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DBrooke
12-27-2018, 08:22 PM
Hello all.

Brand new to oil painting and had 3 questions to ask.

1) Is it imprtant for begginners or for anyone aspiring to make a decent painting to tone the canvus before hand? Should it fully dry?

2) Are most paintings done by allowing certain parts of the painting to dry before painting over?

3) Are good quality paint brushes worth the money?

Thanks to anyone willing to answer my newbie questions.

birdhs
12-27-2018, 09:11 PM
Welcome DBrooke to WC!

Perhaps you might try asking in Oil Painting Forum, too. And yes, great brushes make better paintings

There are lots of fine folks here, you can meet many of them as you browse about while exploring the full list of the forums. We are looking forward to seeing your art, and getting to know you!

There are all levels of artists, from many lands, working in virtually all mediums.

Sharing, learning and teaching others is the best way to fan the creative flames.
The friendly members here will try to help you with any questions you have.

Be sure to review the guidelines for commercial uses,
Read about the use of images in the Reference Library.
Links to additional information contained in my signature line below.

(The Abstract & Contemporary Forum is where I am usually found.)

Greggo

Alan P. in OC
12-27-2018, 11:18 PM
Hello all.

Brand new to oil painting and had 3 questions to ask.

1) Is it imprtant for begginners or for anyone aspiring to make a decent painting to tone the canvus before hand? Should it fully dry?

2) Are most paintings done by allowing certain parts of the painting to dry before painting over?

3) Are good quality paint brushes worth the money?

Thanks to anyone willing to answer my newbie questions.


Hello! Here's my 2 cents:

1. Not necessarily, but toning the canvas often helps people place light and dark areas better; when the whole canvas is stark, pure white it may be harder to block in colors/tones.

2. Depends on how you paint. For me, yes, but I jump around all over the canvas and I never 'need' to overpaint an area immediately.

3. Once again, depends on how you paint. I can apply paint with decent, cheaper brushes, but I need sables to blend. Some people don't blend, or if they do they use the same brush. Some people swear by hogs hair brushes, I don't even own one.

My best advice is to figure out a style or direction to go in and find what tools/techniques are necessary for that style. The answers for my style of painting are much different for a plein aire painter or an alla prima painter.

equinespirit
12-28-2018, 03:54 AM
This is a thread you may find helpful:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=235455

Humbaba
12-28-2018, 07:03 AM
Hello all.

Brand new to oil painting and had 3 questions to ask.


1) Is it imprtant for begginners or for anyone aspiring to make a decent painting to tone the canvus before hand? Should it fully dry?

If you know the reason to tone, of course, it will help you to better judge color, and protect your eyes too.


2) Are most paintings done by allowing certain parts of the painting to dry before painting over?

Not really, but this is a good technique to achieve detail and photo-realism, many painters are too desperate to finish a piece, so they use wet on wet, money is an issue too, the faster an artist complete a painting, the faster he/she can sell it.

Good paintings though, require time, patience and dedication, including passion, and certain type of obsession to make things stand out.


3) Are good quality paint brushes worth the money?

No, cheap brushes in the hands of an artist will make wonders, but plenty are necessary.


Thanks to anyone willing to answer my newbie questions.

The first pass is free, lol.

Richard P
12-28-2018, 08:14 AM
Good paintings though, require time, patience and dedication, including passion, and certain type of obsession to make things stand out.

To make it even more tricky, some artists can paint things quickly while others can take many many hours on each painting.

Pinguino
12-28-2018, 06:23 PM
1. Toning the canvas is not necessary, but is helpful. Even professionals may do it. In some cases, the purpose is to set a "default color" and in other cases, the purpose is merely to provide a reference color (or gray) that is not white. I advise it to be fully dry. You can prepare a few ahead of time, if you are sure that you intend to use tone. That's what I (a beginner) do.

2. AFAIK, most paintings do have parts (layers) dry, before painting over. It is a matter of technique. As a beginner myself, I firmly advise you to allow layers to dry before continuing with more layers. This allows room for error and correction, without mixing your colors into mud. Alla prima, which is without using dried layers, can be very difficult for beginners; unfortunately, this method is often shown as demonstrations by experienced artists, because it can all be done in a short time.

