Oil Paints

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Oil Paints

THE NATURE OF OILS

Main pictureUnlike watercolour, oil colour can be used opaquely - in other words, a light colour is capable of covering over a darker colour, if applied thickly enough. This means that oil colour is more forgiving than watercolour, because the artist can rectify mistakes and change areas of a picture that are not successful.

Some artists apply the colour so thickly that pictures have a three dimensional quality, and often a palette knife is used, rather than a brush. Oil colour can also be used thinly, by mixing it with a medium, and it is possible to create thin, translucent glazes, as a watercolourist would. Unlike watercolour however, oil colour can remain wet for a considerable time, depending on the properties of individual colours and how thickly they were applied. This enables the artist to blend and rework areas of the picture at leisure. This versatility has ensured that oil colour has become the most widely - used medium in the history of art.

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