Oil Painting Techniques

Why learn oil painting techniques? Isn't oil painting harder than watercolour? Isn't it more expensive? No and no! Oil painting is a versatile medium used in many styles, from realism to impressionist and abstract painting. It is favoured for landscape painting, portraiture and still life painting yet it is often regarded as a difficult method that takes years and years to master. Here's the good news. You don't need to master it. You only need to learn a few good techniques to create inspiring work. Start simply and after a fairly short period you will be using oil paint fluently.

Oil paint is easier to work with than acrylic or watercolour. It's long drying time means you can work with it on the canvas until you are satisfied with the result. It can be painted over or scraped off. It can be used transparently or laid down thickly. It is the most adaptable paint. There are options to make it an inexpensive hobby or go all the way with me and make money through your art. It's all in your hands.


Below you will find ten oil painting techniques. They are all easy to learn. I use these methods in my own work. Not all my paintings make use of all techniques at once. I may use three or four or less. It depends on the effect I need. Don't get hung up on that at this stage. Once you are familiar with oil paint things will click into place.

Here is an example of a painting completed using Blending, Glazing, Gradation and Underpainting. Four methods you will find in my free online art lessons. And remember, every tutorial on this site is a free tutorial.

#1 - Alla Prima

# 2 - Blending

#3 - Broken colour

#4 - Drybrush

#5 - Flat Wash

#6 - Glazing

#7 - Gradation

#8 - Impasto

#9 - Scumbling

#10 -Underpainting

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Do you have an oil painting technique to write about, a completed painting or a work-in-progress you want to share on this site?

One thing I love about art is the different ways we create oil paintings. Alla prima, glazing, scumbling to name a few. Different thinners, homemade thinners, painting on canvas, painting on wood and more. I knew one painter who made his own paints from scratch and only used petrol as a thinner! I used to stand at his door peeking in with my hand over my nose admiring his paintings from a safe distance. However you do it follow the easy instructions below to share your art with us. You can upload text and up to four images giving you plenty of space to describe and illustrate your work.

Don't forget to describe the oil painting techniques you used.

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Please review the page on Oil Painting Supplies if you need guidance on which materials to use

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Recommended Resources.

Here's another website on painting techniques, with several pages on acrylic- and oil painting techniques, oil painting materials and mixing colors.

is an excellent web directory where you can search for other great sites on art and more.

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