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Common Misconceptions Beginners Have About Oil Painting

Common Misconceptions Beginners Have About Oil Painting

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to oil painting. If you’re new into the world of oil paintings, these rumors can put you off. Somehow, this misinformation has taken very deep roots. This article will help disprove some of the most common oil painting misconceptions.

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Oil Paints Are Toxic

This is one of the most common misconceptions, but you must know that this is very untrue. Most oil paints are not toxic. In reality, the only time any oil paint poses any form of threat to you is on the off chance that you ingest it. As long as you keep them away from your mouth, oil paints are generally safe. 

The ingredients used for making oil paints are made up of natural oils and pigments - and most of the pigments are completely safe and non-toxic. While some such as cobalt, cadmium, and lead white are toxic, they only pose danger when you eat or inhale in the dry pigments before mixing the oil. 

When it comes to the toxic smell of oil painting, this is also a misconception. You see, oil paint in itself has no smell. When people talk about the toxic and horrible smell of oil paints, they’re usually referring to the solvents (turpentine or white spirits). Artists use these substances to help the fluidity of their paints, clean their brushes, and manipulate the time required for drying. There are alternatives such as linseed oil if you can’t stand the foul smell of these solvents. They’re fairly scentless and safe.

Oil Paints Are Too Expensive

Granted, there are top-of-the-shelve oil paints that can be expensive. Oil paints that come on a smaller budget tend to be of lower quality and produce undesirable results. Peddlers of this “expensive oil paint” myth fail to provide perspective on the issue. 

The quality of the paint you work with determines a lot of things. For one, using lower quality paint can hold you back. Aside from requiring more effort than needed to finish a painting, you'd never be able to fully appreciate a quality painting. Assume you just started to learn how to ride a bicycle. Would you like to learn with a faulty bicycle? Investing in quality oils won't make you a better artist, but it'd help you get ahead. Using quality paint also increases the lifespan of your tools.

Oil Paint Takes Forever to Dry

This is another myth that is not entirely true. Some oil paints take time, some don’t. The duration required for oil paint to dry depends on various things. For instance, some colors dry up quicker than others. Generally, a painting will get dry within 24 hours if you work with a smooth, thin, opaque layer of paint. However, certain colors, such as white, will take longer to dry.

If you use the impasto technique or pudding, you might have to wait for several weeks or months for the painting to dry up. It depends on how thick the impasto is. You can use a medium to influence the drying time of your painting. Linseed oil can get your paint dry within 6 to 24 hours. Alkyd will get your paint dry within four hours, while clove oil will take some days or weeks.

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