Oil painting has been a tradition of artists for centuries. It’s ability to produce quality, versatile, and colorful works will always increase its popularity compared to other certain mediums. Getting into oil painting is relatively easy, but there are a lot of small details that go into the works compared to acrylics and other styles of paint.
Here are our basic tips on how to get started with oil paint.
Organize Your Space
When working with oil paints, you need to be in a clean and well-ventilated area. Oil paints are a long process, and your ideal location will be somewhere where you can keep your palettes and supplies out and at the ready in your studio. Having your paintings out and on display where you don’t have to put them away also gives you the chance to think about your work even if you aren’t painting.
Prime Your Surface
No matter what type of surface you wish to complete your oil painting on it’s important to first put down primer. The primer for oil paints is called Gesso. Gesso stops oils from seeping into the different surfaces of what you’re trying to paint. It also has the bonus of protecting your chosen surface from the acids within the paint and provides a base coat that allows your oils to stick effortlessly. If you don’t wish to Gesso your surfaces yourself, pre-primed boards are an option for you to purchase.
Start With A Sketch
Much like any other painting, you’ll want to start with a sketch of what you’re doing. This is often referred to as an underpainting. Turpentine is added to the paint to dry quickly to help the artist lay out the composition and values of the piece.
Keep Your Brushes Clean
When moving between colors in your oil paints clean your brushes with soap and water. Oil painting is a very messy process. Having rags at the ready to wipe off paint from your brushes will come in handy. Consider having two containers at your painting desk available. One can be for turpentine while the other is used to mix with your paint.
Keep It Clean
Many new oil painters seem to forget that oil pants are a toxic substance if they are absorbed into the skin. It’s also not a good idea to paint within a non-ventilated area. Dispose of paints, rags, and palettes properly after use.