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Oils - Professional Grade & Student Grade Oil Paints

Oil Painting Supplies: Oil Paints
All of our paints conform fully to all U.S. Federal Safety Standards.
However, when using all professional artists' colors, we do advise: 1) wearing non-latex disposable hand-gloves, 2) washing hands well with soap and warm water after use and 3) keeping small children away from the area.

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Oils are one of the great classic media, and have dominated painting for five hundred years. They remain popular for many reasons: their great versatility, offering the possibility of transparency and opacity in the same painting; the lack of colour change when the painting dries; and ease of manipulation. The colours are made by dispersing pigments in linseed or safflower oil and generally come in tubes. They can be used thickly, straight from the tube, or thinned with a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit. Winton Oil Colours offer a range of colours manufactured to the highest possible standards within moderate cost limits, making them ideal for use by all artists.

Unlike acrylics, they are slow-drying, which means you can rework sections, or scrape off the paint from a part of the painting that has not succeeded and start again.

Oils are the original medium to paint in. Acrylics have their own properties but it is oil that really makes the painting look "deep".

Remember - JUST PAINT!


• Colour Mixing:

Be methodical in your colour mixing. Haphazard mixing will only result in muddiness. It is best to start with a palette of three or four colours, then add one or two more as you gain experience. Adding white to a colour produces a tint. Adding black produces a shade.

We have listed above the selected colours we prefer, but even just three colours, plus white, will produce a wide range of tints. Try the following three basic colours to begin with: 1. Alizarin Crimson; 2. Cadmium Yellow Hue; 3. French Ultramarine. You can make a range of colours by simply mixing your paints. For example, you can make a good orange from Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Yellow Hue. Browns can be mixed from a combination of all three colours; try also replacing the Cadmium Yellow Hue with Yellow Ochre for a different shade.

• Creating Pastel Colours:

Experiment by adding white to each of your colours in increasing quantities: you will create a lovely range of strong and pale tints.

• Mixing a Good Range of Greens For Landscapes:

When you look at a landscape you can see at once that although most of the elements in it may be green, they are not likely to be the same green. So resist the temptation to reach for the tube of green paint all the time, or you will find that your paintings lack subtlety and, indeed, trueness to life. Mix a range of natural greens from the other paints.

Here is a link to a friend's web-site "elementary notions about oil painting by Leon Engelen" with more tips and techniques: www.engelen.com/selno/notions.htm

A little more on color theory & mixing oil colors:

Certain colors are not only well suited to blending but can be used to create a basis for an entire genre of personal colors. Skin tones often become a stumbling block for artists. Nothing is sadder than a beautifully captured portrait diminished by skin tones that are not healthy and alive. This can be avoided by combining two simple colors, cadmium red light and cadmium green light, in equal amounts to create a rich dark brown that can be softened with white to achieve a dynamic skin basis. The degree of white and other subsidiary tones will create a glowing flesh tone and is easily repeatable. To this basic flesh tone mix, you can introduce a tiny bit more red for a ruddy coloration. Add a very small amount of cadmium yellow light or medium and you create a sallow skin tone. Add more green to the initial flesh tone and you create yet another useful skin tone. Many portrait artists keep on hand premixed colors in all of these families because any face has areas where the tone changes. One of the three mixes listed above might be just the ticket.

Combining black (lamp black or ivory black) with cadmium yellow is another hand-mixed color that is fun to create. The resulting tone of green is the picture of springtime and is very useful to landscape painters. If not for large areas, this bright, cheery tone makes an excellent highlight for any foliage.

The same is true for the combination of cobalt blue and cadmium yellow. The tone created is another bright green that leans to the blue and is again a wonderful tone for spring green landscape work.

Cadmium red, cadmium yellow and a tiny bit of blue yield a glorious orange just right for sunset or fall foliage paintings. Add a bit more blue and the tone dulls to a more pumpkin or sedate orange and is very useful in forest interior work, foregrounds and stones in open landscape scenes.