3. Good paint brushes are worth the money. But if you are new to painting, I'd advise some less-expensive (not junk class) brushes until you learn how to use them and clean them properly. You might trash a few brushes before you get things under control, so there's no point in trashing expensive brushes. Also keep in mind that besides the brush shape, size, and bristle material, brushes often come in soft/medium/firm styles. You probably don't want to start with soft bristles. A decent brand of "chungking hog hair" brushes should get you started, and they are not expensive. Then you can get other brushes later. Don't be afraid of synthetics.

liltingzephyr
12-29-2018, 01:54 AM
Hello all.

Brand new to oil painting and had 3 questions to ask.

1) Is it imprtant for begginners or for anyone aspiring to make a decent painting to tone the canvus before hand? Should it fully dry?

2) Are most paintings done by allowing certain parts of the painting to dry before painting over?

3) Are good quality paint brushes worth the money?

Thanks to anyone willing to answer my newbie questions.

Iím pretty new to oil painting too. Iíve only been doing this a few months, but I research it constantly. :)

1. Itís easier to judge values if thereís a neutral midtone. If you donít wait for it to fully dry, it will smudge and probably mix into whatever colors you apply next. So itís a choice.

2. Direct and indirect painting are the two most common approaches. Direct painting is also often called Alla Prima. Itís not accomplished in many layers and may even be finished in one setting. The impressionists often painted Alla Prima and En Plein Air (painting outdoors). Many of them using opaque paints for the lighter colors and transparent paints for shadows. Indirect painting is accomplished in multiple layers, and the layers are usually allowed to dry in between. Some people use acrylic paints as a base layer, use turpentine, alkyds, cobalt driers, or any of a bunch of other things to hasten drying. The fat over lean rule (each new layer should have more oil than the last) applies to indirect painting. Using transparent paints and many layers gives paintings a luminance that I love. The Flemish painters used this method. Direct and indirect methods arenít mutually exclusive, and you can combine them or not as you see fit.

3. I think so. I started with synthetics and got one sable to try and found it so much better. I use a size four Isabey Red Sable pocket brush for almost everything. I ordered a Series 7 Kolinskey with money I got for Christmas, but it hasnít arrived yet. The sables hold a ton of paint, have beautiful, precise tips, and are soft enough to collapse and blend well. If I could only have two brushes, Iíd use my sable and my synthetic mini mop brush. I love rounds, but you may like a different brush shape or material. Find people making the kind of paintings you want to make and find out what theyíre using.

bobc100
12-29-2018, 09:00 AM
1a. I use a toned canvas for some paintings, and I'm usually using it so that I can start the painting with both highlights and shadows while allowing the toned areas to show through as a middle ground. Trying to paint highlights on a white surface isn't very satisfying. I don't use it on all my paintings, however, and it's experience which tells me when I should and when I shouldn't. If you're doing landscapes, I'd highly recommend giving it a try primarily for the way it unifies the painting.

1b. Yes, it should be dry enough that any subsequent painting doesn't disturb it. You can, if you want, draw into a wet tone by lifting highlight areas out of it, but then it becomes an underpainting rather than a tone. It's an interesting technique which is worth doing as an exercise for the experience, but it's use isn't nearly as common as using a toned canvas.

2. If you're a beginner intending to paint in a traditionally realistic style, then you probably want to plan on using multiple painting sessions with the paint drying to the touch in between sessions.

3. You want to avoid getting the cheapest stuff out there, but you're probably fine using reputable student grade materials. The quality of the materials is not the limiting factor for most beginners. With experience, you'll know which of the better materials you want and you'll have the skills to take advantage of them. Nevertheless, you might want to start with better quality brushes if you already have considerable drawing skills and are confident in your ability to produce a successful painting which requires the better control of more expensive brushes. Expensive brushes should also last longer, but that's not necessarily true for a beginner who might be particularly hard on them, in which case the money is just wasted.

contumacious
12-29-2018, 10:37 AM
Welcome to WC. As you can see there are lots of nice people here willing to try to help. There will also be lots of different responses, often with conflicting opinions and / or experiences. You will have to wade through it all and try stuff yourself to see what works for you. Good luck with the adventure! Note: I tend to be long winded and very opinionated, so you might want to skip some (all?) of my posts like quite a few folks likely do here on WC so they can actually do some painting during the day! :lol:

Hello all.

