Because they are oil based, with oil paints you cannot clean your brushes with water. You will need clean pots of white spirit. Turpentine or some other suitable solvent. You will also need clean brushes a palette knife and rags to dry and clean the brushes too.
You also want a good palette. Because the paint stays wet for much longer I tend to use a larger palette when using oil paints. This allows you to mix multiple colors at the same time without them contaminating each other.
Be careful and remember that most of these solvents are highly flammable and many are toxic. Always ventilate the area you are painting in well and avoid contact with flames or heat.
Basic Techniques For Mixing Oil Paints
The basic techniques for mixing oil paints are similar to with any other paint. Oil paints just give you more time because they dry so slowly.
Use your color wheel to choose the colors you need and put a blob of each of those colors on your palette.
For example, if you are trying to mix a gold color, you may want to start with an earthy yellow, a warm red and a small amount of blue. Be careful and take your time, adding each color slowly.
Don’t Over-mix the Paint
Remember you will need different shades and tones so don’t worry about the different shades around the edges, just mix the main blob roughly until it is predominantly the color you want.
Leaving steaks of unmixed color in the paint you use can help create texture and the illusion of depth in your paintings.
Use the Texture of the Oil Paint
Oil paints come as a thick viscous fluid which can be easier to mix using a palette knife. This consistency helps you to bring texture to your painting, which will help you to create depth. If you want less texture you can thin the paint down with the solvent you use or with an oil, like linseed oil.
Thinning the Paint
Thinning the paint down with solvent will make it dry faster. Thinning the paint down with oil will make it dry slower. Because of this you need to think about the effects of drying time.
It is not good practice to paint a solvent thinned paint over thicker oil paints as it will split and crack as the paint underneath dries more slowly. Using paint thinned with oil will make the thinned paint dry slower than the paint underneath, so that works fine.
Try using different techniques and different paint to see how different the results can be. You will gradually get better at knowing which technique will suit the painting you are doing best.
Oil paints can be a fantastic tool for any artist. Too many people are afraid to try them. There is no magic in it. It is all about technique. As you learn, your skills will improve. This will help make every painting you do better. Enjoy learning and experiment to see what you can achieve. You will inevitably make mistakes, but you will often surprise yourself too.