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Learn Oil Painting Lessons - Learn This First!

Before you learn how to paint, you could learn how to draw. Dependin on your technique, or genre, good drawing-ability might be needful.

Or you can begin your painting "from scratch" by painting a sketch, on your canvas, with paint, instead of drawing it with charcoal, pencil, pen, or whatnot.

You can sketch the outlines, of your subject, on your canvas, or you can, instead, block in the main blocks of color, and of light, without any regard for outline whatsoever.

The latter is an approach, to oil painting, that may give to you a unique style of creating. Or the same "outline-less" sketch could be done, even after you learn to draw, because you like that technique better, than you like the line-sketch way.

Art lesson plans, for you to learn painting techniques, are as varied as the number of folks, or institutions, who offer to you art lessons in oil.

Some may teach you to stretch a canvas, before you learn to paint well upon it. Others may put the art of canvas-stretching at the end of the course.

The style of paintings, that you wish to paint, will cause a variance in your lesson plans. For example, if you desire to paint outsider art, or primitive art, your lesson plans will dramatically differ from those that will guide you in learning photorealism. Just an example.

Oil painting is generally considered to be a fine art, more often than a pop art. Oil paintings, with the right materials and preparation, can last a long, long time. Thus, your oil paintings, that you produce, can be marketed as an heirloom investment to your market.




Learn Oil Painting Instructions Tutorial

1 Get Your Oil Paint

How to Paint (8) Mind your aim. What kinds of painting and art do you hope to make? Do you need much time to work on just one work, or do you hope to fulfill works in just one sitting?

Have you a big spot for your workin? Does clean air come in freely, while dirty air freely quits the spot? Is your spot small and close, so as to hold fumes? What is your budget for supplies?


Oil Paints dry slowly, but there is stuff that you can buy from the arts store to make them to dry faster. They seem to be dry within 3 days, but it takes 3 months for them to become fully dry.

They are thick, but can be thinned even to the consistency of water colors.

Many singular ways of painting can be done with oil painting.

Cadmium is in some of the pigments, and is a poison that can be accumulated by touchin the painter's skin. Oil paints if breathed too much without free movement of air in the paintin spot cause scathe to the breather.

The color of oil paints is richer than is the color of other paints. The color when dry is the same as you saw it when it was wet. That is good for you.

Get Good Paint -- Pick a brand. With cheaper paints you might use more strokes to get the same quality of color whereafter you seek. The costlier paint may have in it more of the pigment, you see, so that your end cost might be the same, or even less with the costlier paint.

Get Your Other Supplies

Pick Your Brushes -- Pay heed to the shape of the bundle of bristles. Said shape might be round, flat, or filbert. In the round bundle, the bundle is a cylinder, with a point at the end. The filbert's bristles are laid flat, and shapen to a point.

Image of Mink

We don't use anything plastic nor synthetic, when we can work with natural stuff. That is one, of several reasons, why we do oil paintings. Bristles thus can be of the hairs of the sable, the mink, the swine, or the squirrel.

Get Your Canvas -- You can get canvas that has been stretched for you. You can stretch your own, if that is how you see your job as a painter/

I used to stretch my own, but now buy forestretched canvas. It was a matter of pride and ego. I don't really like doing it, so now I am more honest with myself. There is no need to overdo it.


Canvas Boards -- Canvas stretched over a stiff card. These are good for inexperienced painters and students. Canvas boards are good for beginners to practice on, when you know that the final painting will not look professionally.

Gallery-wrapped canvas can be painted on the edge, and does not need to be framed.

Get Your Other Supplies



Smock, apron, or old shirt/top

Pallette knife

Solvents, gels

Exacto knife or other razor knife



How to Mix Colors

Get to know the Wheel of Colors.

Primary colors are those that cannot be made by mixing of other colors. They are red, blue, and yellow. See on the wheel they are equally spaced apart.

Image of Color Wheel

A secondary color is made by mixing like sums of 2 primary colors. These are green, purple, and orange. Find them between the colors that make them.

For instance orange is made from red plus yellow, so that orange is midway between those two colors on the wheel.


Purple = blue + red

Green = yellow + blue

Orange = yellow + red

Kinds come when you add unlike sums of each color to the other. For instance, more red added to blue makes marooon, burgundy, or royal purple.

To mix a primary color with a secondary color you will have a tertiary color, in between the primary and secondary colors in the wheel of colors.

More kinds of colors

Tint -- When you add white to a color, it becomes a tint of that color. When you mix your colors, add the color to the white, not the white to the color, or else you might end up wasting paint. If you lighten red or orange by adding white it might shift toward blue.

