Oil Painting Techniques: A Beginner's Guide

Técnicas de Pintura a Óleo: Guia para Iniciantes

The Technique of Oil Painting

Oil painting is a fascinating technique due to its ease of application and its impact throughout the History of Art. With a long narrative, this technique became extremely admired from the mid-15th century onwards by Flemish and Dutch artists, due to its versatility in terms of consistency, texture, shine, the possibility of being combined with other oils and still because of the drying time. Many were the artists who created true masterpieces, such as the Mona Lisa (1503-1506) by Leonardo Da Vinci, Guernica (1937) by Pablo Picasso, The Birth of Venus (1483) – Sandro Botticelli, among others. Interested in oil painting? Learn in this article how to create your own work of art.

Mona Lisa by Leonardo DaVinci | P55 Magazine | P55 - The Platform of Art

Mona Lisa (1503-1506) by Leonardo Da Vinci

How to create oil paint?

If you want to learn how to create your own oil paint you need to:

  • Pigment powder
  • Linseed oil
  • two spatulas
  • flat glass cup

Oil painting, step by step:

  1. The first step is to place the powdered pigment on a hard surface such as glass or marble, placing it in a small mound with a hole in the center, ie in the shape of a volcano.
  2. In the center, pour a little linseed oil and mix it with the spatula. It is important to add small amounts of oil depending on the size of the mass.
  3. To make the mixture homogeneous, crush the pigment well. This will prevent the formation of lumps. This is a simple yet constant process. You'll quickly get your oil-pigment mixture perfectly integrated.
  4. Don't forget that each pigment reacts differently, so take notes on your experiments to get the best formula.

Oil Painting | P55 Magazine | P55 - The Platform of Art

What materials do I need to start painting with oil?

To paint with oil you need:

  • brushes of different sizes and shapes;
  • Oil paints;
  • Screen;
  • Palette;
  • Thinners and oils.

The choice of brush type, be it quality, material or format, directly influences the look and final features of your painting. Oil brushes have long handles but there are different types depending on the artist's convenience. To start with, three or four good quality flat, round and flat-oval brushes (or filbert, flat brushes with oval tips) are sufficient. With regard to paints, it's best initially to buy medium sized oil tubes with the primary colors (yellow, magenta and blue), white and earth natural eyeshadow - for the eyeshadows (pure black is not necessary at first because it doesn't mix well with the other colors). This will help you get used to the technique and familiarize yourself with possible combinations and textures. With time and practice, you can invest and expand your palette with other colors that are interesting and more practical for you. Pigments should be mixed on a palette, meaning a wide surface that is easy to clean and light in color. Oil palettes are easy to find in stores, however if you don't want to buy, you can use large plates, tiles or even a wooden board.

Regarding supports, there are many different ones for oil painting, from canvas, leaves or wood. The key is to make sure that the surface you are going to use is well prepared for oil painting. For beginners we recommend a prepared canvas that you can easily find in an art supply store.

One of the secrets of oil painting is the use of thinners. When using this correctly, you will be able to obtain the desired effects, such as a shinier or matte paint job, in addition to other needs such as making drying faster or slower. However, if you use it wrongly, it can jeopardize the quality of your work.

Oil Painting | P55 Magazine | P55 - The Platform of Art

How to start painting in oil?

  1. Start by producing a drawing in a notebook for ideas to flourish. Then develop this sketch on canvas.
  2. In the palette, put lots of each color and leave the center for the mixtures. Don't forget to clean your brushes between mixes. When using the palette again, rearrange the paints in the same order.
  3. Discover the various oil painting techniques for your creativity to grow and develop.

For beginners, we recommend starting by painting the background and dark tones. This will give you a sense of volume and depth. Ink drying can take a long time, so be careful with the space where it is stored. Positively, due to the delay in drying it is possible to carry out the necessary changes easily. Don't forget that when you finish your painting, you have to leave it in a safe place and only then apply the varnish, at least one month later, so that the paints don't lose their transparency. This technique gives wings to your creativity, observation and tranquility. Discover several works with the oil technique on the P55 that can inspire you.


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