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It is such a rich medium and in many ways, the most malleable. An experienced oil painter can achieve almost any effect desired, from the thinnest wash to the heaviest impasto.
Most of the advice given for acrylic painting applies to oil painting as well. Select your colours carefully and persevere with them until you are comfortable with their qualities. Try to include some transparent pigments even from the start so as to enable you to play with washes. Try copying small, simple works or parts of larger paintings that you like.
Mix colours only two at a time.
It is easiest to start the painting with thinner paint or washes and then to build up the paint as the painting progresses. Avoid the temptation to use too much white. Work in a well ventilated area. Odour free solvents do not imply toxin free.Have one container with solvent (turps) for washing the brushes (after wiping the bulk of the paint onto a rag or tissue). Use another smaller container with either a solvent or an oil medium (or a mixture of both) to thin the paint and alter its drying rate.
Don’t worry about making a wet-in-wet mess. For every mess you make, you will also trip over a beautiful accident and leave it in your painting. After very few paintings, the “wet-in-wet stress” will vanish and you will realize that you can lay paint from a loaded brush neatly over a drying underlying wash. You will learn that if you go over and over areas, they will mix into mud. It’s just a matter of perseverance. Brush mileage!
Oils don’t dry to a darker colour. They remain the colour you apply them. Some may dry less glossy. For those who prefer to allow one layer to dry completely, there are mediums (liquin, liquol) which shorten the drying time and enable most artists to tackle separate layers only hours apart (depending on the thickness of the paint). The use of stand oil or linseed oil will do the opposite, and slow the paint’s drying.
Worried about cleaning up? Don’t be. Just wash your brushes in a solvent and later in warm soapy water or brush cleaner. Wash your hands not with turps but by using any cheap oil, such as baby oil or vegetable oil (it dissolves the paint). Wipe the oily mess off your hands onto tissues or rags then wash the film of oil off your hands with soap and water. Hey presto, you have clean moisturized hands!
For more information and inspiration, you can visit Manny’s art blog, or talk to one of our friendly team at our store or by phone or email. Look over our great range of how-to books. Attend our twice monthly FREE in-store art demonstrations. Search our Art Classes page, since it’s an online noticeboard of available classes; the Online Art Classes will surprise you! Go to our links and look for assistance, information or guidance from our suppliers, manufacturers and friends.