A covered palette allows mixed oil colors to stay soft and serviceable for several days or even weeks if the cover is tight. But for large-scale works or long-term use of specific colors, it is advisable to create a larger quantity of color. Storage can be in saved baby food jars (keep the lid and the jar threads clean for easy opening) or perhaps you might like to buy metal tubes in which to pack your "private label" colors. (Remember to name them and keep a record of how you mixed that special color). Open-ended tubes are available in most art material stores. Mailing labels are great for labeling your tubes. One tip is to roll the bottom of the tube tightly and do not trap air between the bottom of the tube and the store of paint.

Experimentation with the oils you might already have will get you started and give you a chance to explore many possibilities as well as be creative.

Long handles are traditional for oil painting, however, they are not neccesary. Short handle brushes accomplish the same effect.

How to Paint Clouds and Trees

Fluffy white, soft and fragile--So they look, but clouds can be a challenge to paint. Almost every medium has its own strong points for application in the painting of clouds and skies, and each offers great opportunities for growth as an artist.

Oil painting of clouds and skies offers the option of flexibility in that the medium is very forgiving. Oil's slow drying time means you have countless opportunities to adjust, augment, and alter the shapes, shadows and reflected tones. This is perfect for the artist who loves to manipulate the medium to achieve the fullest potential. The use of underpainting to build tones that will glow through the finished cloud and sky areas is one of the most popular reasons to work in oil. The translucent glow through the obvious tone to the implied tone beneath adds to the painting's long-lasting appeal.

Start by washing in a warm glow over the entire sky. Over this tone layer light applications of the soft sky and cloud tones. Build layers to create a deep and velvety glow. Remember that the clouds are reflectors for all other tones in the work, even the earth tones of the landscape or the vivid tones of a cityscape. White reflects and is a wonderful area in the painting to draw the foreground, middle ground and background together.

The application of oil can be accomplished with traditional tools such as brushes and knives but can also be softened and "personalized" by using unconventional tools. Natural sponges hold up very well for use with oil colors and mediums. Odd tools like cotton buds and small scrap/rag cloths are also useful in moving, blending or removing color. They can also be used to add texture to areas, even to create a unique look. Try other materials for other effects, such as cheesecloth to lay on washes over the base warm glow. The texture of the threads will yield a distinctive "feel" to the finished piece.

Although underpainting is unnecessary, if you practice that technique, you will achieve a depth and richness to be envied. Allow a bit of a bright tone to peep through the overall sky color, suggesting the hidden secret under the sky, and you will build interest. The tone you use for underpainting could be a sunset red or orange. Although this sounds severe, allowing tiny portions of this tone to show will give an overall glow to the work--an unexplained source of light and warmth.

Once the overall tone is established, work in the areas of clouds. The initial shapes can be soft, but you will want to build to a more robust "thick" look, giving the shapes real dimension. Shadows are important and the same reflected colors mentioned in reference to oil painting. The glowing and reflections are essential to realistic clouds.

Once you have completed the painting, you might want to consider coating it with a varnish or medium. In the case of oil painting, there are several varnishes to consider, even some with UV protection to help preserve the colors. It is customary to do a final coating of some sort over oils because they often dry with an uneven surface quality. Dry areas and shiny areas need to be blended to a more uniform look. This is easily accomplished with one of the products designed for final coating of paintings. Acrylic mediums do essentially the same thing, offering a uniformity of surface sheen. They also give the surface a final protective coat, useful since the work is usually displayed without glass or other covering.

Whether you brush, knife, sponge or use another tool, there are limitless challenges and rewards to capturing skies and clouds in your paintings. Go outside, look up and paint!

Enjoy your painting!




By Greg Albert

The Artist's Magazine and Artist's Sketchbook

As most of us know, one of the most popular and widely imitated art movements in the history of Western art is Impressionism. It's an approach to painting originated by a group of French painters, and although each member had a unique style, they all shared many things in common that gave their paintings a distinct look.

Paint outdoors on location. The Impressionists painted directly from nature; so should you. They attempted to look at the landscape as objectively as possible, recording how natural light illuminates the clouds, trees, grass and buildings around them. There's no substitute for painting what you really see outside.

