Core skills: applying oil paints
Howard Lyon continues his five-part series that will help you begin using oil paint. In this instalment he explains the many ways you can apply oils to the canvas
Howard Lyon reveals the many ways of getting the medium on to the canvas.
Oil paint is wonderfully versatile. It can be applied in thick expressive impastos, or thinned down and used almost like watercolours. It can be brushed or scrubbed, knifed on or scratched out, applied in washes or painted in patches. There are what seems like an endless variety of mediums and additives you can work with to create different effects.
However, you can use oils without adding a medium. Most of my work is done with paint direct from the tube. Some mediums are added to shorten or lengthen drying times; others change the characteristics of the paint. Paint out of the tube is often called stiff or short, and will retain your brush stroke – especially with coarser brushes. If you add fluid medium, such as linseed oil or turpentine, it becomes what’s known as long. It won’t retain the peaks of the brush strokes, but will level out.
Paintings are generally more interesting when you use a variety of techniques when applying paint. It’s another form of contrast that provides variety and complexity. Howard has worked as an illustrator and art director, as well as a fine artist for galleries and collectors. You can see his art at www.howardlyon.com.