The fact that oil paintings carry a whiff of charisma and mystique around them is undisputable.  The pure colors, creamy consistency, detailed texture and distinct scent of these paintings make them popular amongst artists, as well as art lovers. That is why most art galleries promote their oil paintings for sale as their most prized collection.

Oil paints can be used to paint almost any genre and any style. All this makes oils the most prestigious and one of the most sought after medium to paint. Working with oil paints can be quite challenging. More so, for beginners. But, with a thorough knowledge of basic technique, even an amateur can create masterpieces. Whether you want to paint a quick alla prima or create an extensive and expressive underpainting followed by glazing, here are some basic pointers that will help you guide and stride into the mysterious world of oil paints.

Getting Started

It is often said that if an artist does not have sound knowledge and strong foundation, he will face trouble creating his work of art. Therefore, before you set out to experiment with oil paintings, it becomes essential that you sort out colors, brushes and other apparatuses that you will require while painting.

For beginners, it is advisable to start with having basic colors in their collections of oil paints. The basic colors includes: yellow, red, crimson, blue, white and black. Since you will require white color for mixing, you will run out it the fastest; therefore, you can consider buying a large tube of white paint. Having the right kind of tools empowers an artist. So, choose your paint brushes carefully. All you require to start painting is few good quality basic paintbrushes. Other than paints and brushes, you will also require painting palette, palette knife, canvas board/stretched canvas, white spirits/turpentine, blending medium like linseed oil or walnut oil, old rags and pots for cleaning brushes. You may also want to buy an easel/drafting desk, apron, drop cloth and specialized box for storing/carrying your goods; however, these things are optional.

Setting up a work area and assessing your work

Once you have sorted out your paint supplies and other apparatuses, the next step is setting up your work area. For this, you will require a large dedicated area, where you can set up your frame or table. After having frame and canvas ready, it is the time to paint. Start with creating a rough sketch of your subject. You can draw directly onto the canvas or onto a butter paper and then, transfer it on canvas. Create dark patches for shadows and highlight the area where light falls. This will make the painting realistic. Once you are done with sketching and highlighting, consider the effect you want to create and choose colors accordingly. When it comes to painting, you can experiment with oil painting techniques. From blending to glazing or from stippling to using palette knife to create textures and movement, there are various ways to paint and perfect your painting; however, learning and employing the all at the same time can be overwhelming for a beginner. That is why it is recommended that as a beginner, you should pick up one of these techniques and focus on it. Whether you paint an entire section first or block out the area with your subject and paint the surroundings later, the choice is entirely yours. If you are putting layers of paint, then it is advisable that you follow ‘thick-on-thin’ approach. It usually takes three days to dry a coat of oil paint. Therefore, if you will go from thin-to-thick, it will speed up the drying process and also minimize the chances of cracking.

Finishing Your Work

Oil paints take about three days to dry. This gives you the time to mend your mistakes or take off the entire section with a damp cloth. Once you are done with mending your mistakes, let the painting to dry completely. Depending on the thickness of coat, oil paints usually take 3 to 6 months to dry completely. After ensuring that your painting is dry, add a top coat of varnish to protect the painting and its colors. Once the varnish dries up, your painting is ready. You can either hang the beautiful creation in your home or offer your oil painting for sale.