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A Beginner’s Guide to Oil Painting- Oil Painting Techniques and Styles

If you’re a complete novice, oil painting can be intimidating. While it can seem that getting started with oil painting is easy, there is more to oil paints than other paints. During the learning process, there could be some obstacles and difficulties. To begin with, oil paints take a long time to dry. So be prepared to be patient and read up some of the tools and techniques you’ll be using with your oil painting ventures.

Want to know things you will need for starting oil painting? We have that here for you! Things You’ll Need For Oil Painting

Various Oil Paint Mediums

Oil paint mediums come in a wide range of colors and textures. Choosing the best one to satisfy your needs can be difficult and time-consuming. Many of the mediums yield outstanding work, but each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. We’ve compiled a list of the most common paint mediums in this article.

Oil Paint (Traditional)

This kind of dry oil paint is excellent for creating sharp-looking surfaces. These conventional oils would allow you to decide the setting time as you go through the painting process. Walnut, poppy seed, safflower, and linseed oils are examples of conventional oil paints. They’re made up of things like ground dye, coating, and mixing.

You may also use conventional oils in conjunction with other mediums. You’ll be able to monitor the setting time with solvents and drying oils. Oil paints often take a long time to dry, giving you the opportunity to go back and fix any errors if necessary.


  • It can be combined with a variety of media.
  • Traditional oil paint produces gleaming, vibrant surfaces.
  • It creates a wide range of textures.
  • This type of paint has a shiny, metallic finish that is appealing.
  • It’s great for coatings and textures.


  • Oil paint, particularly traditional oil paint, can be very costly.
  • These colors have hazardous ingredients in them.
  • Any of the medium varieties are a little too dense.

Oil Paints That Mix With Water

This is easy to use and poses no risk to your health or the climate. The good news is that you can dilute these paints with water, which ensures that all you need for washing is hot water and soap. They have the same smell and color as standard oils, but they cannot be used for solvents or oils. They have a different texture from most oil paints and are often thought to be too thin. This group of paints is very versatile and takes a long time to dry, allowing you to make adjustments and fix errors.


  • Oil paint that can be mixed with water is not harmful to your health.
  • It is not difficult to clean these paints.
  • This is a very cost-effective oil paint.
  • Before it dries, this color gives you enough time to adapt and make adjustments.


  • Oil paint that can be mixed with water produces a variety of gloss levels.
  • For the better performance, you’ll need to use a varnish.

Now, what brushes will be the best? check this out! The Best Brushes for Oil Painting

Oil Paints for Alkyds

These paints can be combined with other oil paint and always dry with the same amount of time. Alkyd is a type of artificial medium paint made from resin and alcohol. Other mediums, in addition to an alkyd oil paint, may be used to speed up the drying process.

Alkyd oil paints may be used either with a liquin medium or in combination with other oil paints to produce excellent effects. However, since it contains hazardous chemicals like turpentine, this form of paint is not completely safe for the atmosphere or your health.

Although alkyd oil paints may be mixed with other types of individual paints, doing so will incur additional costs. Alkyd oil paints are very costly to purchase and preserve. Cleaning these kinds of oil paints is often difficult, as it necessitates the use of mineral spirits.


  • This paints have excellent adhesion properties.
  • A lot of mediums may be used in alkyd oil paint.


  • This paint is hazardous to the atmosphere and one’s health; protective clothing is needed.
  • It’s not cheap.
  • This paint will leave the surface looking messed up if it isn’t applied properly.

Oil Sticks or Bars

This style of oil paint is available as a stick or a bar. Several ingredients, such as safflower and linseed oils, are used to make oil bars or sticks. These oil bars and sticks are more like oil paints than oil pastels because oil pastels are made of mineral oils that do not dry.

A protective coating or skin is formed before and after the application of oil bars and sticks. Oil bars may be mixed with other oils and solvents to thin the paint to make modifications to the painted surface. Oil bars are smooth and simple to deal with and come in a variety of colors. They can be used on the same surfaces as oil paint and are often suitable for beginners as oil mediums.


  • This oil sticks are simple to use.
  • These bars produce the same effects as most oil paints.
  • This style of oil paint comes in a wide range of appealing shades.
  • This is a medium that can be used in a variety of ways.


  • For the better results, you’ll need to apply a varnish.
  • The paint will melt if exposed to too much heat.
  • The adhesive properties of this medium are weak.

The paint dries after around 24 hours and can be cleaned with soapy water or even baby wipes. With no unwanted odors, use this commodity with other mediums and oil paints. These paint sticks are self-sealing, meaning that once dry, they form a protective coating that keeps the color vivid and long-lasting. If you choose, you can quickly strip this film and add a more durable varnish instead.

Beginner Oil Painting Techniques

Most well-known artists have incredible works of art that are depicted in oil paintings. Their art classics are these oil paintings, which have been passed on from generation to generation. Beginners are quickly confused when they first begin working with oil paints, owing to the various types and techniques that are needed. If you’re a novice, the following part is a must-read since it covers the fundamentals of oil painting.

Alla Prima, the wet on wet technique

Wet painting, or wet-on-wet painting, is a great technique. Many artists like it because it allows them to complete their masterpieces with only one session of painting. There is no need to waste time waiting for each sheet to dry. Wet painting is a form of painting in which layers are applied without waiting for them to dry in between. This oil painting style is ideal because it allows you to complete your project quickly rather than waiting weeks or months.

Before the general public became aware of Alla Prima, many artists would spend a lot of time waiting for each layer to be completed before moving on to the next. This is due to the fact that some of the artists will add up to 40 layers before calling their work done. Furthermore, oil paint can take days, weeks, or even months to dry completely. As a result, the Alla Prima technique has revolutionized contemporary oil painting.


