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Paint Like the Masters

Paint Like the Masters

What is it that elevates an artist to a master? Is it an innovative approach to art? Perhaps it’s a reputation as dramatic and unpredictable as their brush strokes? Or maybe it’s a combination of both talent and temper, as is the case for Britain’s most celebrated seascape artist, JMW Turner – unrivalled in his mastery of the skies and seas, Turner’s status as a master is all the more incredible, considering his controversial reputation and eccentric nature. In Paint Like The Masters, delve into the stories of some of the world’s most prodigious artists, from Rembrandt and Raphael, to Monet and Matisse. Find out the incredible tales of some of the world’s greatest masterpieces, including Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night and Sir John Everett Millais’ Ophelia. Most importantly, however, we will reveal the skills and techniques you need to re-create your own modern-day masterpieces inspired by the masters. So what are you waiting for? Find your palette, grab your paints, and get going!

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd

in this issue

3 min
getting started with oils

There’s an undeserved mystique around oil painting that has put up some intimidating barriers for some artists wanting to use this wonderful medium. I hope to remove those concerns and provide a basic foundation of knowledge to help you get started. Oil paint is pigment bound in a drying (siccative) oil. The most common is linseed oil extracted from flax seeds, but you’ll also find paint bound in walnut, safflower or other oils. The pigments are generally the same as those found in watercolours, pastels and acrylics. Oil paints offer a richness of colour and its surface allows the creation of beautiful textures. You can paint thick or thin, directly or use glazes. Oils can be used on paper, wood, metal, plastic, canvas and many other surfaces. If you’re just getting started,…

3 min
arrange and mix your oils

Let’s get started by covering how to get paint out on to your palette. I personally like to arrange my colours from the most intense shades to the less intense, grouped into warm and cool colours. I’ve seen students squeeze out colour randomly and it becomes tricky to keep things organised as the painting progresses. Choose a layout, stick with it and you won’t have to think about where your colours are. I’ll mix up a pile (or nut) of paint and make adjustments to the pile by mixing colour into a portion of it. If you remix the whole pile it can get away from you and then the whole nut is wasted. For example, if I have a base skin tone that I need to make cooler or warmer, I’ll…

4 min
how to apply your oil paints

Oil paint is wonderfully versatile. It can be applied in thick, expressive impastos, or thinned down and used almost like watercolours. It can be brushed or scrubbed, knifed on or scratched out, applied in washes or painted in patches. There are what seems like an endless variety of mediums and additives you can work with to create different effects. However, you can use oils without adding a medium. Most of my work is done with paint direct from the tube. Some mediums are added to shorten or lengthen drying times; others change the characteristics of the paint. Paint out of the tube is often called stiff or short, and will retain your brush stroke – especially with coarser brushes. If you add fluid medium, such as linseed oil or turpentine, it…

4 min
canvas stretching and setting up

Cotton canvas, linen, wood panels, copper, paper, glass and stone are just some of the surfaces I’ve seen oil paintings on. Cotton is a cheap alternative to linen, but is less durable and not as strong. If you stretch your own canvas then you can save a lot of money. Learning to do so isn’t hard, but it takes a little practise to do it consistently. I recommend investing in a good pair of canvas pliers and an electric or pneumatic stapler to achieve consistent results. Canvas, linen and panels are the most commonly available primed and unprimed surfaces. Priming your own can give you a lot of control, is another chance to save money and you can create textures that add to your painting. Unless you’re painting completely from imagination or from…

4 min
an introduction to acrylics

If you are starting with acrylics as a substitute for oils or watercolour, you may find there are disadvantages. The consistency of the paint differs from that of oils and adding a medium doesn’t give you the same thickness and texture. It also dries quickly, so some techniques, such as wet in wet, are more difficult in acrylics. However, it can provide ways of trying techniques similar to those of more traditional paints. It’s perfect for applying various techniques in one painting, and excellent for mixed-media projects. Find out about the basic paints, mediums and tools, and get tips on what supports you can work on and ways to apply the paint. Be inspired with ideas to build your confidence and discover how acrylic can be used with other media…

2 min
tools & mediums

1 Brushes You will need some brushes but I would advise against using your best watercolour ones. For fine, detailed work, a selection of synthetic brushes and at least one flat, larger brush for applying washes is helpful. Bristle brushes are suitable for oil or acrylic. I tend to use less expensive ones and buy sets of these in a range of sizes. My favourite brush is a 4cm bristle decorating brush. All brushes must be washed with soap and water after use otherwise they’ll go hard and be ruined. 2 Palette knives and other tools A palette knife is worth investing in for an impasto approach. Impasto is thick paint achieved by using heavy body acrylics or by adding texture mediums. Palette knives come in various sizes but I suggest starting with…