Tips for Oil Painting

Artists, but also committed amateurs or hobbyists, can never learn too much about color. Color is at the core of the message your work emits. A basic understanding of color is a great place to begin your new pursuit of artistic expression.

There are three primary colors that cannot be created by mixing other colors. Those three primaries are red, blue and yellow. Aren’t they great? Mixing these primary colors creates other colors called secondary colors.

Yellow and blue make green. Red and yellow make orange. Blue and red create purple. The exact hue of the secondary color is dependent upon the proportions of the mix of the primary colors.  The best way to become familiar with the seemingly unlimited color and hue possibilities is to experiment.

When the artist mixes three primary colors, the result is a tertiary color. The hue of the tertiary again depends on the proportions of the mixture. Have fun creating and learning your options.

Like the primaries, black and white are not created by mixing other colors. However, they are not primary colors because they are not mixed to form other colors. Black is added to darken a color and white is added to lighten a color. Many artists do not use black or white at all.

There are various blues, reds, and yellows, like cobalt blue, Prussian blue, lemon yellow, crimson, cadmium red and others. These are different versions of the primary colors. Keep in mind that painting with oil-based paints is quite different from, for example, painting with acrylic paints. Oil paints take much longer to dry than acrylic paints.

The important thing to remember about primary colors is that each primary creates a different result. Each mix of primaries creates a slightly different shade of a secondary or tertiary color.

Here are a few basic color mixing realities:

  • It takes a small amount of a dark color to darken a light color, but it takes considerably more light to lighten a dark color.
  • Opaque colors have far greater strength than transparent colors so add just a bit of opaque to a transparent.
  • If you are mixing two colors, check to make sure each color consist of one pigment only.
  • When mixing tow colors on your palette, stop the process before completing the color. The result will be much more interesting, and a bit inconsistent.

Mixing colors, creating new colors, altering shades and strengths can become a compelling exercise. Many artists are consumed with the composition of color. Learning how to create the perfect color and shade will greatly influence your oil painting. Experiment, learn and enjoy the artistic flair that color brings to the palette. One other key point of attention should focus on how you can best avoid brush marks. This is quite similar for oil paint and acrylic paint so check out the link that will lead you to a very useful post about how to do that best.

So now we’ve addressed some aspects of oil painting and in an earlier post, we’ve discussed working with acrylic paint. If you additionally want to earn all about water-based enamel paint and how to work with that effectively, click on the link that will lead you to one of our earlier posts about water-based enamel Nippon paint. In an earlier post, I’ve shown you how to turn an old window shutter into a nice-looking letter holder and in case you want to paint if to look more attractive, I suggest you use water-based paint rather than acrylic or oil-based paint.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu