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Digital Subscriptions > Leisure Painter > Oct-19 > Let’s start with art

Let’s start with art

Part 11 Here’s a beginner’s guide to working with oils from the materials you’ll need to preparation and making brushstrokes, by Linda Birch


Understand your materials

Tips and techniques for painting with oils

Blackling Hole, Hamsterley Forest, spirit-based oils on canvas board, 15¼x19½in. (30x50cm). There is no visible difference between water-based and spirit-based oil paints.

Oils are one of the most satisfying media to work with, and also the easiest, as mistakes can be wiped out and repainted (unlike watercolour). I include a number of paintings here to show just how rich colour can be using oils. Oils are capable of an infinite variety of effects and have great stature as a medium. It is little wonder it has been the medium of choice for painters for so long. Enjoy!


1 Oil paint is traditionally an opaque medium, with white being used to lighten tone and colour. The paint is composed of pigment (colour) and linseed or poppy oil. The consistency of the paint is mostly buttery, creating a surface where brushwork is clearly visible (if working alla prima).

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to the October issue of Leisure Painter. We have a plethora of tips and techniques, demonstrations and practical advice for watercolourists this month, from projects from photographs to how to paint contrast and drama, detail in a cat's face and flowers from life. We look at painting a figure of a child in pastel, a fox in autumn woodland in acrylics and a vignette of a church in gouache. There are beginner's guides to tonal values, painting with traditional and water-mixable oils and a look at painting with acrylic inks. We also have great pleasure in presenting the award-winning work from the Leisure Painter category of this year's TALP Open and your 16-page guide to inspirational painting holidays and courses, both in the UK and abroad. Enjoy your time painting with Leisure Painter.