

Mixing pigments within an oil medium is different than mixing pigments in water-based media, oils actually, with their delayed dry times, enable the artist to make full use of his brilliant pigments.

Paint is a dispersion of small, colored, insoluble particles (pigments) in a liquid medium composed of solvent(turpentine oil or clove oil) and binder(Linseed oil and Safflower oil).

Oil pigments straight out of the tube can be challenging to use due to aggregations and consistency, When mixing oil paints, The artist needs to break the aggregated pigments into fine particles and disperse them into the oil medium of choice, which means it would be a thin film of oil around every pigment particle.

As pigments are the first and basic painting materials, it's very important to get high-quality pigments from trusted trademarks.

  • Cadmium and ocher yellow.

  • Cadmium red.

  • Alizarin carmine.

  • Lapis lazuli.

  • Titanium white and Mars black.

By mixing these basic colors you could obtain the non-basic colors you need.

How To Mix Oil Paints

The "fat over lean" rule is key, the primary layer is to be leaner in terms of oil than the successive layer above, notice, Fat over Lean refers to the oil painting principle that applying paint with a higher ratio of oil to color pigments over paint with a lower ratio of oil to color pigments can ensure a more flexible paint film that will not crack later.

Using a palette knife, which is a painting tool that consists of a blade and a handle. the palette knife is made of a solid piece of plastic while the higher quality palette knives are typically made of metal (stainless steel) and a wooden handle.

Why Artists Should Not Mix Paint With Brushes?

Professional artists use high-quality brushes, which are really expensive, for example, Pure Kolinsky Sable Brush, Mixing paint with a brush will decrease its useful lifespan, Paint mixing with brushes really mangles the nicely formed shape of the bristles.

Also worth noting is that it’s really hard to do a thorough job mixing multiple colors together if using only a brush. The two or more paint colors will not completely mix causing unpredictable colors to leach out of your brush while you’re painting.

Buy other basic oil painting tools

To start producing high-quality oil paintings, you will need some essential tools. Some of them are indispensable and others are. Those tools are as follows:-

1- Various sizes of round and flat brushes, preferably of good quality, for professional painting.

2- Brushes with natural hair and others synthetic, mixing the use of both helps you to use different techniques of color.

3- A color knife is very important for mixing colors.

4- "Palette" of colors and a canvas or stretched canvas

5- Some old clothes and jars for use in cleaning brushes.

6- White spirits or turpentine to dilute oily colors because they are too thick when extracted directly from the tube.

7- Binding oils such as linseed oil, safflower oil, or poppy oil.

8- Optional tools, includes a holder or a drawing desk, an apron, and a cloth to protect your clothes and body from dripping color, as well as a dedicated box to carry all your tools to protect them from loss or damage.

Oil Painting Studio
Painting Studio

Make your special workspace

You probably won't finish one painting in a day, so you must allocate a workspace, even if it's a small corner of the room. This place should be away from direct sunlight and away from the constant movement of people.

Also, using oil paints and the necessary oils and tools may produce some fumes, so it is better for your health to have a well-ventilated painting workspace.

Oil Paint is difficult to get rid of from clothes or skin in general, so you should wear old clothes or a painting apron while protecting your skin as well, and wearing gloves while painting to ensure maximum protection is a good idea.

Start your painting

Here you can start painting, and for amazing results, these steps are recommended in order:

1- Use a stiff pencil to create a light sketch directly by drawing on the canvas.

2- Mark the locations of the shapes on the board so that they are in the position that catches the eye of the spectator across the entire board, rather than focusing on one spot.

3- If you use an object in real life and draw it on your board, it is better to pay attention to the area around the object, which will help to highlight the subject, thanks to the negative space, which is the space that surrounds the object.

4- Use overlapping shapes to add a lot of depth and realism to your painting.

Some tips for high-quality oil painting

1-By using the color wheel helps you find colors for easy mixing. The color wheel shows the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, and how to make them.

2- Pure colors are colors that have not been mixed with black or white. You can mix primary colors to make secondary colors.

3- The paint takes 3 days to semi-dry and becomes un-adjustable, so you should use this period to fix any errors in coloring or remove any color that may be inappropriate.

5- When there is some paint left, you can use it in your next painting, just put it in small packages or cover it with cellophane paper while it is on the coloring pallet.

If you want to know more about oil painting, make sure to take a tour of our blog to find interesting information and useful hints.

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