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Tips For Mixing Oil Paints

Annette Labedzki

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Oil Painting dates back to the ancient Roman times. In the ancient times, most of the Cave Paintings were done using Oil Paints only, though the art form and its techniques evolved with time. One of the oldest mediums of Painting, Oil Paint has been able to deliver optimally beautiful results. The trend continues even today and selling Oil Paintings is a big business to be in.

No doubt, Oil Paints have been able to make their mark quite well in the world of art. In fact, when we say painting it is an artwork of Oil Paints we are usually referring to. Oil Painting is all about striking the right mix of colors and their proportionate application on the Canvas. Most artists may though initially get frustrated with the output, if they are not able to mix the right colors. Mixing Oil Paints requires certain amount of understanding of the way, the colors work.

Choice of a color by an artist is a personal decision, depending upon the purpose of the painting and the mood of the artist. Sometimes artists use colors to arouse emotions, or simply because they like certain color (s). Utmost care however, should be taken so that the colors do not conflict with the basic theme of the Oil Painting. This is where a Color Wheel comes in as a savior.

A Color Wheel has six basic colors, which include Primary Colors, Red, Blue, & Yellow, and Secondary Colors, Green, Orange, & Purple. The Color Wheel has extra “in-between" colors as well, that are the blends of these basic colors. The in-between colors are called Tertiary Colors. Now, here are the tips for mixing Oil Paints:

  • Primary Colors. Pick the Primary Colors i. e. , Blue, Red, and Yellow, as base colors. As long as you have these colors, you can mix any color you want.
  • Mixing Oil Paints. Mix these Primary Colors in the Palette and make sure that they are evenly mixed.
  • Black & White. Make different shades and tints from these colors by adding Black and White respectively. Using too much of Black or White though, can take away the vividness of hues.
  • Thinning. Now mix Turpentine or Artist Grade Mineral Spirits to create thin and fast drying Oil Paints. Thinning gives a fine wash and a transparent touch to Oil Paints. The use of Mineral Spirits is generally preferred, as they are less flammable in comparison to Turpentine.
  • Texturing. Finally, change the texture of the Oil Paint by using Sand, Plaster, or Sawdust. It is done to thicken the paint.

    Some of the accessory basic tips for mixing Oil Paints are:

  • Palette. Keep your Palette clean and organized, in order to avoid undesirable shades from mixing up.
  • Brush. Clean the Paint Brush before mixing any different color, again to avoid undesirable mixing ups.
  • Pigments. Be careful while using Pigments such as, Cadmium, as they are toxic.
  • Hues. Look out for Hues, as they are not the true Pigments and do not mix with the Oil Paints like them.
  • Patience. Be patient while mixing Oil Paints, and follow the above given steps carefully.

    Annette Labedzki received her BFA at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver, B. C. Canada. She has more than 25 years experience. She is the founder and developer of an online art gallery featuring original art from all over the world. It is a great site for art collectors to buy original art. Is is also a venue for artists to display and sell their art . Artists can join for free and their image upload is unlimited. Please visit the website at

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