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Introduction to Oil Painting Techniques

00:05  Oil painting through the ages
02:11  Seeing an oil painting in real life
02:30  Challenges of oil painting
05:30  Learning oil painting
07:51  Safety hazards
08:18  Protective gear
09:50  Ventilation
11:23  Disposal of solvents
12:28  Cotton rags
13:22  Toxic oil paint colors
14:04  Palettes for oil painting

16:27  Placing colors on the palette
17:17  Oil paint colors
20:06  Strength of specific paint colors
23:34  Mixing your own black
26:18  Types of palette knives
28:56  How to clean brushes
34:36  Oil Medium recipe
37:48  Liquin & cold wax medium
39:33  Oil medium between layers
40:10  Starting the painting
41:02  Underpainting

42:17  Blocking in colors
44:21  Painting a jack fruit
46:50  Painting with layers
47:39  “Fat over lean”
51:44  Brush techniques
58:56  Opaque & transparent paint
59:49  Varnishing
01:02:53  Cohesion in colors
01:09:50  Painting mastercopies
01:05:04  Mixing colors in advance
01:08:42  Complementary color still lifes
01:10:44  Bloopers

00:05  Seeing colors as a group
00:37  Pre-mixing colors
00:56  Squinting
01:32  Palette knife
01:55  Lighting on the lobster
02:32  Warm & cool colors
02:42  Mixing base colors
03:34  Mixing small quantites of color
04:24  Mixing a shadow tone

05:14  Mixing the highlights
07:58  Sketching with paint
09:22  Painting is not about accuracy
09:56  Blocking in colors
11:52  Painting the negative space
12:28  Assigning a color to each brush
15:04  Creating a plan of action
17:17  Training your eye to see colors
19:54  Tube wringer

22:52  Don’t critique yourself as you paint
23:43  Reinforcing the lighting
26:13  Glazing (transparent paint)
27:41  Opaque vs. transparent paint
28:58  Dry brushing
29:33  Painting details
30:31  When is the painting is done?
37:33  Closeups of the finished painting

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Alex Rowe, Illustrator & Children's Book Artist

Alex Rowe
Illustrator & Children’s Book Artist

♪ Alex’s Studio Playlist ♪

Owen Rival

Owen Rival

Catherine Huang

Cat Huang
Illustrator & Comics Artist

00:12    Dry time
00:46   Benefits of acrylic
00:56    Hazards of oil
03:13    Slowing/Extending dry time
03:35   Choosing colors
05:09   Black paint
06:05    White paint
06:47    Palette knives

08:14   Painting mediums
09:10   Oil brushes vs. acrylic brushes
10:24   Thumbnail sketches
11:36    Sketching in pencil or paint
13:03   Painting in layers
13:59   Painting takes patience
14:42   Painting with a cotton rag
15:47   “Fat over lean”

17:05   Clean up
17:45   Silicoil brush cleaning tank
20:10   Student grade, pro grade paint
22:31   Poor quality supplies
23:01   Brush techniques
24:04   Getting started with painting
25:42   There’s no wrong way to paint
26:52   Bloopers

Winsor & Newton

Materials provided by Winsor & Newton

Fredrix Canvas

Materials provided by Fredrix Canvas


Set up a still life painting and paint from direct observation using oil paint.

Core Ideas

Composition, Color, Texture, Lighting

Recommended Tutorials

00:11   Which surface to use?
01:42   When to stretch a canvas
01:55   Archival surfaces
02:18   Canvas paper
03:45   Canvas boards
04:47   Pre-stretched canvases
06:03  Stretching your own
01:18   Acrylic gesso intro
08:10   Clear gesso intro
08:42   Rabbitskin glue intro
10:00   Types of canvas

01:33   Watercolor canvas
12:22   Stretching paper flat
13:30   Masonite & wood
14:14   Large scale canvases
16:03   Re-using stretcher bars
17:42    Assembling stretchers
19:38   Stretching canvas techniques
20:25   Canvas pliers
25:10   Applying gesso
27:52   Loose canvases: canvas keys
29:12   Sanding gesso

29:52   Stretching paper flat
34:16   Stretching paper on bars
37:53   Rabbitskin glue overview
38:46   Oil primer overview
40:03   Mixing rabbitskin glue
43:48   Applying oil primer
49:59   Cleaning up oil primer
51:10   Heavy duty stretcher bars
53:47   Assembling heavy duty bars
56:39   Very large scale canvases
57:58   Bloopers

Painting Surface Supply Lists

Pre-made surfaces
canvas paper, canvas board, stretched canvas

Stretching canvas on a stretcher bar frame
standard stretcher bars, staple gun, staples, canvas keys, canvas or linen, sandpaper, canvas pliers

