Techniques III - Oil Painting

When someone asks you, ‘Do you want to learn to oil paint?’, what’s your first reaction? Maybe a bit of excitement, followed by fear? Then you think oil painting isn’t for you because it’s something you could never learn to do. Well, today’s 3T Art Blog is going to change that misconception.


Oil is a wonderful medium to work in. To get you on your way, we’re going to discuss a bit of the history of oil paints and then we’ll dive into different techniques to use when you’re working with oils. I’m also going to introduce you to oil painter Cathy Fairs. I know you’re going to love her work as much as I do!



Brief History of Oil Paint


Oil paints have been around for centuries. It wasn’t until 2008 that paintings by anonymous Buddhist artists were discovered on the walls at Bamiyan, in Afghanistan, at a settlement along the Silk Road. It’s thought the paintings date back to around 650 CE (AD). Evidence suggests artists used a wide array of pigments with different binders such as linseed oil, poppy seed oil, along with safflower and walnut oils. These ingredients may have also been boiled with pine resin or frankincense to create the varnish they used to seal their work. Their techniques in making oil paint and varnish were quite advanced for the time and needed to be perfected over time which leads experts to think that oil paints were used in Asia before the 7th century.