Getting Started With The Basic Of Oil Painting

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Oil painting is one of the most beautiful forms of artistic expression. It is also a very popular hobby for those seeking relaxation, precision, and something fun to do.

When it comes down to it, it does not matter how diligent you may be in precise control of each brush stroke-the outcome is going to be affected by the surface of the painting. The texture of the surface is a major determinant in control of the paint, and clarity of the finished product.

Clarity is also a function of the distance between the viewer and the piece of art. There is a point of diminishing returns, but in general, the greater the distance the more likely the viewer will perceive the intended objective of the artist.

In this way, the viewer actually fills in details that do not exist in the painting itself. A rough textured painting surface, in this instance, can actually be used to enhance the artist’s intended outcome.

This completely goes against the methods employed by the ‘Old Masters’ who used an extremely smooth painting surface so as to negate any interference of the painting surface on the intended outcome.

Even in our modern pieces of painted art, any artist attempting to do a lifelike portrait will first prepare the surface to a glass-like finish. However, this style has evolved over time, allowing the viewer to observe the actual strokes of the brush.

It is this lighting and the use of short, imprecise strokes that can produce an impression of a landscape, or a person. Much of the history of oil painting can become a confusing morass of oil painting nonsense.

If you wish to get started in this venture yourself, you need to understand and master the basics. You do not have to decide what school of thought should direct your painting.

Consider your personal point of view, and allow yourself to create from this stand point. Give yourself plenty of time to learn, through trial and error.

Most beginners simply want to reproduce in a painting something from their environment. This is a good place to start.

The only thing you need to consider is the level of clarity you want to achieve in your painting. For optimal clarity, use a very smooth painting surface, or canvas.

Clarity can also be achieved by recreating your own piece. If you start with a precise sketch of the subject matter, you will increase your chances of achieving your goal.

Begin by sketching with a pencil. This is a good way to start, though it will not achieve the lighting and brush strokes you want.

Let your first attempt with oils be the sketch; then on a new surface re-do the painting. Do not keep applying paint over paint-this will obscure clarity.

If clarity is not something you are seeking, then by all means slap on the paint in as many layers as you see fit. One way to achieve an impression of a landscape (such as tree leaves and grass) is to use a fan brush, painting wet on wet.

It is easy to do once you understand how to hold the brush and apply the color. Do not let the brush linger.

Use quick snaps both on and off with the tip of your instrument. Avoid changing the angle as you go.

About the worst place for a beginner to start painting is on canvas. Most of what you are likely to purchase will be a low grade canvas with a rough surface, having a pre-primed coating of Gesso.

The pre-prime is not enough to give you a smooth surface, and applying Gesso is an art form in itself. Purchase a clear sheet of acrylic or Plexiglas from a hardware store.

You do not need to apply any Gesso to the surface, but you must prepare the back of the panel with at least two light coats. Then, spray paint with an oil based primer to eliminate transparency.

What you need to do is sand the acrylic sheet with one hundred and twenty grit sandpaper. Using an orbital sander makes this very easy and painless.

The purpose of the sanding is to enhance the mechanical adhesion of the oil-based paint to the acrylic panel. Now that you know how the basics work, you can get started with your creation.

Tommy Greene is an art salesman. He has been selling for more then 15 years. He recommends Greg Olsen Artist for high quality art pieces.

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Tommy Greene

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