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Basics of Oil Painting You Ought to Know

Ujwal Deshmukh
Learning the basics of oil painting properly is necessary to learn this art easily and quickly.
Although drawing and painting are great art forms, oil painting, being a small part, is quite easy to understand and simple to do! It dwells on the use of oil paints in order to enhance the aesthetic appearance of the picture. Many people strongly believe that artists are born and not made.
We partially agree to this belief. Of course, a few are fortunate enough to be god gifted with this art and therefore, they do not actually require any sort of formal training to learn the basics. They have a sense of understanding towards all the basics and some time later, towards the advanced aspects.
However, then here my question is, what about people who are interested in painting and drawing, but do not possess any inbuilt qualities in them? What should such people do? What we strongly believe is, learning the basics of any art, be it oil painting, sketching, drawing, etc., certainly gives you a head start to pursue your hobby and create wonders!
So, why not learn some basics through this discussion and get ready to create something new?


Oil painting is not just taking the paint brush in your hand and simply putting some strokes on the canvas! It is actually a disciplined art, and you need to know some basics clearly.

★ Understand the Picture and the Art

Well, understanding the art might be an overused term, as understanding any kind of art is certainly within the scope of a few words. This is because, it might take an entire life to understand and identify the depth of an art!
However, let us say, understand the basics of this art! A picture, in any kind of painting, is made of different components, which constitute its structure, appearance, and technical aspects.
● Structure: To start with oil painting, firstly, you need to understand the composition/structure of the picture.
How are you going to design the picture? What will be the position of various objects in your picture? How will your picture attract the common viewers? What is that something special that you are going to include in your picture? Many such questions come into picture here and they have to be planned accordingly.
● Appearance and Color: Giving a three dimensional look to your picture is one of the most challenging tasks while improving its appearance. You need to apply different shading techniques, so as to make the picture look authentic.
In oil painting, coloring forms the most important part. It is the color that would decide the final look of your picture. Incorporating different colors into each other, is significant when it comes to enhance the beauty of the picture.

★ Which Oil Paint to Choose?

Remember, you are a beginner and therefore you need not spend a lot of money on buying expensive oil paints. You can find many good quality, yet cheap ones, which are specially meant for new entrants in this field.
Oil painting requires the application of different layers of oil paint on the picture, the first layers might take some time to dry. Therefore, the use of acrylic paint for the first layer is generally more preferable for quick drying.

★ Selecting the Right Tool

By tool, we are referring to the brush. They are available in two types, soft and hard. Each one of it is used for a different purpose. A soft brush is used to give finer finishing touches, whilst hard ones are used for long strokes.
Brushes of sizes 1 - 10 are ideal for beginners. Oil paint colors tend to accumulate in the bristles of brush, therefore it is necessary that you clean it regularly. There are brush cleaners and conditioning agents available to help you in the cleaning activity.

★ Using Paint Reasonably

You can utilize less amount of oil paint, yet get the desired look! Use oil paints reasonably, when it comes to using the same set for a longer time. This would lower your oil paint purchase costs! But, how to do it? Well, the best technique is to dilute the paint, with the help of turpentine, spirit, poppy seed oil, etc., and then apply it to the picture.
The effects of oil painting can be best seen when you do it on a primed canvas. This is another important thing to be remembered. After learning the basics, you can move on to learn more techniques from a qualified artist. Good luck!