How To Make Oil Painting on Canvas: Detailed Instructions

Oil paint is a popular form of expressing art and used by many artists. It makes a painting look timeless and it is also easy to use. Oil painting gives a buttery consistency to a painting which is why beginners to painting are likelier to enjoy it more often than other forms of paint. In this brief guide, we will give you a step-by-step guide to how to make oil painting on canvas:

  1. Collect The Materials

Once you have all the materials that are required with you, your painting session is going to be a smooth experience. Oils come in various medium and how you want to use your oil painting majorly depends on the kind of medium you choose. It is advisable to use water solvent oil paints that can easily be mixed with little water to modify the pigments.

Apart from them here is a list of items you will need when planning to do oil painting on canvas:

  • Brushes
  • Water or Turpentine solvent
  • Palette cups
  • Palette knives
  • Kneaded erasers
  • Canvas mounted on an easel
  • Charcoal pencils
  • Spray fixatives

Depending on the canvas surface you use, you might also require a primer such as Gesso since your canvas will absorb the first layer of paint.

Apart from the above you will need the following types of brushes:

  • A flat brush
  • A bright brush
  • A round brush

If you are a beginner, it is advisable for you to choose a #2 round brush and flat and bright brushes between the range of #4 and #8.

Your canvas surface will depend on whether you want a formal or an informal painting. For beginners, it is advisable not to use graphite or charcoal for sketching as the materials could mix with the oil painting and make it look dull, IF you do not know the right technique to use it.

  1. Carefully Choose The Place You Wish To Do Your Oil Painting Session In

Go for a quaint and safe place with good amount of fresh air and light so that you can have an enjoyable and peaceful custom oil painting session. Make sure to not sit very close to a window or else there might be a chance for your paints to get dry quickly in the sun.

  1. Start With Sketching

The first step to a good painting is a sketching. To do that, make sure you are sure about the image you plan to sketch. Take a good amount of 20-30 minutes to the process of sketching, because it is extremely important to how you would do the oil painting. Make sure you keep the sketch simple and not focus much on intricate details like shades and all. It is okay to make mistakes! Try doing simple shades to begin with – it could be a landscape, an object in your house or even a tree.

  1. Set Your Goals

Doing an oil painting is nothing less than a journey. You know the destination. So take your time every now and then to access your image and how the textures are turning up, along with the colours combinations. See if the colours are well coordinated or if there is room for improvement. However, having said that, don’t overdo it.

  1. Painting Without Sketching

A lot of artists prefer painting directly, without the use of pencil or charcoal for sketching. If that is the case with you as well, try to use light colour thinned with a solvent. This allows the paint to dry quickly so you can use as many layers as you want. In case you notice a mistake, you can easily paint over on the initial lines.

  1. The First Coat

The first coat of paint is meant to establish what the basic colours on the image are going to be. Begin by using the paint in the largest space in the image, while keeping the sketch layout intact. As mentioned before, access the oil painting from time to time to ensure that you are satisfied with the progress.

  1. Correct The Errors

Observe your painting and try to imagine how it would look once you are done completing it with all the light and dark shades. Here is a rule of thumb, do not use solvents to correct any mistake on the painting. It could turn out to be messy for your art piece!

  1. Apply In Layers

Layering is important to your oil painting whether it be lights or darks. Once the first layers dries out, you can use heavier and thicker coats. Experiment with colours, brush strokes and detailing. Try leaving some areas on the canvas untouched so that you can later add on some richer colours to it to make the painting look denser.

  1. Know When You Are Done

It is often tough to know when an oil painting is finished. You would feel there’s still scope for more but this is when you need to be sure not to overdo things, which is why it is advisable to keep evaluating your painting every now and then. You could also take the opinion of your friends and family members! And once it is complete, don’t forget to sign it. You can use a small brush to do that.

  1. Maintain The Painting

Try not placing the oil painting in direct sunlight or in front of an air vent because it could lead to cracks in your painting. Make sure to place it in a sturdy manner to prevent it from falling.

Hope this guide turns out to be really helpful for your oil painting session. It is really important to be guided in the right way to make sure that you know the techniques of oil painting right. If you enjoyed reading this article, write to us about in the comments below. Happy Painting!