Brand new to oil painting and had 3 questions to ask.

1) Is it imprtant for begginners or for anyone aspiring to make a decent painting to tone the canvus before hand? Should it fully dry?

I quite enjoy working on a toned or a textured and toned surface. Try various surfaces and see which ones you like. For a beginner, toning the canvas can do two things for you that will help quite a bit. It will seal off the gesso so that the oil isn't sucked out of your paints too much and it will help prevent unwanted white spots from the ground showing through in the final piece.

Oil paint becomes more transparent as it dries. Keep that in mind when choosing whether to tone the canvas or not. The toned surface can start to show through more and more as the painting dries over the years. The darker it is the more things will change. The thinner the paint layer and the more transparent the pigment used increases this occurrence. Thicker layers of paint will be less likely to have this happen to them. This applies to your corrections also. Look up Strike Through or Strikethrough and Pentimento for more information.

2) Are most paintings done by allowing certain parts of the painting to dry before painting over?

Read about direct - Alla Prima or Premier Coup painting methods vs indirect methods - glazing, layering etc. to get some understanding of how that all works. As noted already, Alla Prima can be more difficult to master than indirect methods with oils, but sometimes that is your only choice if you need to finish a piece in a short period of time. Both methods can produce results that are difficult to impossible to get any other way.

3) Are good quality paint brushes worth the money?

Experience will tell you if they are or not. I have some $60 brushes that in my hand do not seem worth the extra $40 over a $20 or even a $10 brush of the same design. But, cheap flats, angled and highly pointed rounds don't perform very well in the low price levels for me. I tend to spend between $8 and $60 for my brushes. Particularly with natural fibers, the bigger the brush the more it is going to cost. I have a large supply of very inexpensive (I got them for 65 cents to $1.10 each in bulk) W&N and Royal brand hog bristle brushes that I use frequently. They have their limitations and certainly won't produce a sharp edge like a $25 chiseled point synthetic flat but I can do an entire painting with them that I am very pleased with.

Try several brands and styles and see what you like. Some good reading in these threads on WC. You will see some brands / models mentioned repeatedly. The more moderately priced ones with high recommendations might be a good place to start your testing.

Favorite Brush Threads on WetCanvas (https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=QI4nXIjQJ8uo0gKp24zYCw&q=site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwetcanvas.com%2Fforums%2F+favorite+brushes&btnK=Google+Search&oq=site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwetcanvas.com%2Fforums%2F+favorite+brushes&gs_l=psy-ab.3...1816.10130..10430...0.0..0.336.3711.0j21j1j2......0....1j2..gws-wiz.....0..0j0i131j0i10.PiDLVzMOM-M)


Thanks to anyone willing to answer my newbie questions.

AnnieA
12-29-2018, 12:59 PM
...many painters are too desperate to finish a piece, so they use wet on wet...
Humbaba: Heh...I think most of those who use alla prima will disagree with that.

The primary reason I strive to master the alla prima technique is the spontaneity and bravura brushwork that goes along with it. It is indeed much harder, and I'm certainly not there yet, but have experienced a few tantalizing glimpses of it in my work. I'm pretty sure other alla prima painters will say the same or similar thing. No desperation!

But I do think the advice not to try alla prima in the beginning is wise. It involves a lot of skill because it's hard to keep all the balls - brushwork, paint consistency, accuracy, etc. - up in the air all at once. Better to learn basic skills first using indirect painting.

