Oil Painting Blog

Oil painting art dates as far back as the fifth century AD, but the practice didn’t reach its heyday until it came to Northern Europe in the 15th century. Oil paint, made by mixing pigments with a drying oil such as linseed oil, became the medium of choice for artists during the Renaissance, taking the place of egg tempera. Approaches to oil painting techniques include indirect painting, whereby successive layers of paint are added to build up a painting’s surface, as well as ‘wet into wet,’ which involves blending wet paint directly on the canvas and is closely associated with alla prima painting.

Here you will find all the best oil painting information to get you started or help you troubleshoot your paintings along the way if you are a more intermediate or advanced artist.

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The American Van Gogh

How to Paint Like Birger Sandzén We’ve written before about the unexpected sign at Exit 222 on Interstate 80 in Nebraska announcing the Robert Henri Museum on The Artist’s Road.  It turns out that the Robert Henri who learned how to paint in France, taught in New York and wrote the classic book The Art…

Haystacks in Giverny by Václav Radimsky, Impressionism oil painting, 1900.

A Forgotten Impressionist

What You Don’t Know about Impressionism Hundreds of artists frequented Giverny during the time that Monet maintained his studio and residence there during the height of Impressionism. Some were good friends with the famous Impressionist. Some were hoping to meet him and perhaps learn from and paint with him. Others were simply inspired by the…

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What’s Sfumato with You?

Each day, people from all over the globe travel to Paris to visit the most famous oil painting in the world, the Mona Lisa. Many are just curious, and want to see the real thing for themselves. Some admire the famous enigmatic smile, the perfect proportions and ideal composition of the piece. Still others seek…

Frances x 3 by Sargy Mann.

What Happens to an Aging Artist’s Eyes?

After a minor vision scare, we are reminded of the fragility of the eye – these complex organs that allow us to experience all the visual beauties of the world. And, we are reminded once again, never to take our precious vision for granted. But, like the rest of the body, the eye ages with…

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More Painting Methods I’d Steal From Julie Heffernan

Self-Portrait Sitting on the World by Julie Heffernan, 2008, 78 x 56, oil on canvas. I started with another post about Julie Heffernan’s out-of-the-box conceptual acuity and dynamic oil painting methods, but I just couldn’t stop there. Here are a few more ways of working that I’ve gleaned from studying her oil paintings. Still life—A…

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Should You Take a Workshop?

I deliberately entitled this post using a word that I have eliminated from my vocabulary: Should. Like sunrise to a new day, the right workshop can lead you to fresh new beginnings in your art pursuits. Awakening by Steve Henderson, 24 x 40, oil painting, also available as note cards. Too often we do things…

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Silver Bullets and Miracle Pills

Different people attend painting workshops with varying expectations, but the ones who get the most out of the experience are those who recognize that workshops are not: A workshop gives you the opportunity to start at one point in your artistic journey and walk through your own passage to the other side. Passage by Steve…

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Investing in Art

I love my Honda Fit. And while that may seem to have nothing to do with art, actually, it does. You see, I drive my Honda Fit everywhere and in the process of its being used it gets dusty, the tires see wear, the interior windows next to where my Toddler sits get coated with…

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Get Out of Your Comfort Zone! Um . . . Why?

“When someone tells you to ‘get out of your comfort zone,’ wait for it. It’s highly likely that they’re subtly or not-so-subtly nudging you into doing something that they know you don’t want to do, but they need done.” — Steve Henderson Just because we’re in our comfort zone as painting artists, doesn’t mean that we’re…

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How to Let Flashes of Inspiration Come

Swimming in the ocean of life, so to speak, it sometimes feels as though we must use every bit of energy to keep our heads above the waves. Over many years we have developed some techniques that help us to shed the heavy seaweed and barnacles of the daily thoughts that occupy our minds, and…

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Are We Wired for Beauty?

Flamenco by Ann Trusty, oil painting, 48 x 60. The science community is busy investigating the mechanisms and processes by which people are able to perceive the world around them and make visual sense of it. There are many basic questions still to be answered. For example, a six-year-old possesses the mundane ability to distinguish…

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Reflections on Creating an Artistic Body of Work

Inkhead, 2009, oil on canvas, 29 x 16. Dorothy, 2010, oil on canvas, 14 x 14. Anakin Padawan, 2009, oil on canvas, 44 x 28. I have blogged previously about preparing for my exhibit, “Myths and Individuals.” I worked on the paintings, and planned this show for almost three years, so needless to say, I…