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Quick and Easy Oil Painting Techniques for Beginners

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Oil Painting Techniques You Can Try Today

By Courtney Jordan, Online Editor

What’s exciting about exploring oil painting techniques is that your learning can be so immediate! When I took my first oil painting lessons, I remember leaving class feeling like I had just swallowed an encyclopedia. That is how easy it was to learn oil painting—from where to start with color mixing and understanding pigment strength to brushwork and more!

That’s why I am so eager to share a few oil painting tips that you can learn and practice right now, which will not only introduce you to a few essential oil painting basics, but you will also be able to use these approaches as building blocks for further and more advanced painting forays.

 Learn oil painting techniques from the experts with this amazing list of resources

Learn Oil Painting Techniques for Tinting Strength

Knowing how to use oil paints starts with discovering the tinting strength of each color on your oil painting palette. For example, Prussian blue and alizarin crimson have very strong tinting strengths—just a small amount of either color added to white makes a vivid tint. On the other hand, terre verte and raw umber have weaker tinting strength and turn pale when mixed with just a little bit of white. A beginner oil painting lesson you can teach yourself right now is adding the same amount of white to each color on your palette to see how each pigment is affected.

How to Use Oil Paints with Impasto Effects

Building up the surface of a painting with thick and loose applications of paint is one of my favorite oil painting techniques, and it is known as impasto. First, there is just such a sensual pleasure in moving the buttery paint around in this way. And the fact that you can also leave behind the marks made with your brush makes the activity an expressive one and one of the most valuable abstract oil painting techniques worth exploring. To practice with impasto, you will want to keep the paint thick enough to stand on its own though many artists will add a little medium so it is slightly more workable. And then you just get in there, applying the paint with a brush (flat brushes are ideal as they hold a lot of paint) or painting knife, and being sure to paint with purpose. What I mean is use impasto to good effect, whether by applying it to visually contrast with smoother areas of your paint or use it on a whole oil painting for a three-dimensional quality.

Top Oil Painting Lessons, Tips and Techniques on Blending

You might think that blending is one of the easiest oil painting techniques to employ, and it is in that you can practice it starting right now on just about any figure, landscape, or object you paint. But there are specific oil painting lessons on how to blend that are key if you want to know how to use oil paints like a master.

Blending at its most basic simply involves learning how to oil paint by brushing and rebrushing the areas where two different colors meet, so that they seem to merge together seamlessly. But you can also blend by stroking one color over the edge of the next—the brushstrokes are obvious but the blended area is still created. You can also, as a final step in an oil painting, trace a brush over the entire surface of a painting or concentrating in the areas where you want to knock down the visible brushstrokes so that no trace of the brush’s path are visible.

It’s my hope that you will use these oil painting techniques and materials' information to further explore painting in a way that lets you really discover your creative self and understand who you are as a painter more and more. Enjoy!

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Courtney Jordan is the Online Editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.