Oil Painting refers to the process of painting in which the color pigments are held together through drying oil. The properties of oil paint differ with the kind of oil used and hence determines the intensity of the color or the time it will take to dry off. The characteristics of the paint also differ with different oils and are distinctly visible in the gloss of the paint. Different kind of oils imparts different pigmentation and effects which can be efficiently used while painting. The uniformity of the color is also dependent on the type of oil used.
Photo by Patrick Emerson, CC BY-ND 2.0
Oil painting can appear intimidating if compared to acrylic paints or watercolors but once you get to know the methods and ways to improve the efficiency, you will cherish the mystique characteristics of oil painting. The frictionless gloss, luminescent enamel and the vigorous chromatic colors cannot be obtained with anything except oil paints. The time required to dry off the oil paint can be efficiently used to provide affects through textures or fine detailing which can be used magnificently in portrait paintings. The points discussed below will introduce you to the basics of oil paintings before you get started.
1. Versatility of Colors -Oil paints provide a large spectrum of distinctive colors as the pigment used in oil paints is synthetic which has a broad range of colors compared to the natural pigment. The affluent, smooth and radiant effect of the oil paints helps them to fuse efficiently which provides room for detailing by mixing and shading various hues to produce the desired effect. The ornamental appearance of the paintings which also retains the profound sense is due the versatility of these paints.
2. Preparing the Surface - Preparing the surface before applying any kind of oil paint is very crucial as without the required preparation the oil paint will get absorbed and will not retain on the surface which can spoil your painting drastically. The conventional preparation of the surface (canvas or a wood board) includes painting of the surface with a mixture of chalk, gypsum, pigment and binder. The mixture of the following will restrain the oil paint from getting absorbed on the surface. While applying the mixture on the surface make sure you are using a roller as it can cover a large surface area which will provide an even surface for painting.
3. Utilize The Drying Time - Oils Paints can take ample amount of time to dry off which provides flexibility to your painting. You don't have to worry about completing your painting and moreover you can leave for a while in between in your painting without worrying that the paint will dry off. You can start experimenting by mixing different colors and you can also mould the paint in any which way you want to create the desired effect. You can also mend and cover up your mistakes easily and efficiently with oil pains because once the paint dries off it is almost impossible to make any changes. Make sure you are extra careful while altering the mistakes and use a dry cotton cloth to wipe off the extra paint if required.
4. Costly Medium - Oil paints are a costly medium to depict your imagination and creativity as they are more versatile and can retain themselves more efficiently. They are conventionally expensive than the usual watercolors or acrylics and are available in several grades. For example a student grade will cost less and are less efficient where as the artist grade oil paints are costly but are outstandingly efficient to work with and provide intense characteristics. Although oil paints are more efficient but it does not mean that every oil painting will be a magnificent piece of art.
5. Precautions - Oil paints have toxic elements and can be hazardous at times. Make sure that you always inquire properly before purchasing any oil paint. Non-toxic oil paints are also available but they don't reflect the conventional characteristics of a typical oil paint. Ingesting of inhaling the paint can also be very dangerous and make sure the paint makes no contact with your skin. Use oil paints in a very well ventilated or airy room and make sure you do not eat, smoke or drink while painting.
Oil paints are the best way to shape and mold your imagination and illustrate it on the canvas. Using oil paints can be a bit tedious as there are several preparations and precautions that you need to keep in mind. Once you develop a flow and coherence with oil paints you can unleash the artist inside you. The points discussed above will give you a brief idea about the things and precautions you need to know before getting started with the painting.