View Full Version : Traditional Oil Painting

06-08-2006, 09:39 PM
Hey everyone,here is my second oil painting. Not a matte, but I think its a nice change to show some traditional art once in a while. Dylan, if your out there, do you have any pointers for me with the oil paintings? I have seen your paintings on your site, and they are fantastic. Anyone else have experience to share on oil paintings?


06-08-2006, 09:59 PM
I have some really bad experience with oil paintings, but as far as I can tell the palette on this is quite good, though the actual idea is a little on the bland side. It is good for practice and study though.

06-08-2006, 11:31 PM
Years and years. Heres a couple.
Start lean and work to fat, and dark to light. That means start off with watery turpsy paint shove all your darks in (you can cover the whole canvas) this will dry fairly quickly, while its wet its good to grab a rag and wipe away the lighter tones so you end up with a nice value under painting. This is the way the old masters used to paint and you can get a great feel of shape like this, with the lights emerging from the darks The real dark bits will remain as they are untill the end. The mid tones are done thicker and the lightest are the thickest or fattest right at the end.
Oils blend really well so you can use a fast drying medium and put in a nice smooth blend and then go over it after to scuff up parts.
For really sharp edges use masking tape to mask off areas. But here is the real tip. Get a bottle of Liquin or fast dry medium and paint it thinly on the edge you are going to paint. Let it dry. This way the oil cant get under the tape and leave burry marks. When you rip off the tape do it when the paint is dry and do it carefully.

06-09-2006, 12:22 AM
best advice I can give is to just continue painting from life as often as you can. try to limit yourself to a big brush as long as possible (especially while layout out the primary shapes and values). continue to squint to simplify the details when judging values. also keep developing your painting as a whole, all color and values are relative to the rest of the canvas so developing the whole canvas consistently is the easiest way to judge and refine you work.

Theres a good article about Sargent's painting techniques on craig mullins' site.

06-09-2006, 05:58 AM
Thanks so much guys :) I really appriciate the feedback.

Speculart - My professor says the same thing, I will try that a little more on my next piece(sucks because we can't use turp in the studio on rainy days). This started to be a study of Sarah Plimack Mangold's work, but turned into my own creation. A somewhat creepy dull fall/winter transition period, kinda reminds me of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven". My photo doesn't show off the color as well as it is in person. But still I agree it is a bit bland lol. It's hard to do the underpaintings because #1 No turp (instead I have to use painters medium) and it doesn't work as well as the turp. I know I need to not be afraid and wipe away more. I love the idea of the masking tape. Would you say to do that before or after the Underwash? By doing this I assume you get a somewhat smooth surface with no paint mixing, except the paint you lay down correct?

bcottman - Thanks for the advice, I can't wait until the rain goes away, this is killing our outside time... I use a big brush a lot kinda bob ross style, Mostly nothing less than a 1 inch brush except for the details I use my lil 00 or 01 round sable. I totally forgot about Craig Mullins site with the Sargent Article.... I actually think I have it saved somewhere.

Thanks so much all, anyone else? This learning stuff is so much fun :D

06-09-2006, 08:23 AM
Hi Kyle,

I think everyone has been offering you good tips. Oils take a lifetime to master. I have actually only done a few oils myself, I mainly used to paint in acrylic because I like their fast drying time. I sort of developed my technique based on a lot of quick layers, so that was kind of tedious when I tried oils. I really want to give them another shot sometime. Sadly, it has been several years since I picked up a brush. Good job in your efforts and keep it up. It is really about mileage, the more you paint, the better you get.

06-09-2006, 10:23 AM
You can buy odourless turps.
Mask anytime but must stick it on dry paint of course.
By doing this you can set up a masked off area on the painting that you can go mental in knowing you wont go over the lines, or you can do very accurate and smooth blends of colour with sharp edges. Its a technique that can be used with acrylics as well as watercolour. The hard edged abstract art of the 80s used this alot with acrylics.
Dylan is right, oils are a real pain to wait for to dry but you can mix up a medium using cobalt dryers that will dry quickly. i use Liquin almost solely as it flattens out brushstrokes and dries real quick. (overnight)
Also Dylan and Kyle a good way to work is to use acrylics or even water colours (strongly) as the underpainting and go in with oils afterwards this cuts down on all the waiting around at the start. Good for painting outdoors. You let alot of this underpainting show through in the dark areas which means you can keep those luminous dark washes.

06-09-2006, 11:08 AM
of course one of the biggest benefits of using oils is its slow drying time. it allows you much longer opportunity to deal with edges and blend colors of paint you've put down. working with a continually wet (or relatively wet) surface is more like revising a clay sculpture than it is adding paint layers. After a couple days drying you can begin to add paint in a layered way by scumbling (thinly applying opaque paint in a transluscent way.. lightening) or glazing (thinly applying transparent paint..multiplying)

06-09-2006, 11:24 PM
Very true about the mileage thing Dylan, I have noticed a progression from the first painting I did to this one here, things seem a bit easier, and my professor was thrilled.

He is new to the digital side of painting and I showed him the Matte Painting book by Balistic Books, he loved a lot of that stuff. I also let him check out my "Invisible Art" book so he could see where I wan to take paintings. He wants me to try and paint on plate glass just to understand the history of the way mattes were made. Of course when I am better that is...

Speculart - I would use the oderless turp (thats what I have, but they are not allowed in the classroom, no solvents of any kind sadly due to some regulations and laws now. Outside is fine, but in the studio I have to use freakin corn oil and soap n water.... I will try the masking tape technique as well, especially for my horizon lines, maybe after a good underwash or two. I somewhat enjoy the long dry times, because you can always come back to them and have the chance to work on 2 or more at a time.

I think for me I really enjoy oil paintings because they have soooo much volume in the paint. Looking at artists like Fredrick Church, Joseph Mallard Turner are two that came up recently in class that I got hooked on quickly. Turner did some amazing things with Underpaintings with lead white paint, I think I may do one or two this weekend and try to get something dramatic with a nice red/yellow sky, possibly. Ha, maybe a kool lil battle scene or something. Then again My mom had a few Bob Ross tapes I can borrow... That guy was crazy, but damn could he paint.

You guys are a big help. I will be sure to keep posting my progressions through the 3 week class and after as I continue my oils. A quick last minute question, are paintings ever done on glass anymore? I would almost assume not, has anyone ever done a matte on glass? Thanks so much once again for your help guys.