I love painting, but up until recently, acrylics have been the only paint type I have used. I was recently given some oil paints. I’ve always loved the look of oils, but was hesitant to try them because I thought it would be too hard. The oils I was given are water-based, meaning I don’t need turpentine to clean them up, which made it easier for me give them a shot. I’m glad I did! I love painting with oils now. They are very different than acrylics, but there are techniques and traits associated with them that I like a lot and help me achieve a different look than I would with acrylics.
I did this still life of an SNES controller and cartridge to practice painting a little more loosely, with more of an impressionist vibe.
I am by no means an expert in oil or painting in general, but learn along with me with some tips and a demo (and some gorgeous paintings) below.
When I paint with acrylics, I hardly ever draw a sketch onto the canvas first. I just freehand my paintings (particulary landscapes). Doing this with oils is not so easy because they dry very slowly and if you make a mistake, you either have to blend it in or wait for the layer to dry. A better method is to start from a sketch in pencil or paint thinned with turpentine or a painting medium. You can then begin blocking in the basic forms and shadows for the darkest areas of the painting, then moving to medium tones, and then to lights.
Notice the dramatic contrast in this awesome Assassin’s Creed painting. It is easy to see where the lights and darks go in this painting (but I’m sure it was not easy to paint and took a lot of time! There is a lot of wonderful detail going on.)
Oil paint needs to be applied in thick, buttery strokes. It is best not to press the end of the brush against the canvas but rather hold it parallel, which is better for creating thicker paint. You don’t need to create peaks or anything – unless you want a lot of texture – but enough of a layer so it is easy to blend with other shades and the canvas doesn’t show through.
You can clearly see the thick strokes of red used at the bottom of this cool Silent Hill painting.
Oil paint can also be rubbed out with a cloth and a bit of turpentine for lighter areas, like clouds, or scraped through with the back of a brush or palette knife to create grasses or tree trunk texture.
Many styles can be achieved with oils. It lends itself well to impressionistic painting with its emphasis on light and overall visual effect, rather than details, such as this painting of well-loved paperbacks.
Realism and fine detail can be portrayed as well, but is probably achieved best by letting each layer dry thoroughly before starting again, rather than painting wet-on-wet. I can’t believe these beautiful, detailed paintings.
I know tomatoes aren’t necessarily geeky but I couldn’t get over the photographic quality of this painting!
Scroll down for more amazing art and a little demo.
The other day I sat outside while my son played and painted an ACEO of a couple of my vintage bottles. I took photos at several stages of the painting as a demonstration.
Here is my subject matter, sitting on an old chair.
I made a quick sketch/underpainting of the bottles using thinned blue paint.
Here is the painting with the background and darkest parts blocked in. I decided to do the painting in blue and violet tones. The background has strokes of both colors, with visible brush marks for interest.
In this picture I’ve added the medium tones. After that I added the lightest blue/violet colors, painted the cap on the smallest bottle, and painted some pure white highlights. This is the finished painting below. It took about an hour to paint.
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