Dating back centuries, oil paintings are one of the oldest forms of art known to man. However, it wasn’t until the fifteenth century when artist Jan Van Eyck from Netherlands rediscovered the art when he used oil painting techniques in his wood work. Since then, oil painting has been the most widely used medium of painting across the globe, playing a huge part in the High Renaissance period.
The bright vibrant colors and the reality factor it adds to a painting because of its thick base makes oil painting all the more appealing.
Most artists, when taking up painting on canvases look more towards oil painting. However, as simple as it may seem, there are just a few tricks you might want to add up your sleeve before you begin.
Here are a few tips:
- Use Underpainting:
The most difficult aspect of oil painting is the mixing of colors; whenever you overlay a color with another, they end up intermixing. It gets frustrating to wait for a day, often more, for the bottom layer to dry only to resume painting.
To overcome this solution, get rid of the old titanium white paints and replace them with a new agent called the “fast-drying white” which is basically used as underpainting white. This ‘fast-drying white,’ as the name suggests, dries much faster and allows for the over layering picture to be painted without the fear of the colors mixing.
Click here to see oil paintings by Suzi Nassif.
- Achieve thinner lines:
Another hurdle that emerging artists usually face in oil painting is during the detailing when thinner lines are required to be painted. Most of the oil paints which are vegetable oil based become difficult to dilute and when they are wet on the canvas, it’s next to impossible drawing a thin line then.
One trick is to use a PVC card and tapping it into the canvas; you can easily draw a thin line. Acrylics can be of great help, too. They work well over oil paints once the oil paint has dried. Acrylics are easier to handle and control, thus, details can be readily added using acrylics.
- Tone your Canvas:
To better portray your oil painting, it is vital to tone your canvas with an under-painting with little specs of paint. This not only covers the entire canvas but also makes the actual image more prominent on the upper layer. Painting over white paint or a white background makes the colors too bright and even makes it difficult to sense the real image.
It is, thus, preferred that the canvas is toned according to the image being painted with a cool or a warm color that goes with the painting to fill the canvas entirely and give a better looking image.
- Bring out a Three-dimensional Look:
There is no limit on the saturation of oil paints or even acrylics; thicker pastes can be used in order to bring out a three-dimensional look with the images emerging out of the canvas with a thick foundation.
It is vital to start with thin dilute paint in the background and then shift to thicker paint as you move to the foreground, giving the painting a complete three-dimensional look.
- Create Texture:
The ‘dry brush’ technique can be used to bring your images to life by forming different textures and context to the painting.
A dry brush can be applied over a complete painting on the aspects, for example: leaves or branches of a tree, that need to be given textures or be highlighted. With just a few strokes, let the paint peel off which would give beautiful textures with respect to the under-painting.
There are no hard and fast rules for art; it is the artist’s imagination that brings out the best of paintings. Experience with as many colors and with their diluteness, different strokes, and different brushes; and you will form your own techniques one day.