Don't overdo hard edges. The Impressionists weren't "paint by number" painters. That is, they didn't outline a shape with line then "color it in," like in a coloring book. Instead, they built up shapes with strokes and touches of color that softened the edges in their paintings.

Suggest detail; don't describe it. Look at your subject matter comprehensively; don't fixate on individual details. Try squinting to obscure sharp detail. Trying to see and paint every detail will distract you from the overall impression you're trying to create.



Direct vs. Indirect Oil Painting
What are direct and indirect oil painting?
Paint is applied to a surface either directly or indirectly. Direct painting involves applying one layer of paint to a surface. Indirect painting involves painting a surface with many different layers of paint to create rich tones and numerous effects.

Oil Paint Colors
What are oil paint colors?
Oil paint colors are unmatched for purity, quality, and permanence. Oil paints are considered to be the highest quality paint type for mixing colors for shading. Oil paint colors date back to the 16th century when it was used to decorate wooden shields.

Painting 'Fat' Over 'Lean'
What does painting 'Fat' over 'Lean' mean?
Have you heard the term painting fat over lean? This term refers to a basic rule of painting with oils. Oil that is used directly from the tube is thick and is the “fat.” “Lean” paint is oil paint that has been thinned. When painting in layers you should always apply the thin paints first.
If you apply the thick paints first this can cause your paint to crack. When working in layers each new layer of paint should be thicker than the underlying layer of paint.
Preserving leftover Oil Paints
How do you preserve leftover oil paints?
The moment your paint hits the air it starts to dry out. Preserving leftover paint does not have to be an issue. Simply cover the entire palette in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer.

Student vs. Professional Oil Paints
What are the different grades of oil paints?
Oil paints come in student and professional grades. Student grade oil paint carries a lower concentration of pigment. It also has a smaller range of color options to choose from versus professional grade oil paint. However, the less expensive student grade paint is a great alternative for students and beginning artists. Using student grade oil paint gives the option of experimenting without feeling like you are wasting your money while learning.

The Health Hazards of Oil Painting
How can I avoid the health hazards of oil painting?
Being an artist who oil paints can pose a risk to your health. Pigments that contain metals such as lead or chromium can easily be absorbed through your skin. Solvents like turpentine and varnish are also harsh on the skin. These solvents also produce fumes that should not be inhaled for long periods of time. Experiment with newer and safer products such as turpenoid. You can also try using linseed for thinning your paints. You should always paint in a well ventilated area.

The Ingredients of Oil Paints
What are oil paints made of?
Oil paints are made of natural pigments that are suspended in oil that acts as a binder. The most common oil found in oil paint is linseed oil, although walnut oil, sunflower oil and poppy oil can also be used. Many manufacturers also add other ingredients such as stabilizers for texture and dryers to aid the drying process.

The Vocabulary of Oil Painting
What are the popular terms of oil painting?
Oil painting has its own language. Most of the terms have their origins in Italian. For instance, impasto, means a thick application of paint. Alla prima means ‘all at once' or completing a painting in one sitting. Chiaroscuro literally means ‘light dark' and describes the contrast of light to dark to create a dramatic effect.

Varnishing Your Oil Painting
When do you varnish an oil painting?
Were you aware that your finished oil paintings should have a coating of varnished applied to it? Did you also know that it could be six months or longer before your oil painting is fully dry? Your painting should be stored in a dust free area while it is drying. Be careful when you apply varnish and make sure it is the correct gloss. Dammar Varnish is a high gloss while ConservArt Varnish has a lower glossy finish. Matt Varnish will produce a matt finish.

Varnishing Your Oil Painting
How do you varnish an oil painting?
When you are applying varnish to your dried oil painting use a flat brush. Lay the painting on a flat surface and use long strokes and work from top to bottom. You should always apply the varnish in the same direction. It takes about a day for a coat of varnish to dry. Once it has dried, apply the second coat of varnish at right angles to the first application.

Paper is popular for sketching in oil and also liked by professionals for its texture and drag. Contrary to hearsay advice, using paper is acceptable for oil painting. It is recommended however that good quality heavy water colour paper is used, thinly primed with Acrylic Gesso Primer.
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