The art or method of painting with oil paints. Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments that are bound with a medium of drying oil. Oil paint is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. The viscosity of the paint may be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the dried film. Oil paints have been used in Europe since the 12th century for simple decoration, but were not widely adopted as an artistic medium until the early 15th century.
Oil paint enables both fusion of tones and crisp effects and is unsurpassed for textural variation. The standard consistency of oil paint is a smooth, buttery paste. It is applied with brushes or a thin palette knife, usually onto a stretched linen canvas. Finished oil paintings are often coated with varnish. Oil as a painting medium is recorded as early as the 11th century, though the practice of easel painting with oil colors stems directly from 15th-century techniques of painting with tempera. In the 16th century oil color emerged as the basic painting material in Venice; it has been the most widespread medium for figure painting ever since.
Oil starter palette
The starter palette shown here is based on readily available colors and should cover most eventualities.
Originally made from Lapis lazuli, it is now more commonly made from an artificial and less expensive pigment that is stable in mixes, although it is relatively slow to dry. The synthetic color is often sold as French ultramarine. Ultramarine blue is a transparent blue. lt has good tinting strength and is the classic “warm” blue.
A “cool semi- transparent blue. The artificial pigment is mixed with either linseed or poppy oil and dries relatively fast. Phthalocyanine blue is often used in place of cerulean.
A natural pigment with good tinting strength, raw umber is relatively transparent. It mixes well to create a range of browns. It dries quickly, which makes it ideal for underpainting.
A transparent color with a high tinting strength. Once made from madder root but now produced synthetically, alizarin is a “coo| slow~drying red. The color can fade when used in light mixes. Quinacridone red IS often used as an alternative.
A natural, relatively opaque earth color with medium tinting strength, yellow ochre dries moderately slowly and mixes well with most colors
Made from an artificial mineral pigment, this is the classic warm” red. Slow to dry but stable, it is opaque and has good tinting strength.
A fast-drying, bright red- brown with good tinting strength, burnt sienna is relatively transparent.
A strong, bright, transparent green with high tinting strength. Viridian mixes well with other colors to create a range of greens. It dries relatively slowly.
Titanium white (not shown here)
A very bright, opaque white that is not prone to yellowing. The pigment is usually bound in safflower oil and so is slow drying.
A natural pigment with a slight brown bias. It has good tinting strength but IS slow to dry. It creates a range of interesting greens when mixed with yellow.
Cadmium lemon yellow
Made from an artificial mineral, the color has a relatively high tinting strength and opacity and is slow to dry. Mixed with cadmium red, it makes a deep cadmium yellow or cadmium orange.