Is Oil Paint the Right Choice for You?

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Advantages of Oil Paint:

Dries slowly, allowing plenty of time to work and to blend colors. Once dried, can be over-painted without disturbing underlying layers. Rich, deep colors which maintain their intensity when dry. Can be used thickly or in thin, smooth glazes. Then there’s the status factor, oils being what the Old Masters used.

Disadvantages of Oil Paint:

Thinned with solvent and/or oils, so need to work in a well-ventilated area. Slow-drying, so consider working on several paintings at once. Using an alkyd medium will speed up drying. Have to wait several months to ensure a painting is dry before it can be varnished. Brushes usually cleaned with solvent, though you can use oil or dishwashing liquid.

How Expensive is Oil Paint to Use?

There is a large range of oil paints on the market, from top-quality paints with high pigment content to cheap paints with little pigment and lots of filler. You will need a selection of colors, at least one brush, some canvas to paint on, medium to dilute the paint, a palette for putting out your colors and mixing them.

Water-Soluble Oils

A relatively new alternative to traditional oil paint is water-soluble oils. These are formulated to thin with water, and can be mixed with traditional oils.

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