Whether you're new to oil painting or you're already a somewhat experienced painter, you've come to the right place! Our shopping guide will teach you all there is to know about the best products of the year. That way, you'll be able to pick the right oil painting for your needs, and with great value for money.
Using the experience of Fine Arts professionals and contemporary artists, we introduce you to the incredible opportunities that the world of oil painting has to offer today. We'll give you the tips and tricks you need to get started on the technique, as well as the best product opportunities available on the market right now.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our selection: The best oil paint products
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about oil paint
- 4.1 What is oil painting and what are its advantages?
- 4.2 How should I paint with oil?
- 4.3 What should I dilute my oil paint with?
- 4.4 What is oil paint used for?
- 4.5 What tool should I use oil paint with?
- 4.6 How do I paint with a palette knife?
- 4.7 What can I paint with it?
- 4.8 What are the differences between oil and acrylic painting?
- 4.9 Can I use oil and acrylic paints together?
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- Oil painting is a painting technique that requires a slow drying process. For this reason, it is not recommended for small sketches or quick painting, where you'll want to prefer other techniques such as watercolor or acrylic.
- Oil paint offers several advantages. You can constantly modify it, virtually apply an infinite number of layers from generic to concrete. You can also use fillers to create textures and volumes.
- We have to consider the chromatic range we want to use in our artwork when choosing a specific oil paint. You may, for instance, prefer natural or synthetic pigments. Your ability to control colours and lighting, as well as how easily paints blend together, are also key. This is particularly true if you intend to use transparent techniques such as glazes.
Our selection: The best oil paint products
Our professionals have analysed the products available out there, and we've created the following ranking with the very best oil paints. These brands are used by contemporary artists, and offer fantastic value for money. We've also briefly explained each product so you can decide for yourself which is most suited to your needs.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about oil paint
You should know the key aspects of oil paint before you're able to purchase the most suitable product for you. This will allow you to know what to focus on when choosing a specific brand. In the following section, we've answered the most frequently asked questions by artists who use oil painting. We've also detailed the key criteria of this technique.
What is oil painting and what are its advantages?
The greatest advantage that oil painting offers is that you have time to modify your work. This is due to the paint drying slowly. Its preservation and unique colour power are also perks of this type of oil. Thanks to its incredible resistance to deterioration, thousands of works from Antiquity have been preserved to this day.
On the negative side, several artists have told us that they found its drying extremely slow. Painting knowledge is very important, and its use and mastery are quite difficult since there is no limit of layers or mixtures. It loses luminosity with age, and tends to become a little yellowish.
How should I paint with oil?
You should know that each new layer needs to be slightly richer in oil than the previous one. Most importantly, it is essential that you wait for a layer of paint to dry before adding another.
What should I dilute my oil paint with?
What is oil paint used for?
What tool should I use oil paint with?
How do I paint with a palette knife?
- Reducing paintbrush wear
- Much easier cleaning
- Possibility of applying thick layers
- Removing paint in case of mistake
You must avoid using solvents to dilute your oil paint at all costs. Ideally, the consistency of paint when using a palette knife should allow it not to fall off when you turn the palette.
What can I paint with it?
Tip: It is very useful to have a photograph of the result you're going for.
What are the differences between oil and acrylic painting?
Can I use oil and acrylic paints together?
Our experts have extensively researched this type of paint and how it affected their own works. This has allowed us to find out which were the most important criteria when it comes to oil painting. We've discussed these aspects in the following section. That way, you'll be able to pick the right brand of paint based on your needs. These will include your style, level of skill and the result you're going for.
- Number of hues
- Density and transparencies
- Natural or synthetic pigments
- Level of pictorial knowledge
- Ease in mixing
Number of hues
If you're an advanced oil painter or are thinking of becoming one, you should know that you are advised to stick to one brand. This will allow you to gain experience and therefore greater control over the oil paint of your choosing. This is why we recommend you to pick a brand with the greatest possible range of pigments. That way, you'll never feel limited in your art.
Having a wide number of colours is always useful, as it will give you the opportunity to create many different hues. That way, you won't have any trouble creating exactly what you want. Otherwise, if the product you've bought doesn't let you get the tone you want, you may have to change brand. As we mentioned above, getting used to oil paint can be difficult, and it'll be like starting all over again. You won't have the same level of control as with the product you usually work with.
Density and transparencies
The level of opacity offered by brands may be important to you depending on the type of art you want to paint. If you want to work with glazes, go for a product that has this characteristic in its range of products. If this isn't your case, you can look at other features that fit your needs.
Several oil painting techniques exist, such as indirect painting – painting in layers from thinner to denser. The technique called wet on wet – or alla prima – means that you're painting continuously, without waiting for previous layers to dry. Glazing is very popular, and you'll be applying glazes over dried, opaque layers of paint. Blending, oiling out and scumbling are other common painting techniques.
Natural or synthetic pigments
A pigment is a material that changes the light it reflects depending on the absorption of the colour it features. You should know that synthetic pigments have evolved a lot over the year, but the natural ones will always offer a unique touch. Many factors will influence your choice between the two, such as their price or the result you're looking for.
As you can imagine, natural pigments are extracted from natural elements. They can be of organic origin (carbonic, plant or animal compounds), or of inorganic or mineral origin. Their main advantages are their unique touch and a natural chromatic result. On the other hand, they tend to be more expensive, and their chromatic ranges can be limited.
Synthetic or artificial pigments derive from mass production through chemical reactions. They are more affordable, their chromatic ranges are virtually infinite, and they offer a precise colouring result. On the downside, your work will look more plastic and less natural. Synthetic pigments are also harder to mix with the oils extracted from natural pigments.
Level of pictorial knowledge
Depending on your skills, you are advised to opt for a less greasy brand of oil paint. The more oil a mixture has, the more difficult it becomes to control the result. Therefore, we encourage beginners to go with a brand like Winsor & Newton or Mont Marte. More experienced artists can go with Derwent, M. Graham or Grumbacher depending on the results they're looking for.
A newbie starting off with oil paint should have previously experienced with his topics and the basic rules before creating. These include fat over lean and thick over thin. You should also have a strong support, since this painting technique is quite heavy.
Ease in mixing
This is an essential criterion if you want to get very precise colour hues, but also if you end up wanting to mix different brands. In order to combine different styles, different oil paints cannot be rejected by the changing amounts of pigment or oil composition that constitute them.
Oil paint can take several days or even weeks to dry depending on the ambient temperature and humidity. This is why artists consider the mixture to be one of the most important subjects of this painting technique. This is easy, and you can do it throughout your creation progress, mixing your painting over several sessions.
Oil painting is the oldest painting technique in the world. All we need to create it are pigments and oils, materials that have been around throughout our evolution as a species. This technique remains in constant evolution, and many consider it to be one of the most powerful in terms of colour intensity and durability.
Oil painting is a somewhat difficult technique to master due to the slow drying of its layers. This allows you to change the result at each stage of the oxidation process. This painting technique also gives you an incredible creative freedom, and you'll be able to play with textures, supports and techniques as you please. Give it a go, and tell us about your experience!
We hope that this guide on oil painting has been useful to you in your search for the type of material or brand that best suits your artistic needs. We strongly invite you to enter this exciting world, or to deepen your knowledge of this painting technique.
Feel free to leave us a comment in the section below, and we'll be happy to get back to you. You can also share this article on your social media. That way, you'll help other art lovers with their oil painting creations!
(Source of featured image: Dean Drobot: 49773700/ 123rf.com)