Oil-Based Painting

If you’re looking into starting a new hobby or you want to start painting again, oil-based painting is a beautiful art form practiced by many. Oil-based painting is one of my favorite art forms, and with a few basic tips you can enjoy it too. Before you get started, let’s learn a little bit more about it.


Oil-based paints can be made with one of two primary ingredients: alkyd or linseed oils (also known as synthetic or natural oils). Because alkyd paint is more affordable and more durable, it is used more often than linseed oils. However, it takes longer to dry. It also requires turpentine or paint thinner for cleanup.


Before you start painting with oil-based paints, there are a few things you need to consider. First is that, because oil-based painting is known for taking a long time to dry, you need to make sure you reserve yourself a good chunk of time if you are painting. While other paints may only take 4 hours to dry, oil-based paints may take up to 8 hours. This may seem like a downfall, but all that drying time makes for a smooth finish and level brush strokes. It’s especially great when painting a canvas, because you can paint wet on wet. This allows you more control and time to fix mistakes. The colors are also more vibrant, and they will not change when they dry. It’s a versatile medium, and the texture can be what you want it to be. You can also layer the paint as much as you want for various effects.


Be sure you’re working in a well-ventilated space, and that you are using oil-painting specific paintbrushes. You don’t want to use brushes that you’d use for other types of painting. When you’re painting a canvas, make sure you prime the area. Colors will appear darker on a white canvas. Some people tone their canvases before they begin painting.


If you’re nervous to start painting, make sure you have an organized space, and start with a small painting and only a few colors. Start with a monochrome palette to get a feel for the paint and how it looks on the canvas. Be sure you clean your brushes between each color and remember the paint order. You can control the thickness of your paint with the amount of medium you mix with your paint. Painting slow-drying layers over quick-drying layers will ensure your painting doesn’t crack.


Some think of oil-based painting a dying art form due to heavier reliance on water-based paints. However, many consider it a pure form of painting because it’s what many famous painters used, as acrylics weren’t invented until much more recently.

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