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Artist Paint Medium - Oil Paints
Oil paints are made by mixing dry pigment powder with refined linseed oil to
a paste, which is then milled in order to disperse the pigment particles
throughout the oil vehicle. According to the 1st-century Roman scholar Pliny the
Elder, whose writings the Flemish painters Hubert and Jan van Eyck are thought
to have studied, the Romans used oil colors for shield painting. The earliest
use of oil as a fine-art medium is generally attributed to 15th-century European
painters, such as Giovanni Bellini and the van Eycks, who glazed oil color over
a glue-tempera under painting. It is also thought probable, however, that
medieval manuscript illuminators had been using oil glazes in order to achieve
greater depth of color and more subtle tonal transitions than their tempera
Oils have been used on linen, burlap, cotton, wood, hide, rock, stone, concrete, paper, cardboard, aluminum, copper, plywood, and processed boards, such as masonite, pressed wood, and hardboard. The surface of rigid panels is traditionally prepared with gesso and that of canvas with one or more coats of white acrylic resin emulsion or with a coat of animal glue followed by thin layers of white-lead oil primer. Oil paints can be applied undiluted to these prepared surfaces or can be used thinned with pure gum turpentine or its substitute, white mineral spirit. The colours are slow drying; the safest dryer to speed the process is cobalt siccative.
Hog-bristle brushes are used for much of the painting, with pointed, red sable-hair brushes generally preferred for outlines and fine details. Oils, however, are the most plastic and responsive of all painting mediums and can be handled with all manner of tools. The later works of Titian and Rembrandt, for example, appear to have been executed with thumbs, fingers, rags, spatulas, and brush handles. With these and other unconventional tools and techniques, oil painters create pigment textures ranging from delicate tonal modulations to unvarying, mechanical finishes and from clotted, impasto ridges of paint to barely perceptible stains.
"painting." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2011. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/438588/painting>.
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