Oil Paint

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Oil Paints Properties

Many artists prefer oil painting to all the other types. The cause lies in the properties of oil paints thanks to which, it is more suitable for incarnating a vision in a painting.

Oil paints, made of high-quality pigments, have some useful characteristics:

  • easy to mix, light-resistant;
  • quick-drying, time-proof;
  • could be applied in several layers;
  • do not change color when drying out;
  • allow working in different techniques;
  • corrections are possible after drying;
  • durable, lightfast.

There is no need to talk about the disadvantages of oil paints since only the low-quality products can have cons. In general, oil paints are made of high-grade pigments, as well as oil, in compliance with technologies.

Oil Paint


The most important components of oil paints are coloring pigment and oil. For centuries, natural linseed oil was used to improve the properties of oil paints. Admittedly, it has been the main component up to now. Furthermore, oil is the main binder on which the quality and durability of the paint depend.

Pigments for oil painting are carefully ground and mixed with binder agents according to a special technology. The balance between coloring pigments and binders is crucial to the quality. Saturation, purity of shade light fastness, and naturalness are the properties pigments should have. Meanwhile, the main purpose of the binder is to create the right body.

Besides, the artists also use solvents – special additional materials reducing the viscosity of oil colors. Two types of solvents are usually used - white spirit and terpenes.

Besides, the artists also use solvents – special additional materials reducing the viscosity of oil colors. Two types of solvents are usually used - white spirit and terpenes.

Types of Oil Paints

First of all, paints are divided according to the kind of oil painters - professional and amateur. The properties of both oil paints differ since the professional ones are of higher quality. Paints for amateurs have varying drying times, weak paste consistency, and low light fastness, although it could look quite attractive at first sight.

Oil Paint Set

By origin, oil paints are divided into natural and synthetic. Synthetic paints contain artificial pigments. Other types are organic and inorganic. Artificial inorganic pigments are more commonly used nowadays. They are distinguished by constant chemical composition and structure, brightness, and color purity, which, as in natural pigments, is due to compounds of various metals. Therefore, they are also called artificial mineral pigments

Oil Colors

Besides, oil colors are opaque, translucent, and transparent. Also, paints are distinguished by light fastness, the level of light resistance is indicated by asterisks (the more stars, the greater the light fastness of the paint).

Color Palette

The names of colors and the names of oil paints do not always coincide. As a rule, paint contains the name of the substances it is made of. To be honest, it is quite confusing for beginner artists. However, you need to know the basic colors.

Look at some examples of the oil paints color names

Cadmium Yellow
Cadmium Yellow

Consequently, it is difficult to guess the color only from its name.

In addition to the quality of oil colors, it is necessary to carefully choose everything you need for work - the basis for drawing, brushes, a painting knife, a solvent.

There is no definite answer to the question of which surface is the best for oil paints. You can create oil painting on almost everything, including wood. The main thing is that a canvas should be sized or sealed, and made, if possible, of natural materials.

Besides, you need both brushes and painting knives. In general, the choice of instrument depends on the techniques, the personal wishes of an artist.

Are Oil Paints Toxic?

Linseed oil is safe and cannot harm because one can even season a salad with it. However, pigments can be harmful, but only if they are taken orally since they are not volatile. Also, thanks to the efforts of health organizations, almost no paints contain truly harmful substances, such as lead or mercury salts.

Art varnishes, as a rule, are of natural origin and, at least, are not toxic. However, they always contain essential oils, which may well have a different effect, including allergies. In the absence of the allergy to essential oil, the use of artistic varnishes and pinene is quite acceptable.

Among other things, it must be borne in mind that the larger the painted area, and therefore the evaporation area, the stronger the smells are. After the work, it is necessary to air the place out.

Do not forget about solvents, which have a smell. White spirit is a hydrocarbon that is extracted from petroleum products. It is colorless, smells kerosene, well soluble. Terpenes are hydrocarbons of natural origin. It is most often colorless, smells like pine needles.