Why Oil Paint?

Why Oil Paint?

Students might wonder why oil paint is the medium of choice when teaching beginners.  Oil painting can seem intimidating and cumbersome, especially when more time-optimal mediums like watercolor or acrylic paint might better suit a student setting.  Oil, however, is arguably the best medium to teach painting and the reasons are many.

The drying time of oil allows a student to slow their pace without worrying that the portion of the painting being worked on will dry before they get a chance to mix or adjust their work.  If faster drying is needed, early layers can be thinned with turpentine to force fast drying for the base and additional layers can be mixed with alkyd resin mediums (such as Liquin) to speed the drying times of the thicker (or “fatter”) layers.  By forcing the pace to be slowed down, it allows a lot of time flexibility for the artist to build up the painting in a more controlled and less chaotic way.

Additionally, just because oil painting is slow-drying does not mean a complete painting can’t be made in a single sitting.  The alla prima technique of oil painting proves it can be a great medium for single-session work, often with results that outshine what can be done with fast-drying mediums.

Oil paint is also quite forgiving to enable the painter to go back and make adjustments both while earlier layers are drying and after layers have already dried, without the appearance of over-painting or inconsistency in layers or textures.

Brush maintenance is another benefit of oil paint.  An artist can wait until completely done with a painting session before attending to the cleaning of brushes.  When cleaned and maintained properly, brushes used for oil painting can have a long life.  Anyone who has painted with acrylics knows the constant battle of ensuring brushes are not ruined when accidentally left out for just a few moments before cleaning.

Lastly, oil painting techniques have been around for hundreds of centuries, with works of master artists going back to the 15th century who we can study and learn from.

If you would like learn how to paint with oils,check out the class schedule and contact me to schedule your first lesson.  I look forward to being your teacher!

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