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How to paint with oils?

Anyone can learn oil painting if they follow a few simple tips and get the right equipment. Discovering how to paint with oils is a straightforward process that can lead to many happy hours in front of the canvas. This article sets you on your way to painting a masterpiece.


- Invest in your painting. Buy good quality brushes. It can be difficult to clean the bristles of cheaper brushes and they will not last as long.
- Better results can also be gained if high quality paints are used. Check your local art supply shop.
- Set aside a decent amount of space in which to paint. Oil paintings are slow-drying, which is an advantage in the creative process, but this does mean that a light, airy room is required to get the best results.
- Set up your canvas on the easel. Prime the canvas with 'gesso', a white paint mixture that acts a base for your oil painting.


First step
Draw the outline of your painting in charcoal. Begin to mix your paint. Oil painting is a layered process.
Second step
- Thin the paint using a solvent such as turpentine. Your initial layer should be "lean", which means adding more solvent. Add a medium such as linseed oil to "fatten" the paint for subsequent layers.
- Paint "fat over lean" because the more solvent is added in the mix, the quicker it dries. If a lean layer was painted over a fat one, it could crack. Paint away. Author's tips
- Don't take too much paint on your brush at any one time.
- Avoid over blending the paints.
- The slow-drying nature of oil paints can tempt you to experiment on the canvas. Too much of this and the colours can be reduced to looking like a muddy mess.
- On the other hand, there is plenty of time to correct changes and alter things if they are not to your liking.


It is important to know how to clean brushes, they are the most important part of your painting equipment. Preservation of painting tools
- Using rags, wipe as much of the paint as you can off the bristles once you are finished.
- Dip into thinner and squeeze out, using kitchen towel or a newspaper.
- Complete the task using a liquid soap, thumbing through the bristles until they are as close to their original state as possible. Final word
Once your initial journeys into oil painting are complete, read up on more advanced painting techniques and become a master.

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