Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oil Painting Lesson

Oil paint is made with pigments (or the thing that give the paint its color)  and a drying oil such as linseed oil.  Linseed oil comes from the flax plant and is also known as flax seed oil.

Oil paint can be applied to canvas (heavy cotton or linen fabric), wood or wood panels, masonite or hardboard, paper or card as well as many other surfaces.

The surface on which the paint is applied should be sized or sealed (especially for canvas surfaces) and primed so that the oil paint does not peel off when dry.  

Rabbit skin glue is a traditional size for an oil painting canvas surface.  It can be bought in powder form and then mixed with water and boiled to make a gelatinous glue which is then applied to the canvas.

Several coats of gesso (a paint primer) are then applied to the surface.

Oil paint can be applied in various ways.  A few examples are:
  • Impasto (thick, textured paint)
  • Glaze (a thin application of oil paint that has been mixed with linseed oil and turpentine, or other glazing mediums)
  • Scumble (paint applied using a dryish brush that is gently applied and picks up the surface texture of the canvas or board)

Activity 1:

1. Use the primary colors of red, yellow and blue to create other colors such as green, purple and orange by mixing the primary colors together.
2.  Try to create brown and black and other inventive colors by mixing the colors on your palette.

Activity 2:

1. Set up a still-life of objects with bright colors and place them on bright paper or fabric.
2. Paint a picture that focuses on just the colors.  Look carefully at the colors around the objects and paint them in.  See how colors appear brighter or duller when various colors are painted next to them (i.e orange next to green make each one look brighter).

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