DBrook, As far as your questions are concerned, I think you've gotten a lot of good advice already and I don't have much to add. If you consider starting with indirect painting, please know that it's not necessary to glaze in thin layers - that's just one of the subcategories of indirect painting. Also, a good place to get info on brushes is the Blick website. I think Simmons Signet brushes are a reasonable middle-of-the-road choice: https://www.dickblick.com/products/robert-simmons-signet-brushes/
And there are sets available too, which might be a good way to start. Bristle brushes tend to leave brushmarks, which many artists like, while sable and other soft hair brushes are more for smooth and blended work. It's also possible to get synthetic versions of both bristle and sable brushes which often cost more but may last longer.

contumacious
12-29-2018, 01:14 PM
Humbaba: Heh...I think most of those who use alla prima will disagree with that.

The primary reason I strive to master the alla prima technique is the spontaneity and bravura brushwork that goes along with it. It is indeed much harder, and I'm certainly not there yet, but have experienced a few tantalizing glimpses of it in my work. I'm pretty sure other alla prima painters will say the same or similar thing. No desperation!

But I do think the advice not to try alla prima in the beginning is wise. It involves a lot of skill because it's hard to keep all the balls - brushwork, paint consistency, accuracy, etc. - up in the air all at once. Better to learn basic skills first using indirect painting.


Well said AnnieA - I paint alla prima as well as indirectly and I often mix both techniques - wet into wet as well as layering over dried passages in the same painting. Alla Prima is by far the most difficult technique I have used to get the paint to do what I want it too. Paintings done wet into wet by various artists, including myself, tend to appeal to me more than indirectly painted work. The brush strokes have a life and energy that is rarely found with indirect painting. My quest is to make the brush strokes look like happy accidents when in fact they were precisely orchestrated.

Jon Bradley
12-29-2018, 04:05 PM
Hello all.

Brand new to oil painting and had 3 questions to ask.

1) Is it imprtant for begginners or for anyone aspiring to make a decent painting to tone the canvus before hand? Should it fully dry?

2) Are most paintings done by allowing certain parts of the painting to dry before painting over?

3) Are good quality paint brushes worth the money?

Thanks to anyone willing to answer my newbie questions.

1.) No

2.) Not necessarily

3.) Most of the time, no (mainly speaking at the "rare haired" brushes out there) ; This depends on the style emplyed. IMHO, only nice set of well made hog brtistle brushes, for wet-on-wet oil painting, intended for a coarse ground, are really "worth it" due to that style's technical nomenclature.

JCannon
12-29-2018, 06:21 PM
1) Is it imprtant for begginners or for anyone aspiring to make a decent painting to tone the canvus before hand? Should it fully dry?
I think you should make the experiment; you and you alone can determine which approach is best for you. Leonardo and Leyendecker painted on a toned ground; Holman Hunt and Parrish painted on a white ground. Caravaggio painted on a very dark ground. Why not give 'em all a try?
2) Are most paintings done by allowing certain parts of the painting to dry before painting over?
This often happens of its own accord, especially if you use faster-drying pigments initially (as most do). If you are glazing, don't rush things. Make sure that the bottom layer is truly dry, not just tacky.
3) Are good quality paint brushes worth the money?
Yes. But if money is scarce, buy whatever the purse will bear.

I love Kolinsky rounds in the smaller sizes, but I'm not sure it is worthwhile to buy Kolinsky rounds in the larger sizes. That kind of indulgence can cost a lot.

Synthetics made by Princeton and W&N can do the job in many instances. I've never spent much on flats and filberts.

Unlike many here, I advocate collecting "trash" brushes because they have uses. For example, I find that small Chinese "nail art" brushes with long hairs -- sold for almost nothing on Ebay -- work nicely as blenders in small areas. Cheap make-up brushes from the dollar store can also work surprisingly well in certain passages. These brushes are not for painting as it is usually conceived. You transfer the paint to the ground using "nice" brushes, and then you use a soft-haired blender brush (such as those nail art brushes) to hide the brushstrokes and make transitions photographic...

...if, if, IF you're that sort of artist.

On the other hand, if you're the sort who likes bold, visible brushstrokes, you won't use blenders at all. But even in this situation, you'll probably want a collection of cheap bristle brushes for flailing and flinging and attacking the canvas aggressively, the way artists do in the movies.

Bottom line: Collect brushes over time, cheap ones and pricey ones. All kinds. You'll learn which ones are necessary to you.