Oil Painting Tips

I have just a few more steps to get that painting from class finished. I really hate how long oil paint takes to dry. It’s nice for fixing problems or taking a break to eat dinner, but it also means I have to wait 2 or 3 days for an area to dry before I can continue working.

In the meantime, I’ll share with you some random things I learned about oil painting. Feel free to add your own hints and tips.

  • The more paint you squirt onto your palette (or mix up), the longer you can use it. It’ll usually form a skin overnight, but the paint underneath is still pretty good the next day.
  • If your use of the palette knife is vigorous, keep a few backups on hand. They aren’t too sturdy.
  • Master’s Brush Cleaner rocks. It works great for gouache, too… but make sure you have one for each.
  • I had never used anything to thin oil paint except thinner (turpenoid). Adding an oil medium to the paint helps it flow a lot better, but also lengthens the drying time. In class I learned that 1/3 thinner, 2/3 oil, and a few drops of cobalt dryer work well – it makes the paint flow well and dry reasonably quickly. Just don’t lick your brushes, or use it around small children – cobalt dryer is poisonous.
  • Masonite is easier to paint on than canvas, but you have to gesso it. Prepared Claybord is too smooth and Gessobord is pretty rough – although I have yet to try Gessobord with oils.
  • The oil painting on Claybord in that post finally sold this week after hanging in the Marietta Pizza Company for six months!

I hope to have the workshop painting finished and blogged by mid-week.

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