Learn Oil Painting – Basics of Paint Selection

When painting with oil polyurea, it is wise to learn the different aspects of oil based paints. Oil paints dry quite slowly and therefore it is very easy to correct errors, or change the direction of your painting.

Transparent paints are see through paints and are often used for rain, bursts of sunlight, mist, or anything else that requires a light, transparent appearance.

Opaque paints are not see through at all and are used when a more vibrant color and finish are desired. Most of the base elements of the painting will be painted with opaque paints.

Semi-Transparent paints are a cross between Transparent and Opaque Paints. Semi Transparent paint is normally used to tone down a color or for subtle highlights. The way in which you use these different paint finishes will change as your skill and experience improves.

It is very common to mix Linseed oil with your oil paints. Doing so makes the paint more manageable and helps to extend the color. When you mix the Linseed oil to your paint, your paint is then referred to as “long paint”. When paint is used directly out of the tube, it is referred to as “short paint”.

It is worth mentioning the board on which you will dispurse your paint from the tube is called the “palette”. If you are mixing in the Linseed oil to your paint, this also will be done on the palette. The palette is also where you can mix various colors of oil paint to achieve desired textures and colors.

The canvas of course, is where you will paint your painting. The canvas needs to have a “base coat” of paint applied before you can start the painting. This cuts down on glare from the material that the canvas is made of. As stated earlier, oil based paint dries very slowly. This is why many artists choose to apply an acrylic paint as their base coat. Acrylic paint dries much faster. This is fine as one can then apply the oil paint over the basecoat of acrylic without any issues. Usually three to four light coats of a base acrylic paint will do the job. This also helps to add texture to your painting.

The base coat is applied with a large brush that is referred to as a “wash brush”. The most common colors used for the base coat are ochre, raw umber, burnt umber. Apply evenly in light coats and allow to thoroughly dry in between coats.

Always buy professional grade paints for your projects. I prefer the Windsor and Newton brand of paints. There are a couple of other respected brands on the market as well. You can find them under the Old Holland and Michael Harding brands. I purchase most of my supplies at Dick Blick and find that they always have the best selection of inventory available for my needs.

Of course if you are buying the best paints, then it only makes sense to apply them with top paint brushes. You will find additional painting tips at my website, including tips on selecting the proper brushes for your projects.

When I chose to learn oil painting, I added an entirely new dimension to my life. If you have some patience, and a willingness to learn, I am positive that you will enjoy painting as well. Painting is not just a hobby, it can be a major part of your life and who you are as a person.

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