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Loadsa arty stuff, the June McEwan way: Using Oil Paints, Core Techniques

Updated on March 28, 2011
Wave, Monifieth.(Scotland) Oil on paper. Textured using mostly blending and splattered impasto techniques.
Wave, Monifieth.(Scotland) Oil on paper. Textured using mostly blending and splattered impasto techniques. | Source

Using Oil Paints: Core Techniques

June McEwan 8 Mitchell St Crieff PH7 3AG

Mob: 0777 187 5443

Using Oil Paints: Core Techniques

Although oil paint had been around, it wasn't until the Rennaissance that it's use became regular. And due to the long time it takes to dry, it didn't become popular until the 19th century. The invention of tubes and the appreciation of expressive brushwork meant that artists could more easily carry their materials outside and began to work alla prima (all at once). The process of building the painting in layers and glazes was replaced by spontaneity.

Fat over Lean

This is the most important of all oil-painting rules regardless of style or technique. Begin by working with paint straight from the tube, or add a bit of thinner, then gradually increase the oil or medium content as the painting progresses.


Underpainting is done using paint thinned with white spirit or turpentine. It's usually a tonal version in colour or monochrome laying out the composition.

Alla Prima

'At the first' or 'all at once'. Made popular by the impressionists, is a style of direct painting done in one session. It calls for concentration and decisiveness. Mistakes are rarely altered.


Means 'dough' and describes the consistency of thick paint usually applied using big brushes or painting knives. Marble dust, talcum, fine sand and modern alkyd mediums can be used to make the paint go further and dry quicker. Some impasto work may take years to dry.


Can be achieved very easily using direct brush work with large bristle brushes. To achieve subtle blending use soft brushes and gentle strokes.


A slow, traditional process involving waiting for each glaze to dry before the next, thereby building up colour and depth. A single glaze over the whole surface can be useful in unifying a painting and creating harmony.


Along with impaso techniques, texture is created any way you can!Use brushes differently, stipple or dab them, scratch into paint using the handle. Try the edge of a ruler, scrape using a painting knife, press grass, sand, sawdust into the paint..look around and use anything that's to hand!

Wave, detail showing splattering technique
Wave, detail showing splattering technique | Source


Monifeith, Scotland UK:
Monifieth, Dundee, Angus, UK

get directions


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    • June McEwan profile imageAUTHOR

      June McEwan 

      7 years ago from The Works 8 Mitchell Street Crieff Scotland PH7 3AG

      Of course! Needs a bit of energy, suitable clothing, and a space you can make a mess of. Totally random and creative if you do it the Jackson Pollock way. Name something better!

    • merrellm profile image


      7 years ago

      Is it fun, though?


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