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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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…

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Reconnect with Your Passion

The loss of an artist and teacher from childhood has caused me to reflect upon not only her life and work, but also those lessons that she taught me. The myriad distractions of daily life, from the constant need to earn money for survival to the many mundane chores and tasks required to keep it…

Self-portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci, red chalk drawing, 1510-1515.

A Simple Productivity Tip from Da Vinci

Ever wondered where Da Vinci found the time to create all his masterpieces? Alongside his fine art painting he managed to dabble as a scientist, geologist, architect, mathematician, engineer, and anatomist with a bit of aeronautical design thrown in for good measure! So how can we adopt a little bit of Da Vinci in our…

Portrait of Ginevra di Benci by Leonardo da Vinci,1474-1476, oil painting on wood, 16.5 x 14.5.

Painting Portraits with Personality, Mood, and Character

Portrait of Ginevra di Benci by Leonardo da Vinci, 1474-1476, oil painting on wood, 16.5 x 14.5. I’ve described the most important technical parts of my study of Da Vinci: line and anatomy. When I began to study how to paint, I opted not to follow his methods, so I haven’t got anything to share…

Camille au métier by Claude Monet, 1875, oil painting.

He Was Rejected Over and Over

Camille au métier by Claude Monet, 1875, oil painting. “My rejection at the Salon brought an end to my hesitation [to settle in Paris] since after this failure I can no longer claim to cope… alas, that fatal rejection has virtually taken the bread out of my mouth.” – Claude Monet It is hard to…

The Sulphur Match by Sargent, oil painting.

Painting Through Thick and Thin

There is an enormous amount of information out there on the various methods for applying oil paint to canvas, but it seems to boil down to three schools of thought: thin painting, thick painting, or a combination of the two. The Thins, Thicks and Combiners each have their own icons and avid school of followers.…

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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…