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May 17, 2011
Charcoal Painting
May 17, 2011

Oil Painting

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.

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