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.

Self portrait with pipe by Gustave Courbet.

Can You Name the First Realist?

Gustave Courbet: The Rebel of the Romantic Movement Learning the details of an artist’s life–the drama, the struggles, the mundane–can make their history and contributions to art really come alive. Gustave Courbet’s life fits that bill. I loved discovering all the details of how he was heralded as a rebel of the Romantic movement and is…

Van Gogh's Yellow

It is well known that the rise of Impressionism was due in part to the new developments in paint chemistry which created brighter, more stable colors previously unavailable for oil painting. View of Arles with Irises by Vincent van Gogh, oil painting. One of the artists who embraced and experimented with the new color technology…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…