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Oil painting has a long history in the art world. It offers a wide choice of colours ranging from rich and velvety dark tones to vivid and brilliant hues. It allows us to create a whole range of different effects, from translucent layers (glazes) to thick, creamy impasto. It also lends itself well to an infinite number of techniques, whether it be bold touches or fine details.


Canvases & Panels

A sufficiently thick cotton canvas stretched over a stable wooden frame and coated with an acrylic-based gesso will meet the needs of most artists. A canvas board (canvas glued to thick cardboard) is an interesting and economical alternative to a canvas mounted on a frame. However, it is sensitive to humidity and may warp over time.

Cotton, linen or synthetic fiber canvases are all good choices for oil painting, as are wood panels that provide a stiff, solid backing for heavy impasto.

How to choose the right canvas for your project >

How to prepare your canvas for painting >

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Paintbrushes

The choice of brush shape depends on the artist's preference. Hog hair bristles are a good choice for oil painting as their strength is well suited to working with thick paint. They allow you to create texture effects while still leaving a mark in the paint.

Thinner and more flexible, fade-resistant synthetic bristles or natural bristles (such as sable hair) can also be used for details and to create a smooth effect when the oil paint is thinned.

These tips will help you choose your paintbrushes >

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Solvents

Oil painting requires the use of solvents for two main purposes. Solvents added to the oil paint make it more fluid by diluting the oil. Solvents can also be used to clean brushes and paint accessories.

Learn more about the different solvents for oil paint > >

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