Oil painting is the art of painting with oils. A method of painting using pigments bounded with drying oil or linseed oil, the technique was first used in Western Afghanistan and migrated to Western Europe later. Linseed oil originates from a fiber crop known as flax seed.
Consequently, oil painting has become major medium for producing artwork. When it was first developed, the technique begins with the outlining onto the canvas with charcoal or a thinned paint. To create faster drying oil paint, it is mixed with turpentine or other mineral spirit. To allow proper drying, each additional layer on top of the layer below must be oilier. This is known as fat over lean. The oilier application is to prevent the finished painting from cracking and peeling. Among other media used to aid the painter in concealing the brushstrokes are resins, varnishes as well as cold wax.
Painters used paint brushes to transfer painting to the surface. However, there are other alternative methods such as rags and palette knives. One of the primary advantages in oil painting is that it allows painter to modify the colour and texture of a painting as the oil paint takes some time to dry compared to other materials. This is due to the fact that the paint dries by oxidation. Therefore; painter can even eliminate an unwanted layer to start a new one.
The canvas used by painter is made from linen. Cotton fabric is also used as it is less expensive compared to canvas. Other generally used surfaces including paper, pressed wood, linoleum and slate. Before a painter starts painting, they have to prepare a wooden frame. There are two wooden frames; stretcher and strainer. Stretchers are modifiable while strainers are rigid. Next, the canvas or cotton fabric is pulled across the frame. Painters will then apply a layer of animal glue (also known as size) to separate the canvas and the paint. Another technique to draw the paint into porous surface is to apply a mixture of titanium dioxide and acrylic binder. It is commonly known as “gesso”. Oil painting requires several certain steps. As mentioned above, painters need to prepare a surface before sketching a desired subject onto it. Then, apply a mixture of oils to create various effects. Painters apply the paint using brushes made of Fitch and mongoose hair, a fine brush. To achieve the best painting, painters will opt for red sable brushes made of weasel hair. Sizes of brushes varied depending on the preferred effect. Most of the artists paint in layers. Turpentine thinned paint is used for the first layer known as “under painting”. The painter then proceeds to painting from darkest to lightest colour swatches. The technique “fat over lean” is also used to let proper drying. To seal the final layer, painter will apply a thin and transparent “glaze”. Among some of the earliest masterpiece of oil paintings are “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” by Vincent Van Gogh, “The Blue Boy” by Thomas Gainsborough, “Water Lilies” by Claude Monet and also “The Rape of Europa” by Titian.