Stretching paper flat
Rives BFK or watercolor paper, china bristle brush, towel, large flat tray for water or bathtub, acrylic gesso, paper tape, 3/4″ thick plywood, utility knife

Stretching paper on a stretcher bar frame
standard stretcher bars, staple gun, staplesRives BFK or watercolor paper, china bristle brush, towel, tray for water or bathtub, acrylic gesso

Clear gesso on masonite/wood
W&N clear gesso, untempered masonite, 3/4″ thick plywood, other types of wood,  sandpaper, china bristle brush

Rabbitskin glue & oil primer
canvas or linen, rabbitskin glue, tablespoon measure, plastic container for rabbitskin glue, boiling water, oil primer, palette knife, gloves, linseed oil, china bristle brush, canvas pliersstandard stretcher bars, staple gun, staples, canvas keys

Taking a canvas apart
screwdriver or needle nose pliers

Heavy duty canvases
heavy duty staple gun, heavy duty staples, heavy duty stretcher bars, cross braces, canvas pliers

Art Supplies: Canvas Stretcher
Art Supplies: Canvas Stretcher
Art Supplies: Canvas Pliers
Art Supplies: Fredrix canvas
Art Supplies: Canvas Keys
Art Supplies: Heavy Duty Staple Gun
Art Supplies: Acrylic Gesso
Art Supplies: Clear Gesso
Art Supplies: Cross Brace
Fredrix Heavy Duty Stretcher Bars
Art Supplies: Heavy Duty Staples
Art Supplies: Linen canvas
Art Supplies: Canvas Paper
Rives BFK Paper
Art Supplies: Tablespoon measure
Art Supplies: Rabbitskin Glue
Oil painting primer
Art Supplies: 3/4" thick Plywood
Art Supplies: Off Set Palette Knife
Gummed Paper Tape
Art Supplies: Fredrix Watercolor Canvas
Art Supplies: Hot Press Watercolor Paper
Art Supplies: Canvas board
Boiling Water for Rabbitskin Glue
Art Supplies: Scissors
Art Supplies: Utility Knife
Art Supplies: Needlenose Pliers

Oil Painting Supplies

Winsor & Newton Linseed oil
Winsor & Newton Liquin
Winsor & Newton Stand Oil
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Retouch Varnish
Squeeze Bottle
Gamblin Gamsol
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Titanium White
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Alizarin Crimson
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Cadmium Red
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Cadmium Lemon
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Yellow Ochre
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Burnt Siena
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Cerulean Blue
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Ultramarine Blue
Art Supplies: Oil Paint, Viridian
Art Supplies: Oil Paint, Burnt Umber
D&L Hand Cleaner
Art Supplies: Gojo Cleaner
Art Supplies: Cotton Rag
Window Scraper
Art Supplies: Wide Palette Knife
Art Supplies: Oil Medium

1 part linseed oil, 1 part stand oil,
3 parts gamsol

Art Supplies: Picture Varnish
Art Supplies: Artist's Picture Cleaner
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Artguard
Art Supplies: Tube Wringer
Art Supplies: Gamblin Cold Wax Medium
Art Supplies: Latex Gloves

Partial Video Transcript, Painting Surfaces

Alex: “Painting’s an interesting medium because there are so many choices and options. Not least of all, the surface you paint on.”

Prof Lieu: “I think a lot of it depends on your situation, like the amount of time that you have and also the type of work that you’re doing.”

Alex: “Yeah, I did a big painting that was commissioned and they really wanted archival quality materials including canvas, gesso, the stretchers, all of it. And then if I’m just at home, practicing with a new color or testing out a new type of paint, I’ll even paint on an old cardboard box, you know?”

Prof Lieu: “Or sometimes when I was in art school and I didn’t think about it in advance, I was running to painting class like, ‘Oh shoot I need something to paint on!’ I’d run to the store, grab a stretched canvas, and go to class.

Alex: “They all serve their own purpose, but you can definitely notice when you’re painting on a pre-stretched canvas, or a piece of cardboard obviously, or a really nice canvas you’ve stretched yourself. It’s so hard to get into painting because they can seem just like a monumental feat to get all the paints you need, all the supplies, the brushes, the canvases. When you’re starting to test something out, I don’t think that a cheaper, pre-stretched canvas is going to make or break your experience.

Prof Lieu: “I don’t think so at all. I mean definitely, I have personal preferences. For example, I tend to really like rabbit skin glue and oil primer, but whenever I’m teaching a beginning painting class, I don’t start with that because it’s overwhelming.”

Alex: “There were so many painting classes where you start off and the supply list is just like, ‘I’m sorry, whAT???’”