The glazing is performed in such a manner that the layers are separated from one another. This method differs from Alla Prima in that each layer is required to dry before proceeding to the next. Glazing may be done by layering various paint pigments. This is due to the fact that each glaze is made up of a thin film of opaque oil paint.

Make sure the colors you select are consistent with the layers you’ve created below. Keep in mind that whether you want a vivid altered result, you don’t have to glaze every sheet. You may also give a contrast effect to your painting by leaving it until the end.

Glazing is the way to go if you want a piece of art with a variety of colors that compliment each other. Instead of shielding or installing layers to conceal other layers, you’ll have a lot of space to show off your skills. When exposed to light, this vibrant layering effect can shine softly, so make sure to use several layers from start to finish.

Underpainting: a step in the painting process

This is an oil painting technique in which the first layer serves as the base. This will serve as the foundation for the rest of your art, upon which you will create various layers. This technique encourages you to paint your patterns on top of a one-color base coat. This method of painting is the most effective for incorporating tonal and contrast values into a concept from the start.

This technique is basic, but you must be careful when using it because the consistency and result of your artwork are dependent on it. Purple, yellow, and blue foundational colors are used in at least three methods used in underpainting today.

The purple layers apply to the warm layers that are applied later in the painting for depth and shadows. Yellow underpaintings are appropriate for landscape or nature scenes, and are thus based on a warmer color scheme. Blue underpaintings are great for making the art feel darker and more striking. They make colors that clash with one another.

Painting in Oils by Scumbling

You can do this technique by applying color and a little softness to the art by using a small amount of paint at a time. This is a dry-brush technique that requires a stiff-bristled brush. There is a more gradual transition between tones, which improves color blending. This painting technique can be used to create designs such as fog, rain, and so on. It’s the most effective way to lighten gloomy areas by giving them a blurry feel.

Scumbling is unusual in that it applies paint in a patchy manner, highlighting the uncovered parts of your artwork. Acrylic and watercolor paintings also use this technique.

Blocking In

This is a technique that focuses on laying out the color scheme without relying on the minor specifics. Blocking in works by painting the canvas with general colors, objects, and forms. When you’re just getting started, this strategy will help you get a sense of where the drawing is heading. When doing this technique, use big brushes and thinned paint for the better effects.

Start with a toned-down version of the key color you’d like to block in. This color’s intensity can be increased later in the drawing. Make sure you don’t use too much saturation when blocking in your painting; otherwise, it can become overwhelming. It will take a long time for you to tone it down again. And after the painting is completed, you can find that some of the blocked-in areas are left exposed.

Chiaroscuro to create effect of light

This is the perfect way to combine both dark and light tones into your art, giving it a more vibrant and dramatic impact. It gives your artwork a sense of scale by providing the illusion of light. This technique can also be used to apply illumination to specific objects and figures in the painting, creating a spotlight effect.

This is an excellent example of a prominent artwork element that contrasts light and shadow. This approach was used by Rembrandt, Michelangelo, and other notable artists to refine their painting styles. Light must be aimed from a single source by using this technique.

Grisaille is a technique of green and brown tone

There are two types of this technique: brunaille and verdaille. Verdaille refers to paintings in green tones, while brunaille refers to paintings in brown tones. This is a one-of-a-kind art technique that is often used for neutral pieces in various shades of gray. This technique can be used as a base stage for any form of painting you choose to do.

Grisaille is used to create the underpainting of the artwork, after which you can use the glazing technique. It is not commonly used nowadays, but it was popular during the Renaissance era for imitating sculptures.

Graille, also known as the glazing oil paint technique, is a form of painting in which opaque layers are layered on top of or painted over a single colored underpainting.

Impasto is technique to create shadow and texture

This technique can be used in two ways: you can render a thicker layer of your paint to emphasize brushstrokes and textures, or you can use it to highlight finer and subtler textures and features while doing delicate brushwork. This technique can be used to apply various elements to your designs, such as shadows, shading, and so on.

If you’re going to use this strategy, make sure the paint is dark enough. On the surfaces, the brush and roller painting markings should be clear. You may also blend the oil paints directly on the surface or canvas to improve the texture. The more texture you add, the more realistic the effects will be. You may use this approach to bring out fine details and create three-dimensional effects.

Sfumato the transition technique

It’s often used with a soft brush to make transition from light to dark shades. This is your best bet if you’re hunting for a strategy that can get your colors together. It will cause your colors’ tones and shades to blend gradually, resulting in finely detailed and natural outlines. This method is ideal for creating a hazy or smoky effect in your project.

The presence of layers heightens the gentle impact, resulting in softer shapes. This technique is most often associated with earth tones that mix well together to provide amazing depth. Apply each coat of paint with a clean, gentle paintbrush for the best results. As a result, the results will be soft and smooth.

Keep in mind that varnishing the oil painting will help it last longer. To guarantee that the varnish treatment goes well, make sure the painting is fully dry. Before you may add a topcoat to an oil painting, it must have dried fully for at least 6 to 12 months. Have fun with oil painting and make sure you’re using the right technique for your project!

So, How Do Oil Painting Beginners Get Started? The first step is to familiarize yourself with the surface you’ll be working on as well as the oil medium you’ll be using. When you first begin, be careful and note that oil painting works better when layers are used.

If you’re looking for best surfaces for oil painting check The Best Surface For Oil Painting out!

Now worried about what Techniques would you use? underpainting, impasto, blending, and other methods are also possible for oil paint. Since oil is a naturally dense paint that can be thinned by mixing it with other paints, the possibilities for oil techniques are endless.

Try out some of these techniques! see what works best for you. Just be patient and don’t hold back your creativity or imaginations!

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