A Beginners Guide To Oil Painting

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A Beginners Guide To Oil Painting

The basics on what sort of oil painting materials you will need by portrait artist Anna Bregman.CANVASSESThere are three different types of canvas you can paint on in oilsFirstly the traditional 'stretched' canvas. Here the cotton or linen is pulled taut over a wooden frame called a Stretcher which is usually between half and two inches thick. If you buy a frame like this check that it is pulled nice and tight and doesn't sag in the middle. Daler-Rowney, Loxley and Windsor And Newton canvasses are all good brands. The second option is 'canvas board'. This is canvas fabric stuck to a strong cardboard base which is only a few millimetres thick. This is a good idea if you are going to get your painting framed.The third option is 'canvas paper' which is a strong paper pre-primed and imprinted with a texture that looks like the weave of a canvas. It shouldn't warp or buckle when painted on, and is ideal for practicing if you don't want to waste an expensive canvas on what you are currently painting. So- these are your choices! You can view all three of these canvas options here: www.annabregmanportraits.co.uk/oil-portraits(1885156).htm.The only other choice you'll have to make, apart from size, is whether you want a cotton or linen canvas. Linen canvasses have a finer weave than cotton and therefore are smoother to work on. If you prefer a coarser texture to encourage a looser style then go for a cotton canvas. Make sure you are buying a pre-primed canvas, which will be white, and not a natural linen canvas, which will be light brown. Canvasses must be sized using a special glue before having oil paint applied or the paint will rot the fibres. With pre-primed canvasses this will have already been done for you.PAINTI'd recommend Windsor And Newton's Artist Oil Colour range of paints. They are in the more expensive range but are nice and stiff - the problem you will find with cheaper oil paints is that they are mixed with too much oil and are rather thin and slippery. Rowney's Georgian range and Windsor And Newton's Winton range - really a low price option for students - fall into this category. HOW TO DILUTE YOUR PAINTTo dilute your paint, choose either Artists' turpentine or Artists' mineral spirits, both available from art shops. Don't buy either from a DIY store - these are unrefined products which will slow the drying time of your oils and leave chemical residues. As well as diluting your paint with spirits, use a few drops of oil to keep the paint bound together. A traditional favourite is Linseed Oil. If you'd like to speed up your drying times, use Drying Linseed Oil, or Drying Poppy Oil (this is better for whites and pale colours as it's a paler colour), or try Windsor And Newton's Liquin which is a petroleum based medium which speeds drying times without yellowing. Remember that these oils will give your painting a glossier finish, so use them sparingly.

GOLDEN RULES FOR APPLYING OIL PAINTYou'll probably want to apply your paint in at least two layers, and maybe many more. The first layers will take the longest to dry - with subsequent layers the oils in the paint are absorbed by the lower layers and dry faster. Apply blocked in colour first and work in more and more detail in subsequent layers. You can see an example of this here: www.annabregmanportraits.co.uk/oil-portraits(1885156).htm. The golden rule for oil painting layers is 'fat over thin'. In other words, keep your lower layers thinner and apply thicker ones (if you want to) over them and not the other way around which would cause moisture in the lower, slower drying layers to be trapped by thinner, faster drying layers above them. As the lower layers continue to dry they contract, disturbing the paint in the layers above and causing them to crack. BRUSHES For oil paint, you'll need hog hair brushes. Softer brushes will quickly spoil when used with oil paint. The cheaper brands are OK, they may just be a little stiffer and the hairs may fall out rather faster.HOW TO WASH YOUR BRUSHESTo rinse your brushes in between colours or at the end of the day, you can use cheap White Spirit from a DIY store. You can also use detergent (washing-up liquid) to wash oil paint off your hands.WHAT TO MIX YOUR PAINT ONInstead of buying a wooden palette, make life easier and buy a tear-off disposable palette of waxed paper! Make sure you mix your colours using a palette knife - using your brushes will quickly ruin them. VARNISHINGIf you are considering varnishing an oil painting, you must first wait for 6 months! Oil paint will be touch-dry after a few weeks but it dries as a process of oxidization and isn't considered to be completely dry for decades, before all chemical changes have taken place. After 6 months it is OK to apply a layer of varnish but before that, trapped moisture can cause the paint to rot in the long term.

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