6 Oil Painting Tips For Beginners


Oil Painting Tips

Over the centuries, artists have preferred oil a medium for their masterpieces. And, even today, there is no other painting medium as magnificent, versatile, and enriching as oil. However, to master it, you will require a whole new level of dedication and continuous practice. So, if you are a beginner in the genre, these oil painting tips are meant just for you! 

Oil Painting Tips For Better Learning

I have compiled a list of oil painting tips to help beginners understand the use of oil as a medium and ensure that they do not make some common mistakes. However, if you are to learn oil painting truly, you will need more than a few tips. It is best to get yourself a tutor or follow the painting techniques shown by various artists online. Remember, there is nothing like hands-on practice. Your experience will turn you into an exceptional artist. 

Oil Painting Tips For Beginners
Oil Painting Tips For Beginners

Maintain Chronology With Paint Consistency

There are two golden rules when painting with oil – always paint thick over thin, and fat over lean. What I mean by thick paint is more oil and substance, and of course, thin means less oil and substance. Similarly, lean means more solvent and less oil medium, while fat means more oil and less solvent. The primary reason is the same. The lower layer needs to dry faster than the top layer; else the paint layers will crack. While painting wet-on-wet, that is, painting without allowing the lower layer to dry, you need to follow the fat over lean process. It is best to start with thin paint and then keep adding a thicker layer over it at any point in time. This will allow you to correct any mistakes as well. 

Prime Your Canvas

Unless you are buying prepared canvas from the store, you need to start by applying enough gesso coating. Once the coating is in place, create a base layer. It is best to go with a shade that goes halfway. My personal choice is something close to the burnt sienna or raw umber. This will set a neutral tone and will ensure that there remains no part of white canvas visible. Also, it sets you on with the painting. 

Limit Your Palette 

Having a palette full of various colors is not a sign of mastery, but the opposite. Most famous painters rely heavily on primary shades. You can create almost all types of color effects using them. Here’s a reference – cadmium red medium, yellow ochre, ivory black, and white. It’s known as the Zorn palette, named after Anders Zorn, who is known to use this palette. 

Oil Painting Tips With Primary Colors
Oil Painting Tips With Primary Colors

Learn About Brushes And Knife

All types of brushes and knives have their individual roles in painting. Learn them! It is best to start with a broad brush and then use finer brushes at the later stage. Similarly, your knife can be used to mix colors, as well as apply them in a distinct pattern on the canvas. Each will give a special look and feel to your painting. 

Balance Scraping And Blending 

You need not always add more color. Learn to use the process of scraping paints to create effects as well. It is also used to sign the painting once complete. On the other hand, blending is the process of softening the edges of various objects to mix them with the backdrop. While it has a beautiful effect, don’t overuse it! 

Learning oil painting takes quite some time. Patience is important. Learn from the techniques employed by renowned artists and recreate their works to gain better control and understanding. 

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