Oil paints are extremely versatile. They can be used thickly or extremely thinly; they can be opaque or transparent. They are very popular because they dry slow and enable you to work with the paint for quite a while after you’ve applied it to a canvas or board. Once the paint has dried, it can be over-painted without disturbing the original paint. I found some tips for beginners trying oil painting and also some tips on buying the right supplies. It’s really easy to waste your money when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. Let me know if you think this was helpful!
1. Always lay your oil paints out on your palette in the same order so that, with time, you’ll be able to pick up a bit of a color instinctively.
2. The proportion of oil should be increased for each subsequent layer in oil painting—known as painting ‘fat or lean’—because the lower layers absorb oil from the layers on top of them. If the upper layers dry faster than the lower ones, they can crack.
3. Avoid using Ivory Black for an under-painting or sketching as it dries much slower than other oil paints.
4. Pigments containing lead, cobalt and manganese accelerate drying. They can be mixed with other colors to speed up drying and are ideal for under layers.
5. Use linseed oil for an under-painting or in the bottom layers of any oil painting done wet-on-dry as it dries the most thoroughly of all the oils used as mediums.
6. Avoid using linseed oil as a medium in whites and blues as it has a marked tendency to yellow, which is most notable with light colors. Poppy oil is recommended for light colors as it has the least tendency to yellow (although it does dry slower).
7. Don’t dry your oil paintings in the dark. This may cause a thin film of oil to rise to the surface, yellowing it. (But this can be removed by exposure to bright daylight).
8. If, as the paint on your palette dries it forms a lot of wrinkles, too much oil has been added.
9. If you’re not sure whether a bottle of mineral or white spirits is suitable for oil painting, put a tiny quantity on a piece of paper and let it evaporate. If it evaporates without leaving any residue, stain, or smell, it should be fine.
10. If you want to clean away a layer of oil paint or oil varnish, use alcohol, which is a powerful solvent.
Now even writing this that is a lot of information but if it is all too confusing you can always ask someone who works at an art store or someone you know that paints with oils. They might even have contrary tips. Now here are some tips about buying oil painting supplies.
1. Primers for Oil Paint
Canvas and board must be primed before being used for oil paints. Oil primers must be put over a coat of size. Primers made for acrylic paints can be used for oil paintings as well, and these dry quickly and do not require any sizing underneath. If you’re painting on paper, put down at least one layer of acrylic primer (if you don’t, the oil paint will eventually destroy the paper).
2. Brushes for Oil Painting
Stiff hog-hair brushes are ideal for thick paint. Cheap hog brushes work as well as the more expensive ones; they just don’t last as long. Use soft sable brushes, or the cheaper synthetic alternatives, for washes where you don’t want brush marks to show. Try brushes with both long and short handles and different head shapes to see which you prefer.
3. Mediums for Oil Painting
Mediums are used to dilute color, increase gloss and transparency, reduce drying time, and avoid over thinning. You can buy ready-mixed mediums or use various forms of linseed oil. Read the description on the bottle to see exactly what a medium does. For very thin washes, mix medium with thinners, otherwise there may not be enough oil to bind the pigment.
4. Thinners or Solvents for Oil Paints
Thinners are used to dilute oil paint and to clean your brushes and palette. The most traditional solvent is turpentine, which maintains the oiliness of oil paint. Adding white or mineral spirits to oil paints makes watery mixture. Look for low-odor solvents and always use a well-ventilated room. Solvents sold in hardware stores are not artist’s quality and can cause yellowing. Always buy from an art supplier.
5. Oil Paints
Obviously the first thing you need for our oil painting supplies is some paint. Traditional oil paint comes in tubes. Rather buy quality primary colors and perhaps secondary color than a range of cheap paints. Some manufacturers produce faster drying oils in tubes, water-mixable oils in tubes and pans (blocks), and oil bars (paint in stick form, not oil pastels).
You should start out with what you think you will be most comfortable with but keep in mind these tips when you go to the store and make sure you ask whoever is working for help, they will know what you need to start out with also. Hope this is helpful!