Oil paintings use pigments where oil act as binders. Usage of different oils gives a different finish to the final product. The pigments used in oil painting are brighter than those in any other medium. Many of the masterpieces in history have been realised in oil paints.
Oil Painting Basics
First of all we must know that oil paints take longer than any other paints to dry. They do not mix in water. They require a primed surface. Whereas watercolours, gauche and acrylics usually dry in a few hours. They are water based and are water soluble. They do not require a primed surface. You can use inner portion of a half tennis ball to clean your brush instead of your hand for better cleaning and care. You should always dry your brushes after cleaning. Different kinds of palettes can be used as per your convenience. Different types of cleaning detergents can be used. Thinners and solvents can be used to dissolve paint or clean the brushes. Mediums are used to either slow down or fasten the drying period for the pigment. There are many mediums for e.g. linseed oil, walnut oil, stand oil, liquin, etc. You can work on any surface with oil paints as long as it is primed. As oil paints have lots of chemicals and may be hazardous to you, so make sure that the room in which you paint has proper ventilation. Disposal of oil paint residue and the clothes with which you clean the mess should be done with care as oil paints may have some chemicals which are hazardous. For more tips, please watch this video.
We first of all go through the basics of oil painting. We take a canvass board mounted on a base. Use a thin base of paint to start with. Some aquamarine and light shades will do. First of all isolate the big shape and make an outline of them. So that you are able to make a rough idea of how your image will take shape. This is how you start with the base coat for an oil painting. You can use an image for a reference like this man in the video or you can use your imagination. To have a better understanding of the base coat, watch this video tutorial.
Gamsol is a good solvent for almost all the working environments, galkyd is a very good medium. Galkyd improves the flow of paint. Now we are going to try out fat over lean technique that is we are going to apply more oil with every layer we apply. We are using a canvass, and a glass palette. We are going to use gamsol and a little bit of galkyd for the first layer. The first layer is used to form the main outlines of the art work. Use neutral colours, as they go well with almost every colour. Try to use less colour in the base layer. So that it does not muddle with the further layers of our painting. Proceeding with the fat over lean technique, we will add more galkyd for the layer2 in the existing medium. Now we will mix this medium with the paint on our palette. As this layer has more oil, it will take longer to dry. The number of layers depend on the label of details required. Now for the third layer the medium is going to be galkyd in majority and very gamsol. The third layer is all about details, colour corrections and self satisfaction. Only start with the third layer once the second layer has completely dried. For better understanding, watch this video.
Now let us work with the palette knife. Make a rough sketch of your art work. Paint with a paper towel towel dipped in a neutral colour dipped in turpentine. Use a palette knife to put on colour. Spread the colour with the help of paper towel. Create another layer only after the first one has dried. The horizontal and vertical strokes all have different effects. If the movement is course it has a different effect whereas more pressure gives rise to finer and smoother finish to the strokes. In this technique you need to be careful while choosing the colours and spreading them. Different shades can easily give rise to shade and brightness in this technique. Spread the colours at particular angles to give a specified view. You may look up the art work of this man for better understanding:
We all know practice makes a man perfect. Oil painting is very much specified to this cause. We need to practice a lot to master this art form. So take out your canvass and palettes and start painting in oil. Hope you have an enriching and beautiful experience with oil.