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Painting Tip : Using Oils like Watercolors

September 27, 2018
By Richard Robinson
Painting Tip : Using Oils like Watercolors logo


Hi guys, here's an exciting technique I tried out the other day. It's sort of like watercolor in that the initial dark washes are really thin, allowing the canvas (or in this case, board) to show through. You can then use this to your advantage by easily creating more texture in the darks by lifting it out with a brush or rag of whatever you like.

Thin washes like this really let the color glow, which is nice because it allows for rich color within your darks. The trickiest part of this technique is preserving those darks - just leaving them alone once they're down because we're so used to trying to cover over the canvas. They're fragile darks because they're so thin, which makes it very much like trying to preserve the lights in watercolor. Letting the medium do it own thing like this is also a trademark of watercolors.

Ok guys, hope you learned something there and give it a try - it's lots of fun. This was actually the first time I tried this technique (as far as I can remember) so it's a bit clumsier than I would have liked, but two painters who do this really beautifully are Tibor Nagy from Slovakia and Richard Schmid from the US, so look them up if you want to see more of this style in action.

Evening Glow - 8x10" Oil on Board


Happy Painting!


Andrea Jeris 21/05/2020 This is great! Is it part of a longer lesson? I would love to see more.