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.

Portrait by Shen

Paint Famous Faces

Many people have asked me, why do I paint famous faces? Well, this morning I was enlightened.  As I sat staring at the face and caressing the countenance of my precious little 6 year old while sleeping, it all made sense. We love to gaze into the face of that person whom we love.  Yes,…

Yellow Roses in a Vase, date unknown, Victoria Dubourg Fantin-Latour floral painting

Working Among Flowers

“[The floral still life] is, I think, an excellent subject to paint.”                                                                             – Claude Monet to Frédéric Bazille Among the many wonderful works in the exhibition, Working Among Flowers – Floral Still Life Painting in Nineteenth-Century France, were paintings by one of our favorite artists, Henri Fantin-Latour (1836 – 1904). The show includes…


Why Are Brush Sizes as Confusing as a Currency Converter?

How does brush sizing work and where do you start? Have you every ordered some new brushes online, feeling pretty confident they’ll be the perfect size for your latest oil on canvas creation? After all you spent all afternoon researching them. Only to then be bitterly disappointed when the painting supplies arrive? Choosing painting supplies…


Be Kind — Starting with Yourself

As an artist, it’s good to know how to critique yourself and your painting techniques — and that’s the key element: HOW to critique yourself. Stride into that studio of yours and take control of analyzing and critiquing your own work. Cadence by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art. This type of “critique” when…


How Artists Use Facial Expressions to Lure Us into Their Worlds

They say when infants (or young children) fall down, they look up to their mother or father, to see how she or he reacts. More often than not, a parent will have an anxious and frightened facial expression–"Oh no, my baby is hurt!"–which, in turn, causes the child to cry. Yet, if the parent is…


Toning Your Canvas

A few weeks ago I had a studio session with Lea Colie Wight, a great painter who had a really lovely tone to her oil painting surface that many of us loved and wanted to know more about. I wanted to share that info with you! Canvas Toning Process The tone of the oil painting…


Do It Yourself — Building Your Own Stretcher Bar Frames

In the first article of this series, Creating Your Own Stretched Canvases, I introduced you to a video overview of the process by fine artist Steve Henderson, who has been creating and building his own stretched canvases for years, with a strong eye on quality and craftsmanship. Oil Paintings are created to last, and no…


Doubt of a Shadow

Oil Painting Elements–The Shadow Shadows are very important in defining the form of any object, but they are often the least understood and most difficult element to master in painting. Most importantly, shadows must have transparency, or light in them, to be effective. Going by the old rule, "warm light casts cool shadows; cool light…


Building a Career for the Long Term

My painting, Fate, was given an honor award at the 2011 Portrait Society of America International Competition. For the Portrait Society of America Conference in Atlanta a couple of years ago, I was invited to participate in a panel on Professionalism, Leadership, and Service. I was asked to speak to “Building a Career for the…