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What Kind of Painting is Right for You?

We Love Prof > Arts and Hobbies > Painting > How to Pick a Painting Technique

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” — Leonardo da Vinci.

Painting is first and foremost a creative practice, which enables you to express your emotions, to create beauty or simply to spend your spare time.

In any case, painting is an art that requires hard-work and discipline.

Knowing the different painting techniques will not make you a great artist. It takes practice to see progress and develop your own personal aesthetic.

Here are the different methods that you can use in your painting classes.

Painting Technique: Oil Painting

Learn a range of artistic techniques with an art tutor. The basic techniques in drawing and painting were passed down by the greats. Source: Visual Hunt

Oil painting may seem old-fashioned, but it’s still considered the superior painting technique. Emerging in the West towards the end of the Middle Ages, it was used with the tempera method, then modernised from the layering of glazing to more of a paste technique.

Classical painting is very fond of this painting technique: Vermeer, Leonardo da Vinci and Van Gogh used this technique to paint their world-famous paintings.

What is Oil Painting?

Oil painting is essentially a pictorial technique. This paint is created by mixing pigments and drying the oil which serves as a binder. It is a paste which can be varying degrees of thick and oily.

How to Dilute Oil Paints

Oil paint has a thicker and more slippery consistency than water-based paint. It needs a fairly long drying time between applying each layer and requires a little preparation so that the primary colours and other colours remain fluid, bright and age-resistant.

It is, therefore, important to prepare the background for colour with the first layer of very diluted paint so that subsequent layers adhere better.

For this, you have two options:

  • Dilute the oil paint with turpentine oil or white spirit to make it very fluid,
  • Or do the first layer with acrylic paint that has the added bonus of drying very quickly.

An interesting technique to study during private painting lessons!

Express yourself through different art forms. The artist’s imagination knows no limits! Source: Pixabay

How to Paint with Oil Paints

If there is one thing to remember when you want to use oil paint, it is the rule of thick on thin: each layer must be a little thicker than the previous one.

If you do not stick to this rule, you may end up with cracked paint once it has dried.

But how do you actually achieve this?

  • For the first layer: dilute the colour with some form transparent medium such as 60% linseed oil and 40% turpentine oil,
  • Increase for each layer,
  • The last layer should be diluted with 100% linseed oil.

Thinner layers are better because:

  • They allow your still life or portrait to dry faster,
  • They are transparent and add shine to your painting,
  • They change the painting’s texture,
  • They make your painting more resilient.

Careful: you do not mix the medium directly with the painting. We take the colour and then dip the brush in the medium before mixing on his palette in a circular gesture and then painted with.

Other Oil Painting Techniques

By taking a painting class, you can learn how to apply oil painting techniques and perfect your own style:

  • Apply a glaze: this is a layer of thin, transparent paint which lets you achieve brighter and deeper hues,
  • Learn to paint and draw “alla prima”: this wet-on-wet technique allows you to paint a canvas faster but requires a lot of experience,
  • Create fading: blend smoothly to avoid sharp lines,
  • Do impasto: this helps you retain the imprint of the brush, or knife, to add relief to the painting,
  • Scratch colours: this reveals several layers from below. Very useful for editing some parts of a painting.

Painting with Acrylics

Be inspired by our painting techniques list. Andy Warhol was one of the first to use water-based paint. Source: Visual Hunt

Also known as watercolours, acrylic paint is very popular with DIY enthusiasts and beginners. It is odourless and diluted with water, which helps your brushes stay clean and decreases drying time.

Watercolour did not start to be used properly until the 1930s. However, artists Andy Warhol and David Hockney immediately adopted it to create very realistic pop art and trompe-l’oeil masterpieces.

What is Acrylic Painting?

Acrylic paint consists of traditional pigments mixed with synthetic resins. The term is also used to refer to the associated pictorial technique.

Unlike oil paint, the binder is an emulsion of water and synthetic resin.

In the end, the finish is close to achieve with oil painting and is much easier to use!

Why not study this technique with online painting classes?

How to Use Acrylic Paint

A true chameleon, acrylic paint is the artist’s best friend. Being so diluted, it allows you to create watercolours, in very thick gouache, not far from oil painting. Here are some steps to follow when painting flowers or any other subject:

  • Choose your subject,
  • Follow the composition rules: the rule of thirds, as in photography. Simply draw three horizontal lines and three vertical lines and place the important elements around these lines. Choose the format of your painting in portrait for added intimacy, in landscape for a feeling of spaciousness and in square to draw the eye towards the centre,
  • Painting and drawing are closely related. Our advice is to draw the main elements of the drawing in soft pencil, charcoal or directly in acrylics,
  • Go for a coloured background: it’s not mandatory but it is possible to unify colours. All you need to do is put down a very diluted layer of paint in the main shade of your subject. Applied in horizontal bands, the colour creates a seamless background. Applied rather imprecisely, it gives the impression of a moving background,
  • Mix colours on a paint palette and apply the paint in a thin layer, from the lightest to the darkest,
  • Add the details after letting your paint dry thoroughly between each coat to prevent it dripping. This is the time to experiment by adding volume or enhancing colours to create more intensity.

Tip: To get a lighter colour, add water, not white, which darkens and makes the colour opaque.

Tackling a Painting on Canvas

Relax and unwind through painting lessons. Painting is a soothing hobby for creative people! Source: Visual Hunt

Enough of paper, now it’s time to learn how to paint on canvas, in the same way as greats like Picasso created their famous works. You do not become a painter without painting equipment and this includes canvases. Whether you’re painting a tree, drawing a portrait or doing abstract art, self-taught or in a painting class, it will take a while to get the hang of it.

What is Does Painting on Canvas Involve?

A canvas painting is, as the name suggests, a painting done on stretched canvas. It is the most commonly used method among painters today.

Canvas replaced the wood paintings that dominated the art scene until the Renaissance. It is made of linen or cotton in Europe and silk in the Far East.

You can choose between an absorbent or waterproof fabric. An absorbent canvas will absorb the colours that trace the roughness and lumps of the canvas to create a specific effect. A waterproof canvas will allow colours to blend better.

How to Prepare Your Canvas.

If artists such as Jackson Pollock, Kenneth Noland or Francis Bacon sometimes painted on “raw” canvases, that is to say with no coating, we don’t recommend this if you want your creation to withstand the test of time.

So how do I get my canvas ready?

Whether you use watercolours or oil paints does not matter, you’ll have to prepare your canvas for both:

  • Glue to make waterproof and stiffen the fabric: using a flat brush, the front and back sides must be coated so that the binding passes through the backing. Leave dry between two layers. The result should leave a smooth surface that reflects the light,
  • Coat to whiten: this step is not essential but will add brightness if you want to superimpose all the colours on your canvas. This is a great way to protect your work against degradation and mould. You must first coat, let dry and then sand the paintwork,
  • Apply gesso: this is a smoothing technique to make the grain more adherent. For a perfectly smooth surface, you need to spread the gesso a in thin layer. You can then sand once it has dried.

Once these steps are completed, you have to stretch the canvas onto a frame, a delicate step that often requires help for a beginner.

How to paint on canvas

First choose your subject (living model or not, make a drawing in pencil …). You must then choose a focal point for the painting: avoid the centre, be more exciting.

Do a sketch of the drawing in extra thick pencil especially for the most important parts.

Warm colours, ultramarine blue or ochre for example, are applied from lightest to the darkest, starting from the top of the canvas and working your way down gradually.

When doing your paint strokes, is important to always paint in the same direction to avoid going back and forward over your work!

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