Oil painting: technique, history and practice

Posted On November 27, 2014 by

One of the most popular techniques in the art is definitely the oil painting. Among the advantages of this technique, there is definitely a chance to correct mistakes and make changes both during the preparation of the work, as well as after: the color tends to dry slowly, so you can work calmly and long on colors without fear of drying out too quickly. Oil colors are usually more stable than the others, ie not change over time (although in reality it is seen that over the years tend to darken), and also with the oil you can create works of great effect on the extreme brightness of colors.

The history

The origins of oil painting are lost in the mists of time already Vitruvius and Pliny the Elder spoke. During the course of the fifteenth century, in the Flemish area, this ranking technique that was perfected and then began to spread throughout Europe.

In Italy the oil painting was already used in conjunction with other mixed media, but was even more so among the courts that they had more contact with the Flemish school, such as those of Urbino, Naples and papal court in Rome and, later, the Venetian school. Among the first Italian artists who used the oil we find Piero della Francesca, Giovanni Bellini, and Antonello da Messina. For over four hundred years it remained the most used painting technique until the advent of acrylic. In the nineteenth century its spread increases substantially when it appears the first modern tube-mix. In the early twentieth century, Impressionism oil painting is a way to paint in freedom, especially in outdoor environments and renews the technique by direct painting where the colors are laid on the surface to be painted pure, without mixing them on the palette or dilute substances.

The technique and practice

The oil paint is made from powdered pigment mixed with vegetable oils made of flax seeds or poppy or walnut. The colors are sold in tubes on which is indicated the degree of transparency (opaque, semi-opaque, semi-transparent) and harmfulness. The shades on the market are about 90, but to begin to paint with oils no longer serve a dozen colors besides black and white essentials which is used by mixing it with all the other colors.

For oil painting we mainly use brushes, brush a coat drive, made of pig bristle, and soft hair brush made of sable hair or synthetic fibers. Other widely used instrument are the spatulas, which may be a "knife", indispensable to stir the paint or scrape away, or the trowel with which is applied directly on the support painting.

The turpentine or white spirit is the best solvent to dilute the colors and remove the excess paint.
With oil paintings, you can create different effects: the continuous overlapping, ie color on color dry, they create areas of color very homogeneous and perfectly smooth, while using large amounts of color, maybe a little diluted, you can create color effects or material even in relief. The overlap is still the most widely used technique: the first layer of color, called 'sketch' or 'preparation' are spread successive layers said sail, mezzocorpo, frottage, glacis, etc ... The basic rule of the overlay is called the 'fat on thin ', ie the layers have to be getting richer oil because the closer you get to the final. In addition, each successive layer should be applied on a dry layer.

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oil paintings, techniques