To avoid the shifting toward blue, you can add a small bit of orange to red or red to orange.

Shade -- When you add black to a color, it becomes a shade of that color. It is easier to add a small bit of black to your color, rather than to add your color to the black. Begin tinily and add and mix bit by bit. Darkening a color by adding black can make some colors to shift toward the greenish or bluish bit of the spectrum. These would be the reds, yellows, and oranges, so shifted.

An other way to darken a color is to add the color that is opposite to it on the wheel of colors, so long as the opposite color is darker than the first one. Insodoing the mixer will not get a shifting of the first hue.

Tone -- When you add grey to a color, it becomes a tone of that color.

Grey = black + white



Create different tones. If a color is too bright for your liking, mix the color's opposite into it to dull the vibrancy. Doing this is changing your hue (true color) into a tone; you're toning the color down. A color's opposite is the one directly across from it on the color wheel. For example, the opposite of red is green, yellow is violet, and blue is orange

Learning the Elements of painting techniques (15)

Understand the use of lines. The most basic type of line used in art is a contour line; this is the line drawn to outline an object. Some painters include contour lines around their subject, while others only use patches of color to show shapes. Determine whether or not or intend to use very obvious lines (such as contour lines) in your painting or not.

Learn how to build up shapes. Every object that can be painted is a culmination of several shapes put together. The biggest issue beginner painters have is trying to see one subject as a single shape, rather than a layering of many shapes. Instead of focusing on drying the outline of a figure, consider it as multiple shapes that can be connected.

Understand value. Value is what color your figure is when converted to the gray scale; how light or dark a certain color is. Value is important when mixing paints, as colors can be deceptive when mixing unless thought of in terms of lightness and darkness. Realize that most paintings will only contain a value range in the bottom third (mostly light colors), the middle section (mid grays/medium tones), or in the top third (mostly dark colors) of a gray scale. [6]

  • Unless there is heavy contrast, the values in your painting should all be similar to each other.

Use your space effectively. Because you're working on a flat surface, you need to create the illusion of distance through the use of space. To maintain a flat surface, keep objects the same size and spaced out. To create depth, overlap shapes and make things further away smaller while things close to the viewer should be larger

Learn how to create texture. For things to look touchable in your painting, you need to create the illusion of texture. Texture is created by using different brush strokes and moving the paint in different ways on the canvas. Short, quick brush strokes will add fur-like texture while long, flowing brush strokes will make things look softer and longer. You can physically build up the paint on the canvas to create texture as well.

Learn Oil Painting Tips

Pallettes -- Some painters use paper plates, others disposable plastic lids, for their pallettes. These needn't be cleaned after a session, but cast away.

art gallery (5),

Whites and Blues -- Keep linseed's oil out of your whites and your blues. It tends to go to yellow. Poppy's oil instead. It more slowly comes to dryness.

Pale Colors -- Use Poppy's oil, it won't go to yellow. It comes dryness more slowly.

Don't dry your oil paintings in the dark. This may cause a thin film of oil to rise to the surface, yellowing it. (This can be removed by exposure to bright daylight.)

Use linseed oil for an underpainting or in the bottom layers of any oil painting done wet-on-dry as it dries the most thoroughly of all the oils used as mediums.

If, as the paint on your palette dries it forms a lot of wrinkles, too much oil (medium) has been added.

Pigments containing lead, cobalt, and manganese accelerate drying. They can be mixed with other colours to speed up drying and are ideal for under layers. (Student-quality paints usually contain cheaper alternatives to these pigments, generally labelled hues.)

Remember that you can paint with oils without using solvents, using brush pressure to spread the paint out thinly, only oil as a medium and to rinse your brush.

Avoid using Ivory Black for an underpainting or sketching as it dries much slower than other oil paints.

If you want to clean away a layer of oil paint or oil varnish, use alcohol, which is a powerful solvent.

The proportion of oil medium (not turps thinner) should be increased for each subsequent layer in an oil painting known as painting 'fat over lean' because the lower layers absorb oil from the layers on top of them. If the upper layers dry faster than the lower ones, they can crack.

If you're not sure whether a bottle of mineral or white spirits is suitable for oil painting, put a tiny quantity on a piece of paper and let it evaporate. If it evaporates without leaving any residue, stain, or smell, it should be fine.

Always lay your oil paints out on your palette in the same order so that, with time, you'll be able to pick up a bit of a colour instinctively.




Learn Oil Painting Instructions Video

This is bit 1 of several lessons.

If you click on the YouTube logo on the screen above,

then you'll be able to see the next bits of the lessons

in the right-hand's column.



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