The Supreme Guide to Oil Paint

The supreme paint company plans not only to sell the finest oil painting materials available but to also educate and inform, building over time a resource for all oil painters to visit and learn more about the craft.

It is a big vision I have for this project and it will take time, however I want to post the progress on the blog, because an essential part of this project is input from others, and I hope that these posts will generate comment and ideas.

The resource will start initially with a guide to oil paint and how it is made and what it consists of and then moving onto how to paint, with insights into techniques and processes. So just below a close up of Van Gogh's sunflowers is the first part...

 

 

 

For me painting and drawing (the foundation of painting) are amazingly expressive art forms but also a craft and I think this is often forgotten, historically in the atelier system a painter would have spent years as an apprentice, learning how to grind pigments, prepare canvas, and many years drawing. 

We now live in a different world and whereas in the past painting was the only format to convey colourful lifelike images, now we are truly swamped by such images. The function has changed from a method of documenting and recording and expressing creative ideas, to now solely a creative expression.

Even today though, It can quite reasonably be argued a painting of an apple shows the apple in reality much more than a photograph, as the painting picks up on those indescribable, often imperceptible qualities lost in photography.

 

 

Above is one of the cave paintings from Lascaux, estimated to be 17,300 years old.

These are some of the earliest paintings yet discovered, and even 17,000 years later the process and paint has not changed that much. The paint within these is some kind of reddish earth and carbon, probably from burnt wood, both these pigments are commonly used today in oils paints although the medium (the substance which carries the pigment) was probably water.

I find it amazing that although pigments have moved on massively particularly in the last 200 years, the earth paints we use and which are essential to painting are the same. The paint we sell is just this, a medium (oil) and pigment, no additives or fillers which are commonly used in other cheaper paints.

To buy cheaper paint really is going to hold the painter back, financially it makes no sense as there is less pigment and more fillers in cheap paint, so you will need to use more of it and practically, mixing colours becomes very unpredictable and unsatisfactory as the individual 'hues' are often composed of many different pigments. When mixing the outcome is difficult to predict and manipulate, painting is hard enough without this complication!

It is best to learn some basic colour theory and invest in a small amount of quality paint.

 

I will soon post part 2 of the supreme guide to oil paint!

 

James Holman

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