Utrecht Art Artist Oil color leaderboard 728x90


by S.A. Barone

As all artists know by the innumerable masterpieces exhibited on gallery walls of some of the most prestigious and famous museums worldwide, oil paint has created the most significant impact on the development of painting as visual art form.

Painting with oil on canvas seems to be a favored choice of serious painters because of its long-lasting color and variety of approaches and methods.  Oil paints have been used as far back as the 13th century, possibly even earlier.  Because artists were troubled by the excessive amount of drying time, and muted colors, several artists began to develop different methods and approaches to using oil.

Belgian painter, Jan van Eyck, developed it during the 15th century.  Van Eyck found a method that allowed painters an easier method of developing their compositions by mixing pigments with linseed and nut oils. Over time other artists improved on the recipe.   Artists Messina and Da Vinci improved upon the recipe by making it an ideal medium for representing details, forms and figures with a range of colors, shadows and depths.  Into the 20th century oil has been used by artists, such as Kandinsky, Picasso and Matisse.

Because of oils flexibility, oil could be easily removed from the canvas, allowing the artist to revise a work.  New developments in oil paints continued into the 20th century, with the coming of oil paint sticks, which were used by artist Jean-Michel Baquiat and Anselm Kiefer.  Since the Renaissance, the artist used oil to create works that continue to inspire, intrigue and delight us to this day.

Artist Giovanni Bellini used oil in 1480 to paint his “St. Francis in Ecstasy.  Artists used oil during the Baroque period, where artists sought to create light and shadow.  Rembrandt’s use of oil in 1642 in his work, “Night Watch” displayed the darks and detailed background with the crisp brightness of the golden garments.  In 1872 the Impressionists were born.   Monet used oil in his harbor painting with silhouettes and the suns reflections on the water.  Also Monet’s “Water Lilies” is another great example on how versatile and flexible oil paint really is.

 The refinement of oil painting came through long studies in perspective, proportion and human anatomy. There is so much history attached to oil paint that I could fill approximately 100 pages and I probably wouldn’t be done.

Happy Painting!

S. A. Barone

Shirley is a published children’s writer. She has publishing credits in Highlights for Children, Turtle, Children’s Playmate, Humpty Dumpty, and Chicken Soup for the Pre-teen Soul. Shirley has won a Distinguished Meritorious Service Award from the California School Boards Association for authoring an elective program that was adopted in schools in the Western United States and in areas of New York City. To learn more about Shirley and her art, visit www.sabarone.com
Editor's note:
If painting for the first time, and you want to learn which colors to use, begin with a starter set as shown below. Primary and secondary colors, white and black come standard and you can mix all the colors of the rainbow with just the primary colors, black and white.

The only things you are missing from this starter set are Windsor Newton's Liquin (for thinning the paint), and Turpenoid or Turpentine for cleaning brushes.

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