HOW TO START OIL PAINTING: 6 Top Tips
Oil painting is one of the most revered, and possibly one of the most difficult mediums to try out for the first time - but it really doesn't have to be.
For those of you who are new to using oil paints, we've put together a beginner's "How To guide" to help you make those first vital steps - so read away, stock up on your oil paint essentials (all recommended by our art materials specialists) and start the art of oils today.
What you’ll need:
Our Top Oil Painting Pointers:
TIP #1: OIL AND WATER DON'T MIX
Perhaps the most important thing you need to know when starting to paint with oils, is that you can’t mix oil paint with water because they repel one another. So instead of painting with water you should use a solvent like Turpentine or Zest It. You should also clean your brushes with solvent - you'll find that water does nothing to budge the oil paint from your brushes - or your hands, for that matter!
TIP #2: VENTILATION IS A MUST!
Make sure you paint in a well ventilated area because the solvents you need to use will give off fumes – or at least open a window whilst you work.
TIP #3: ALWAYS SLOW OVER FAST
Always follow the “slow over fast rule” when oil painting. This means you must make sure the last layer of paint will dry quicker than the following layer, to prevent the paint from cracking and ruining your work.
TIP #4: MIX IT UP A LITTLE
Try mixing your oil paints with a palette knife instead of a brush; this will stop your brushes from clogging with paint and will also give you a cleaner application of colour.
TIP #5: USE THE RIGHT BRUSHES
Use hog or synthetic brushes specially designed for use with oil paint. They are durable so can withstand the use of solvents, and they are designed to lift the heaviness of oils. Learn how to clean your brushes properly to prolong their life with our guide to brush cleaning.
TIP #6: EXPLORE MEDIUMS
You can use a medium or oil to mix with your oil paint, to adapt the consistency, drying time and finish of your painting. Refined Linseed Oil and Liquin are great for beginners; the first slows down drying time, whilst the latter will speed it up. A great one for beginners is the Winsor & Newton Artists' Medium, because it's straightforward and multi-purpose; it improves the flow of the oil paint, slows down trying time and improves fine details, as well as drying without leaving a yellow tinge.