Oil Paint Q&A
Why use oil paint?– The main difference between oil and other painting mediums is drying time. Oil dries slowly, giving the artist plenty of time to mix colours. More time equals more control over your mixes. Oil is naturally glossy, so colours are more vibrant and vivid, even when dry. Whereas watercolour and acrylic look duller when dry.
Is oil painting complicated?– No. It’s the most forgiving medium of all, as you have lots of time to make corrections. I think one of the reasons that people have come to think of oil as complex comes from a time when the materials and mediums were scarcer.
Once upon a time artists had to source their own raw materials, go through the laborious process of grinding them down and turning this into a paste that would be used as paint.
Also, it’s not a water-based medium, so some people immediately shy away from it. The difference with oil is you substitute water for an oil medium, which thins the oil and makes it more fluid. Oil painting is not more complex than other painting techniques, it’s just that the possibilities of the medium are vast.
Is oil paint toxic?– In some regards it can be considered unsafe if you’re not using any common sense. Oil paint consists of oil and pigment combined. As long as it’s not swallowed, it is safe.
Again, the reputation for its toxicity comes predominantly from a time when some of the components of oil paint included lead, mercury, and sulphur! Safety issues stem mainly from the solvents used. However, the worst offender, turpentine, is not used in class.
Instead, I use a thinner called Zest-It, which is environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and smells of citrus fruit. It is a great alternative to ‘turps’, and is used to thin paint, and to clean brushes at the end of the session.
What materials do I need?– All I ask is that you bring in an old rag to clean/wipe your brushes whilst painting. This is more of a practical issue than an absolute necessity. When you’re in the midst of a painting, it is beneficial to have a rag at hand to wipe off any excess paint. Otherwise you have to find tissue or kitchen towel which takes you out of the flow of painting and becomes too much of a distraction.
All other materials are provided, which include easels, boards, brushes, palettes, brush-holder tubs, paints, mediums, thinners, and paper.
Art Courses Birmingham Testimonials
I really enjoyed the recent 12-week art techniques course. We used Zoom, in view of the current coronavirus lockdown, and this worked very well. Peter is an excellent teacher and gave us plenty of individual tuition, adjusted for our various levels of experience. I hadn't ever done an art course, but I was very pleased with the range of techniques which I started using during the course. This has started me on a new hobby, and I am looking forward to taking another of Peter's courses.
I did the Art Techniques class on Zoom. Peter is an excellent teacher, . We had immediate feedback as well as detailed feedback on completed pictures emailed after the lesson. I am relatively new to drawing and painting, and apart from learning a lot, had a lot fun as well. I enjoyed it so much ... I registered for Peter's ' Introduction to oil painting ' class starting in September also on Zoom.
This course was a lifesaver for me and provided a wonderful opportunity to develop my oil painting skills. The expert instruction and demonstration delivered with such ease by Peter made the whole experience so enjoyable. Too much information I will need to enrol on a future course to process this one! Thank you Peter.
I wanted to draw and paint all my life, particularly as this was not part of school in India at the time! So I waited until I retired and joined Peter’s class. I have had the opportunity to try different mediums and techniques. I even dared to draw in a museum setting with Peter’s encouragement. I have enjoyed learning and continue to do so because the atmosphere in the class is very informal and relaxed. I never thought I would be able to draw and paint but with Peter’s help, I am thoroughly enjoying it. Peter is a passionate, interested teacher
Dr. Prema Iyengar
I have been doing lessons with Peter for over one year. Learning with him is quite fun but effective at the same time. Although he plans the topic for each lesson, he is quite flexible and allows people to go at their own pace. He is also happy for students to develop their own work during lessons if they prefer