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Video:Oil Painting Tips

with Ethan Harrington

Want to learn some helpful tips and techniques for oil painting? This video will help explain the basics for oil painting before you get started.See Transcript

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Transcript:Oil Painting Tips

Hi! I am Ethan Harrington. I have been a Plein-Air Painter in Seattle for about 20 years, and today I just want to show you a few techniques about oil painting.

Basic Oil Paiting Tips

Anything that has to do with art is really all about ergonomics and just making sure that you always know where your stuff is. Just like a guitar is always going to be set up the same way, so that you can always know how to hit the notes, the same thing with my painting palette and all of my equipment on my easel.

Equipment for Oil Painting

My plein air traveling kit consists of my French easel and my French companion, which opens up here as a shelf that I can stick my paper palette in, and I have got my canister for mineral spirits and my various brushes and my palette knife.

Brushes for Oil Painting

There is a variety of different brushes to choose from. I recommend you try all the different brushes until you find the one that works for you. Just for the sake of demonstration, I have picked this park bench to do a little painting of. I am going to start by putting all of the paint down on my palette. I always put the paint down in the exact same order, so that I can paint even with my eyes closed. Doesn't really matter what colors you chooses as long as they are comfortable for you.

I like to add a painting medium to my oil paints, to help improve the flow and to help them dry a little faster. I like to work on the painting for maybe an hour or so and then come back the next day and everything I have done is dry, and that's what great about this painting medium.

Instructions for Oil Painting

The first thing I am going to do is get a little turpentine on my brush here and then pick some colors and get started. It doesn't really matter what colors you choose, you pretty much pick it random. There is nothing more intimidating than a blank white canvas. So you have just got to be bold and just make some marks.I like to really fill up the canvas as much as possible. I like to be sort of dynamic. But you don't have to be. There are lots of different ways to choose your composition.

Using Oil Paint

What's so great about oil painting is that I don't have to be precise in any way with my drawing at this point. I am just kind of mapping it out and I can pick and choose what I like and sort of reject what I don't like. To speed up this process, I sometimes use my paper towel to just kind of move the paint around.Oil painting is all about viscosity, man. So you just want to make sure that you can paint thick over thin paint and as long as you are using enough paint on your brush, you can blend really easily. But there is no need to start off all tight and nervous, which I would find myself doing when I started oil painting.

So that's how I get an oil painting started, and I could spend an hour on it or 15 more hours and really refine it. Thank you for watching and I will see you next time.

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