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Tutorials and artistic advices

Preparing your material for painting with oils

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Paintbrushes, knives, spatulas, colors, thinners… oil painting requires a large amount of material, meticulously prepared.

 

1. Colors

 

You will be able to determine all the colors you need to use by attentively observing your subject. Lay them on the edges of the palette, leaving the middle for blending.

  • Arrange the colors your own way, but do it methodically: by group (yellows, reds, blues), light to dark colors, etc. Remember to follow the same order for every session: you will end up being able to find each color with your eyes shut! You should arrange your colors from right to left for a left-handed palette and from left to right for a right-handed one.
  • Keep black and white separate from the rest of the colors: they are used mostly for blending.

 

Trick of the trade

If you are working on a piece consisting of several shades of color (for example: a range of blues and a range of yellows), remember to use several so they don't get mixed!

 

2. Thinners and media

 

To increase the flow of paint and clean your brushes between two applications with different colors, it is advisable you use a thinner (white spirit or spirits of turpentine) and one or two oily media.

  • Pour a small amount of the products you need into cups.
  • Attach the cups to your palette, always in the same place and in the same order, so you don't confuse them while working.

 

3. Rag, newsprint and paper towel

 

These accessories are very handy for wiping paintbrushes and erasing an item from the canvas. Place them within reach.

 

4. Outdoors

 

Make sure you don't load yourself down! So make sure you visualize your work and write out a list of the supplies you'll need:

  • Decide on colors.
  • Choose a few paintbrushes in several sizes and various kinds of bristles, and pack them in a case or a sheath.
  • Carry your thinners and media in jars made of acid-resistant synthetic material rather than in the breakable glass bottles they came in…
  • Take the essentials: easel, canvas, palette, knives, charcoal or sketch pencil and, maybe a stool.

 

See also

Oil: Selecting your material: media, thinners and varnishes
Choisir diluants, médiums et vernis
Oil paint needs to be diluted and, conversely, thickened. Become familiar with the various accessories!
Choosing oil painting accessories
Choisir les accessoires pour peindre à l’huile
A palette and an easel are ES-SEN-TI-AL! Take the time to make the right choices: you'll have them around for some time…