Painting Pictures In Oils: Why Make This Your Choice?

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Some artists work in all kinds of different media from oil to chalk. Some work in one or two media while others tended to use only one. From the viewpoint of someone considering getting into painting, I would suggest trying oils first.

Why Oils For Beginners?
Why? Well, at one level that is just my biased opinion. I really like oils and think this is the best medium for painting. For those just beginning to paint there is a special advantage. Oil paints are often referred to as "forgiving". What that means is that mistakes can be relatively easy to rectify.

Correcting mistakes
That can be done in two ways, or at two stages. If you apply something to a picture you are creating and then realised that, say, the colour or tone or even the shape is wrong, it is easy to change it. Use (genuine not substitute) turpentine and will be offending area. The oil painting will remove quite easily. If the offending area is quite small, try using the turpentine on a cotton bud, so that the area being treated is more easily restricted and the surrounding area unaffected. (It is always well worth keeping a box of cotton buds to hand for various uses).

Secondly, it may be that the painting in oils has been finished and allowed to dry. Then you decide that something is not quite right and needs to be changed. Always be careful with the surface of the support in these cases, especially if it is canvas.

Board of one kind or another is generally easier to deal with, and in these cases one might try scraping some of the paint off with a suitable knife, and especially if the pain has been applied fairly quickly. Also try using sandpaper (albeit not to course) and gently rubbing the offending area. It will usually also be possible to use turpentine to get rid of the pain. One often does not need to remove it all because the new paint to be applied will cover it up especially if it is of the opaque rather than transferring time. You will know if it is the latter because it's covering power is much weaker. If so, makes an opaque colour with it, if possible, such as Titanium White.

Considerable dissatisfaction can arise when you have spent time and effort on a painting and realise something is not right but be unable to alter it. That can be largely avoided with oil paints.

Conversely, there is much satisfaction of completing a painting you are pleased with, and there is much enjoyment simply in using oil paints. And that can vary. One approach consists of laying on thick layers, perhaps to represent sea on rocks as at Rough Seas Staithes
This is called in “impasto”. This is an 18th-century term from Italy derived from "impastare" meaning to apply paint thickly so that the brush or palette knife marks can be seen. This can be to varying degrees of thickness and there are some mediums which are specially made to bulk out the paint. This can really give elements a 3-D effect. For many artists the potential for impasto work is a major attraction of oil paints and has been used by many great painters of the past, not least the great (some would say unsurpassed) English artist J M W Turner of the 19th century.

The opposite kind of approach is using subtle layers of thin transparent paint in what is called "glazing". An example of this approach can be seen in the painting " Conwy Estuary At Sunset" at Glazing can be used in different ways but, for example, instead of using orange, one can get a much greater translucent effect by laying down a of thin coat of yellow and, when dry, putting a thin transparent coat of red on top.

The possibilities are endless, the satisfaction inexhaustible.


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