Busting the Myths of Oil Painting
Often I hear people say that they were told never to use black in their oil painting practice. Now I probably missed some vital education, but I am at a loss why anyone would say that. Some say it is because “there is no black in nature”, which makes little sense to me as I can see plenty around me and art and nature are not the same thing. Another reason might be because it is a difficult colour. Now there might be a point worth considering. Lets explore black a little bit.
So many oil painting myths are still going around. Do not use black, use a medium, oil paint is toxic; the list goes on and on. Here I try to demystify oil painting once and for all!
A question I hear very often is which brushes to get when you start out in oil painting. The number of different types of brushes is endless at any art supply store! There is bristle, synthetic or natural hair, there is round, filbert, bright or flat, long handles or short handles and the list goes on. In this blog post I try to suggest some starting points as well as my favourites.
Many artists work with or from photos. Many artist hate the thought and swear by painting from life only. Most artists probably do both. Some (beginning) artists do fall into the many pitfalls that working from photos brings. While there is plenty of advice on how to work from life, working from photos provides different problems and opens different possibilities. I have written about the endless creativity that working with photos can provide in an earlier blog post. Here I’d like to give my 12 top tips to keep in mind when you work with photos. I hope you will find it helpful.
My palette. Some artists can talk about the colours on their palette for hours. Many people ask me which colour I used for a certain area in a painting, a question I can rarely answer. I often mix colours so much I have no idea how the final colour on the painting came about. But the colours you start out with on your palette do vary enormously from artist to artist. In the olden days many artists were taught black was forbidden, others swore by using the palette of the old masters. I use what feels most convenient and natural to me.
Many people ask me how to get started in oil paints. I have written on this topic before as I was, like many, a bit scared of oil paints and its complexities at first. Turns out, oil painting is not as hard as it seems and it all comes down to just diving in. So what do you need?
Working with good quality paint does not make you paint better and become rich and famous, does it? But choosing the right paint does make a difference and can make your painting life much easier.
Visit any online art materials shop and the choice of oil painting brands is enormous. What are the differences between all these different paint brands? In the past I have tried quite a few but nowhere near all of them of course. I love trying out new stuff!
An oil painting should be done on canvas, right? Wrong. It can be painted on a whole host of supports and the choice can be baffling. What are the differences between types of canvas? What should a beginner use? What do you use?
A Hot Topic amongst many (beginning) oil painters is the toxicity of working with oils. Many people refer to the unpleasant smell of oil paints and so choose to stay away. Others do not like the idea of working with toxic materials for a variety of reasons.
Scared of Oils
A recent article in a main UK art magazine made me remember why I took so long to discover the joys and beauty of using oil paint. Although oil paint is one of the oldest and widely used art materials, many people will hesitate to use it, like me at the time, because of all the stories they hear about toxicity, strict rules, and the complex array of materials needed. For a long time I feared all these technical issues would spoil the joy of painting for me, and so stayed away from oils.
The World of Easels…
… is fairly small in the UK. For years I have been working on the easel my mother bought me when I was a teenager (thanks ma!). The Italian brand Mabef has proven its robustness as the easel (moved house and country, taken apart and put back together again many times) is still going strong. It is a fairly standard H-frame studio easel, the ones most artists who work in oils or pastel get. It is not mobile or very foldable but sturdy and long lasting.
I am so pleased that slowly the art world is changing and re-appreciating good old-fashioned skills like drawing and painting. Conceptualism is not everything and an idea can be brought in front of people’s minds so much better and more beautiful if it is presented with skill and creativity. So, slowly, artists are starting to learn to draw again and dive into old masters’ painting techniques. [continues below]
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Hi, welcome to my blog!
On this blog I write about my inspiration, exhibitions, painting techniques and much more.
So if you are an artist, collector or art history lover, do stay!
Find me on Social Media:
How to Care for your Oil Painting 8 Tips to keep your art work in good shape
In Defence of Working from Photos Read my hugely popular and slightly controversial blog post
The Top 10 Best Lace Paintings Who could paint lace to perfection?
Busting the Myths of Oil Painting: Supports From Canvas to linen to aluminium
Busting the Myths of Oil Painting: Toxicity in Oil Painting is oil painting really toxic?
A Treasure Trove in Nottinghamshire Welbeck Abbey and its secrets
The World of Easels My hunt for the perfect easel
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