Prof Lieu: “I’m just going to break the bank to find the basic supplies and I would say if you’re just dipping your feet into the water, I don’t think it’s worth it to stretch your own canvas. I think just a pre-stretched canvas, that’s totally sufficient for your needs. I really think it’s people who are concerned about the archival nature of their work – if it’s going to last long term – that’s when you really need to spend time on it. And some of these processes take a long time.”

Alex: “Oh yeah!”

Prof Lieu: “Oil primer takes like two weeks to dry. Gesso is overnight.”

Alex: “Like you said, you’ve developed your own preferences for it. You have to learn the medium in general to see what those preferences are.”

Prof Lieu: “Probably, the most affordable option for a surface to paint on would be canvas paper. It usually comes in a pad so you can get many sheets at a time. It’s pre-primed, so you don’t even have to bother with gesso-ing it. This is for when you have no time at all and you really need something to paint on right away.”

Alex: “More-so, I use this for things like on-the-go. I don’t often do plein air painting, but when I do, something like this is great because if you tear out the individual sheets, you can roll them, fold them. And then if you just get some painter’s tape around to box it off, I can roll this up in a backpack, stick it in with my paints, and then you can just do a quick little painting study without needing to set up an easel or stretchers, or anything like that.

Prof Lieu: “But I think one of the disadvantages of it is that you can see it’s just floppy. So it’s really flimsy, it’s not going to be a very sturdy surface, and you have to tape it onto something else. So it’s not terrific in terms of being really sturdy compared to the other options our there.”

Alex: “I think that that difference is so vast, that if you’re just trying out- like let’s say you’re just looking into whether or not you like acrylic or oil better. I would say that this is not an accurate representation of what either of those mediums can do. This is the thing where if you know what you’re working with, then you recognize how this is a different surface and you kinda plan for that. But if you just kind of start painting for the first time on this, it can be a completely different experience.”

Prof Lieu: “The next step up from canvas paper, I would say, is a canvas board. So this one here is made by Fredrix’s and it’s basically just canvas paper with a board behind it.”

Alex: “They come in all different sizes and I get some of the smaller 8x8s, and anytime I’m doing color studies, or film studies or something like that, they’re just perfect to sit on your lap as you sit on the couch and just play around with the painting.”

Video Transcript, Glass Palette

Alex: “Anytime I use acrylic paint since it dries so quickly, I’ve never really thought about the palette. Like it ruins any palette that you’ll get and so I end up just using pieces of scrap paper, cardboard.”

Prof Lieu: “Are you serious?”

Alex: “Yea! Because I just don’t know a way to work around it, but you were telling me that like a glass palette will change everything”

Prof Lieu:  “I’m like horrified that you use a piece of cardboard as a palette. That to me is just..”

Alex: “Just sort of like whatever I can grab can be used as a palette.“

Prof Lieu: “That’s just awful!”

Alex: “I used an envelope once, it was a small painting.”

Prof Lieu: “Alright, well the glass palette is just such a game changer. I think one thing is that it’s a really sturdy stable surface that you can paint on. Where as a piece of cardboard is not really like that. But, mostly for me, it has to do with the cleaning part. Because what you do is when you have the paint on the glass palette, you just use this window scraper and this has a razer blade at the end and you just scrape it off, and it comes off like magic.

It’s the greatest thing and so if the paint is dry, it just comes off. If it’s wet, you scrape it up and then you take a rag and you just wipe it off.  Then it’s like a perfectly clean palette every single time. So you end up with a really clean set of brushes.

You can use it for acrylic paint too. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing oil or acrylic. To make a glass palette, you want to start with a sheet of foam board, a sheet of grey paper, and then a sheet of glass. “

Alex: “Why do you have to use a gray paper?”

Prof Lieu: “You don’t have to, I mean if you really want to have a white palette you can. My argument for it is that , if you have a middle gray, it allows you to see your whites much better. Because, if you have a white palette and you put  white paint on it, you don’t really understand how bright that white really is. Where as if you put white paint on a gray palette, it’s really clear how bright that white is.

You take the three items, you’re going to put the gray paper on first. This is the glass right on top like this. Making sure that all the corners line up. Then you’re going to take some duct tape. You’re going to make the duct tape a little bit longer than one of the sides of the palette. A pair of scissors.

You want to put the duct tape so it’s like half of the duct tape is over the glass. So you’re going to put it down like this, press it down like that, and then you just lift this up and bend this over to the other side. The duct tape is really strong, so once you have it on there, it’s pretty much not going to go anywhere else. So that’s one edge and then you go through and you do all four edges. Then, when you’re all done, you can end up with this beautiful glass palette.”

Alex: “ Perfect!”

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