Before the twentieth century artist's were trained as an apprentice in a
strict tradition. Most artist's had very little exposure to
alternative methods. The apprentice was taught the method of the Master
painter, and in their own time, after years of success, would begin to
develop their own unique style without much deviation from what they
were previously taught. Eventually, more self expression was allowed,
and in today's time, we are quite spoiled by the many choices, and this
can hinder our own progress. So, to bring some clarity to the issue,
lets simplify the ways of applying paint to 3 main methods.
The Transparent Method
The transparent method starts from the 15th century. Flemish pioneers of oil paintings used oil-rich transparent glazes over a pale ground. Light falls through the glazed color, reflecting back off the ground in a similar way to sunlight goes through stained glass. This method is like watercolors in that the layers are built up gradually. A great deal of the color mixing can take place in the overlaying of one color on top of another. An example would be a first glaze of blue, and after allowed to dry, then a rich glaze of yellow on top will produce a luminous green that is unattainable with any other method or medium.
The Opaque Method
Most modern techniques include this method of applying paint. Physically mixing of paint to create the color, and placing this color directly to the support for an immediate and solid painted stroke. The use of a solid opaque paint layer dates back to the 17th Century. Some artist's would work from dark ground up through the light colors. Some would work from a middle ground down to darks and up to the lights. Using the opaque paints also allowed for impasto and brushwork to be very visible.
The Opaque method can also be associated with Alla Prima form of painting. I have a little more information here on alla prima, an oil painting process.
The Combined Method
Most painters use this method. The idea of using deep transparent glazes for shadow work, with thicker, opaque light masses has been used shortly after oil painting became a standard medium in the late 15th century.
It takes some skill to be able to move from transparent to opaque methods. But that's the idea behind these oil painting lessons and this website as a whole, to pull you up to a skill level that will allow you to do this without much thinking behind it! You just paint and enjoy the thrill of seeing your work being born on the canvas!
Why is the combined method the most widely used. I believe it has
something to do with getting the best of both methods. Your darks and
mid-tones, half shadows, though dark, still glow with a luminous quality
that no photograph or any other other painting technique can achieve.
Your well light areas and highlights, because they are opaque and tend
to extend beyond the canvas plane will pick up more light within the
room, again achieving a sparkling effect that no other means can
duplicate. To see for yourself, do visit a major museum and look for
the Flemish Masters paintings to compare to other modern day works. The
pieces are over 400 years old, and are rarely exceeded in beauty by
Thanks for hanging in here and reading more about these oil painting lessons. We would love to see some of your work!
Listed here are a couple of oil painting lessons, exercises and tips that will help you accomplish your painting goals!
I've added a new lesson for learning from the master's. It is a technique that has been in use for hundreds of years and is practiced in every major metropolitan museum up to today's time!
It will help you too! Click here to begin learning a time honored tradition in learning from the masters by copying famous paintings.
You'll see why those folks have all that gear set up in the museums and look like they are having so much FUN!
Like using photography for your painting reference material. I do too! Click here to see more about painting from a photo.
Your gonna find a table of contents box that has several links to various lessons within it. Because these are kinda stand alone lessons separate from learning the Flemish technique, I've bundled them here.
Besides the many oil painting lessons, I also have drawing lessons and exercises, to some very basic art instructions. I've just included an article on Oil Painting Basics.
that you find an easier starting point if you are a Beginner!
Now, if this still is a bit too much at one time, let me recommend a great coarse. Maybe you need a lot of help?
I've found a fantastic course that covers everything you need as a beginner.
Read my review of this course, Learn & Master Painting here!
As you probably see, this page is a launching point for a number of other oil painting lessons that stand on their own. Check out this article to see if your painting will stand up to a judges merit!
We also have lessons on several area's of artistry. From learn to draw to composition in art (and harmonic armatures).
Also more complex armatures in art composition templates for painting.
This entire site is devoted to oil painting lessons that will help improve your endeavors in this medium. We also discuss other subjects within the art realm too. I even have some elementary lessons that including myself, need to be mindful of in form and modeling (shadows)
Please check them all out. As the site continues to grow, I'll be placing more oil painting lessons and links to articles that will help you in your quest to improve your skills.
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In the meantime, visit one of the links on the nav bar to discover all that is here. At present, there are over 400 pages of information here on the site, so take your time and enjoy!
Do sign up for my e-zine so that you will keep abreast of new pages added. The box for it is on the right column.
I've also collected a few You Tube videos on painting. There are so many of them, but these I have found to be particularly useful. Click here to view my collection of painting videos. You can always find your way back to here with the navigation bar on the left, or view similar pages with the mini-navigation bar on the upper right.
Let's head back to the top of oil painting lessons.
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