Oil Painting Tips

Painting with oils is a favorite among artists, both in history and the modern era.

There’s something about the versatility of these paints and the different techniques used that create such beautifully unique pieces and truly allow one’s self-expression to shine through.

Whether you’re just starting out with oils or are working to hone your skills, here are some tips to help you before you take on your next canvas.

1. Get to know your color temperatures

It’s not just about the color you’re seeing in front of you; it’s about how all of the colors interact with one another. And that starts with color temperature and families.

Get to know your warm colors and your cool colors and work to understand how they come together on the canvas.

child holding an oil paint palette and brush

2. Keep your palette consistent

This is mainly for beginners, but it’s a good tip for the expert oil painters, as well.

If you keep your palette layout consistent, you will eventually grow to know exactly where the colors are without thinking about it.

This will help you to be quick with your colors and transitions!

3. Paint the same subject multiple times

It may sound redundant (because it technically is) but focusing on the same subject again and again will help you work on your technique.

Seeing how your skills are progressing through each painting will help you focus on the areas you may need to work on.

But not only will you be able to practice your technique, you’ll be able to explore your creative abilities.

4. Create texture by dry brushing

If you’re looking to add texture to your oil painting, you can employ a technique called dry brushing.

Take your brush and gently drag it over the areas of your canvas you would like to texturize, allowing already applied paint to peel off.

5. Don’t dry your painting in the dark

When a painting is set to dry in the, oil can often rise to the surface creating a thin film over your artwork.

This layer could cause your painting to yellow, which will completely alter the vision you were going for.

6. Paint in an open (and well-ventilated) space

tubes of colorful oil paints and brushesOil paints are super fun to work with, but also can be dangerous in the wrong environment.

Certain mediums can be very pungent and emit fumes that cause dizziness and fainting. We don’t know about you, but we’re not trying to pass out in art class.

Be sure to paint in a well-ventilated area, and if you don’t have one available, then acrylics may be a happy alternative for you.

Also note: certain mediums can also be flammable, so be sure you’re properly handling your supplies and disposing of materials in a safe manner.

7. Dress for safety

Different pigments in the oils could potentially hold chemicals that are easily absorbed through your skin.

Latex gloves and long sleeves should become a staple in your artistic wardrobe.

8. Have rags at the ready

Oil painting can get messy, so it’s best to have some old rags on hand so that you’re not caking extra paint on your apron (that’s most likely already covered in paint).

Rags also come in handy for cleaning your brushes!

9. Take an oil painting class

With a full range of styles and techniques, sometimes it’s best to take to the art studio and work with instructors that can guide you through the oil painting process.

At Hunakai Studio, we do just that. Our team of artists and instructors work to help you learn more about your artistic skill as well as your own self-expression.

Give us a call at 508-543-5665 today to learn more about our oil painting classes!