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Oil Paint

Oil Paint is the most versatile artistic medium. It can be applied in thin transparent glazes or thick opaque coats, with a wide range of possibilities in between. It is easy to mix a wide range of colors, tones and chromas with oil paint and it is possible to work in multiple layers; once the previous layer dries. My favorite oil paint is Old Holland due to its intense pigmentation and the way it dries in to "flesh". Old Holland Oil Paint is VERY EXPENSIVE though. The two best options after Old Holland are Gamblin and Rembrant Oil Colors.  

Old Holland Classic Oil Colors

Old Holland Classic Oil Colors

Merrill's Opinion- You are going to FREAK OUT....FLIP OUT.....or yell HELL NO when you see the PRICES (I have to get that warning out of the way before you read more). But, this is Oil Paint in its PUREST form and YES, there is a difference, especially after it dries. Many companies add fillers such as marble dust to their paints to increase their margins (just think McDonalds and hamburgers). This, as I'm sure you'll agree, is evil and wrong, and whether you're buying paints or playing online poker games, you should get what you pay for. But a little bit of this paint will last you a long time. But a little bit of this paint will last you a long time. I am STILL USING tubes of this paint that I first opened ten years ago (and used quite often).

My advice would be to buy at least one tube now and slowly accumulate a collection over time. I have VERY FEW "vices" but one of my biggest vices is Old Holland paint! They are TRULY an ADDICTION!!!!! 



Basic Set

Rembrandt Oil Colors: Basic Set

Merrill's Opinion: This is a fantastic set for a beginner Oil Painter. Rembrandt paint is of high quality and you can mix these colors to create any color that you need. I would recommend adding an extra tube of Titanium White. It is more opaque than the Zinc White and in painting, white is added to almost every mixture. It contains 6 colors in 15 ml (0.5 oz) tubes, including one each of Zinc White (Safflower), Permanent Yellow Medium, Permanent Red Medium, Carmine, Ultramarine Deep, and Phthalo Green Blue.

Gamblin Artist's Oil Colors

Gamblin Artist's Oil Colors

Merrill's Opinion: The best "Value" in paint today. I started using Gamblin Paints at the Art Students League of New York and I haven't stopped ten years later.


What is Glazing? The technical answer is 1.) multiple thin layers of transparent oil paint (applied at the end of a painting)....but what I want YOU to remember is 2.) Glazing is pure magic 3.) Knowing how to glaze will take your painting abilities to the next level. 1.) Why glazing is an important painting strategy 2.) (We will touch a little bit on) The science of refracted light 3.) Which paints to use. (How can you tell if a paint is a glazing color?) 4.) Which brushes to use for glazing 5.) How to do it! (The technique of glazing oil paint) Glaze layers happen at the final stages of a painting, so lets take you to the end of the painting that you just saw right now. I am going to keep things concise and to the point. Give me your full attention for the next few minutes and you will acquire a solid understanding of glazing. 1- Why is glazing an important painting strategy? Think about the last time that you had a sunburn. When sunburns heal, a layer of skin usually peels off your body. Take a second to remember what that skin looks like. The peel of skin is very thin, smooth and it is possible to see light through it. Our outermost layers of skin, the epidermis, is comprised of multiple layers of skin similar to the peeled layer of skin that you just imagined. Glazing, the application of multiple, thin, transparent to translucent layers, is like the epidermis of a painting and it is important for an artist to know how to glaze so that he or she can get a more life like effect to their work. 2- The Science of Refracted Light Light refracts through the transparent and translucent layers of a painting. In other words, it penetrates these layers and picks up any color that these layers contain. A good analogy for this concept is a seashell on the beach. Think of how the color of a seashell seems to change when it is covered with ocean water. The shell seems to change color, but in actuality, all physical characteristics of the shell remain the same. The sunlight refracting through the water alters the shells appearance just as glaze layers affect the final appearance of a painting. 3- Which paints to use Paint colors have different characteristics. For instance, red, is not just red when it comes to painting. Cadmium red, the color on the left, is extremely opaque and has a great covering power. The color on the right, alizarin crimson is extremely transparent with a lesser covering power. Notice how you can see the blue line through the alizarin crimson, but not the cadmium red. Most paint companies label the outside of their paint tubes to communicate these differences. Usually a box or circle is used to say if a paint is transparent, translucent or opaque. A filled box or circle is a symbol stating that a color is opaque while the opposite is true if a paint is transparent. When you glaze, you would add painting medium such as liquin to the paint. It is easy to glaze with transparent colors such as alizarin crimson but it is also possible to glaze with the cadmium red. In order to glaze with an opaque color, use a little bit of paint and a lot of painting medium. I would advise any beginner or novice painter to stick with transparent and translucent paints. 4.) Which brushes to use When you glaze, have multiple soft tipped brushes within reach. A variety of sizes and shapes including round tip and fan brushes are ideal. Now we are ready for the demonstration I did the glazing in three sittings over 21 days. It is important to let the paint thoroughly dry between glazes. If it doesnt, you will start picing up some of the previous layer. Notice that I am starting off by using two brushes. One to apply paint and the other to move the paint around. This is called dry brush technique and it is your most important glazing strategy. Dry brush gives you a smooth untextured finish...... I wouldnt recommend this for anyone trying glazing for the first time, but I am actually using titanium white when I create a highlight.....that is a white with extreme covering power....equal to what you saw with cadmium red. I use that only in the brighter highlight areas and when I use it, I use a ton of painting medium with it. ........ The shadows get a little tricky, I try to look at my reference photo to match the shape but I am very aware of their edges as well. If there is a soft edge, I soften it with another dry brush....This is VERY IMPORTANT....Do not clean your brush in mineral spirits or turpenoid. Instead, just wipe your brush on a paper towel because those paint thinners will dissolve the entire glaze.....If a brush becomes unworkable, put it aside and use another soft tipped brush.

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