Oil painting


July 5, 2022

Oil painting - a painting technique that uses oil paints. This technique consists of coating taut and primed canvas, smooth plank or other support with paints consisting of linseed oil (or less frequently other drying vegetable oils, e.g. hemp, poppy) and appropriate pigments. Wax was also used occasionally, which acted as a stabilizer that slowed the separation of linseed oil from pigments. Oil painting has a lot of freedom in choosing and mixing colors, obtaining a matte or gloss effect. The effects of translucency, color diffusion and complex textures as well as impasto are easily created. Once you've mastered the basics of the workshop, it's a relatively easy and graceful technique. It enables multiple retouching by applying successive layers of paint to the image. Oil paintings are also very durable.

History of Oil Painting

Basically, the recipe for producing these paints did not change for over 300 years, until the beginning of the 20th century. The first important change was the start of "packing" in lead-tin tubes (which allowed for trouble-free transfer of paints outdoors - this technological solution significantly influenced the development of impressionism), and then aluminum. In the course of further development, in order to reduce the price of paints, most of the natural pigments were gradually replaced with synthetic pigments (this process was initiated in the 19th century and was completed in the 1950s). At the end of the 20th century, a technological breakthrough was made, creating water-based oil paints.

Oil painting techniques

There are (aside from the experimental techniques) basically two basic techniques of oil painting: classic (layered, glaze) developed from the 15th / 16th century as a natural consequence of tempera techniques. It consists in applying a thin, monochromatic tempera or oil undercoat to a colored mortar (primer, primer), then the so-called imprimity (layers of colored varnish or shellac), and then several or a dozen or so layers of semi-opaque or transparent (glaze) oil or oil-resin paints (with the addition of natural resins or balsams). Pictures painted with this technique have exceptionally sophisticated colors and extraordinary depth of colors. alla prima ("from the first time"), developed from the 18th century, consists in the implementation of a creative idea by placing one, sometimes very thick and modeled with the movement of a hard brush or putty (impasto) layer of opaque oil paints, sometimes mixed directly on the picture. A variation of this technique is pointillism (created by Georges Seurat, used by post-impressionists). In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, along with the huge variety of emerging styles and painting trends, "free" techniques of oil painting alla prima emerged, with the use of various, sometimes accidental tools (eg bicycle - Jackson Pollock) and "non-painting" materials

Contemporary oil paints

As research conducted at the University of Ca 'Foscari has shown, oil paints, selected from every price range, contain organic and inorganic additives that have a negative impact on both the pigments and the drying process of the paints. The additives detected in the paints subjected to spectrographic analysis are: stearates (loss of volume of the paint when drying), castor wax, beeswax (never dries), safflower and poppy oil (the paint does not dry out in the absence of UV rays, does not form linoxide, absorbs water). The presence of inorganic fillers was also discovered: gypsum, silica, kaolin and calcium carbonate called chalk - it deteriorates the quality of the paint, although it has always been used, it reacts with acids, protecting the pigment.During the analysis of only one series of English studio paints, the presence of: kaolin, silica, barium sulphate was found