Welcome to WetCanvas! and the Oil Forum in particular.
Some of you are new to oil painting and as you enter our community I am sure you have a lot of questions. Needless to say, many of your questions have been asked many times here on WC and some interesting and educational discussions have already taken place.
This isn't necessarily a replacement of your question though, so if what you are wondering isn't answered here (or by doing a search) please do start a thread with your question and get that good one-on-one that WC is so well known for!
Also, don't forget you can do your own search
to find previous discussions -
here is an article that can help you get the most out of searching here on Wetcanvas:
*****How to Search WetCanvas!*****
And the Oil Painting Hall of Fame
is another stupendous resource to browse through!
Oil Paint Brands
Here is a link to the Product Reviews section of WetCanvas!
Reviews of Artist Grade Oil Paints
"Which Oil Paint Brand Do YOU Recommend?"
"Favorite Colors From Each Supplier?"
"Traditional Oil Brands"
Can you mix different brands? (Answer - Yes!)
Mixing Paint Brands...
Mixing different oil brands?
Mixing different white oils
mixing different brands/kinds of oil paint?
Mixing Oil paint brands.
Color Choices and Pigments
"Student (Goya) Palette"
"Painting the Luminous Skin" Article
Art School - Portrait Colors
"My Color Chart"
"Pigment Info Online??"
Handling Phthalo Blue (and other "difficult to control" colours)
"My new tube of paint is too oily"
"Can We Talk About Brushes Please?"
"Small or Large Brushes?"
Mediums serve many purposes in oil painting.
"Mediums - Why Do YOU Use Them?"
"What Oil Medium Do You Trust the Most?
"Classical Oil Painting Mediums" Article
"Sunflower Oil?" - good discussion on what makes a *drying* oil
"Cobalt Drier vs. Japan Drier?"
"Liquin : Fat or Lean?"
Bob Ross Liquid Clear and Liquid White
"Fat Over Lean" - Just What Does That Mean, Anyway?!
This is an important thing to know if you intend to glaze or paint in layers!
"Noob Question - fat over lean?"
Glazing is often seen as some mysterious technique of the old masters, but it is really nothing more than painting in thin layers (often using transparent pigments though semi-transparent and opaque pigments may also be used when applied in a physically thin manner--some people will use the term "scumbling" when using opaque paint) which enable some of the previous layers to show through. Below are a few how-tos, though these are not the only ways that glazing may be accomplished. (You might also want to have a look concerning various mediums and the "fat over lean 'rule'", links which can be found above.)
Glazing with Oils, how-to article by Bill Martin
Purple Iris WIP
Tone/Vlaue Workshop by Bill Martin
Underpainting by Michael Georges
Masters Study... William Bouguereau (glazing demo)
Does Graphite Pencil "strike through" Oil Paint?
Water Miscible Oils
*When doing a search for these, keep in mind that many refer to these as "water soluble"--and many misspell it as "soluable".
Many people love using these as an alternative to regular oils; they can be lightly thinned with water instead of solvent and can be cleaned up with soap and water (though soap and water does a fine job with regular oil paints, as well!).
"What About Water Soluble Oils?"
"Sold on Water Mixable Oils"
"Water Soluble Oil Paints"
"Sticky Water-Solubles - Advice?"
"Opinions on Water-Mixable Oils?"
"Artisian Water Mixable Oil Color"
"All About Water Soluble Oils"
We also now have a specific Water-Mixable Oils
Oil paints can be easily cleaned up with soap and water, though it seems that there are as many ways to clean up as there are oil painters!
How Do You Clean Up? -a poll
Varnishing serves two main purposes. First, varnish serves as a layer of protection between your painting and the environment--it is meant to be a removable layer. It also serves to even out the sheen of your painting if you have the glossy/dull patches which are quite common to oil paints. If you choose to varnish, you should wait six to twelve months after the surface is touch-dry (you may use "retouch varnish" to even out the surface before then if you wish). Varnishing is optional and in the case of needing to show or sell the work before the six month mark, it is a common practice to let the customer know they may return the piece at a later date to be varnished if they wish (with the added bonus of being able to interact with the customer again!).
Painting Supports (Surfaces)
*The most common surface for the beginning oil painter is stretched cotton canvas or canvas mounted on some type of board. (Often these cheaper boards are mounted on cardboard, this is fine for practice and learning but they do have a tendency to warp, especially at larger sizes, and these cardboard boards are often not seen as archival.)
*Commercially prepared canvas usually has 2-3 coats of acrylic primer (also known as acrylic "gesso" though real "gesso" that is traditionally used in oil painting is quite different). It is often fine to paint directly onto commercially prepared canvas, though the primer coating can be thin especially in cheaper brands and many people like to add a few more coats of acrylic gesso to ensure that the oil will not seep through the primer (thus rotting the canvas eventually) or merely to further obliterate the weave of the canvas, creating a slightly smoother texture to work on. I will reiterate, though, especially for beginner oil painters, there is usually no problem painting on the commercial canvases as-is.
*Another common surface for oil painters is board, hardboard or mdf being the most common (and least expensive, definitely cheaper than canvas). You can usually purchase hardboard at your local Home Depot or Lowe's-type place and it is usually quite inexpensive (cheaper than decent paper even). The shop will usually cut the board to your specifications and you can then prime it with several coats of acrylic gesso.
For advice on how to prepare your own canvases, or improve commercial ones, see here.
(You might also have a look at the link in post #5 here for some great info.)
Preparing Panels by Marc Hanson
How to Make Panels Less Absorbent (lots of good info and discussion)
How to Make Panels Less Absorbent II
Repairing a Torn Canvas
Reusing an old canvas (and "Can I re-gesso?")
An often overlooked aspect to painting for the beginner is the question of how to treat edges. Here is some good food for thought on the subject:
Books and Videos Discussed
Good Books for Beginners?
Good Books for Beginners - more!
Oil Painting Videos
*Brushwork Essentials*, a review
*Brushwork Essentials* and a few other books...
The Newbie Chronicles
Help for newbies...by a newbie.
Some rather humorous (and helpful!) insights into painting that show we can all learn from each other, no matter what "level" we are at.
Newbie Chronicles #1 - Five Common Mistakes
Newbie Chronicles #2 - The Value of Value
Quick and Easy Easel Clamp to Hold Reference Photos
What on Earth is a Mahl Stick?
How to Build a Better Mahl Stick
Best Low-Cost Studio Easel?
Looking to Purchase a Studio Easel
Easel for Plein Air and Studio?
Lighting While Working
What is a Good Artificial Light Source?
Spectrum Blue Lights?
Studio Lighting: What Works, What Doesn't?
Easy Brush Adaptation for Arthritis (Using a tennis ball)
Discussions about safety
Visiting some of the other forums, such as the color theory forum, can be advantageous for the new painter too.
Make sure you visit some WIPs (Works-in-Progress) posted by some of our experienced painters here. You will learn so much from them!
If anyone would like to add to the list of links, please post them onto this thread http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=214553 which is an "open" version, retaining all the comments and discussion as originally posted - one of the Mods can subsequently add them to here