|Smooth Effects for Oils|
- Using hog hair or bristle brushes are more likely to leave brush strokes or troughs on the oil painting, due to the nature of the stiff bristles’ scratchy effect on the oil paint.
- Trying to blend a thin layer of oil paint is often difficult due to the transparent nature of the paint layer which will have varying thicknesses. This will be made worse if the underlying paint is of a contrasting colour, for example when painting blue paint over an orange paint layer or imprimatura.
- Working in impasto, or applying the oil paint too thickly will leave unwanted brush marks on the paint layer, particularly when using impasto medium.
- Trying to create smooth effects with oil paint could be made harder when applying the paint onto a rough surface, such as dried impasto, or coarse canvas.
My Youtube clip shows how to get smooth effects with oil paint in more detail. As can be seen, linseed oil, rags and soft sables have been used. See how to get smooth gradations in oil paint from dark to pale, and then how to get smooth transition from one colour to another.
How to Glaze Oil Paint for Smooth Finishes
Applying oil paint glazes is one of the best ways of achieving an ultra smooth finish. Simply apply the first layer of oil paint onto a smooth painting surface such as primed MDF or panel. Treat the paint as through it were going to be the last, even though it will never be perfect. Blend the paint as much as possible, brush out any ridges, troughs and patchy areas. Use a soft sable brush for this purpose.
Allow the paint to become touch dry over a few days. Apply the second coat with a little linseed oil. This adheres to the fat over lean rule, which adds flexibility to the upper layers of oil paint to prevent it cracking. Adding linseed oil also adds transparency to the paint which will add depth to the colour and reduce the appearance of imperfections to the under-layer.
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Like glazing, repeat the process once the first paint layer is dry. This dabbing technique is great for smoothing areas on portraits, underwater scenes, skies and other large areas of colour. Creating a smooth colour gradation in painting can be achieved by gradually shifting the colour mix in the glaze as you go along.
How to Blend Oil Paint Smoothly
A smooth paint layer is ideal for achieving superealism to an oil painting, such as large expanses of skies, seas or to create smooth effects on portraits. Old master applied the oil paint in transparent form or as a glaze, in order to reduce the imperfections beneath and to add depth to the colour. I often find two glazes enough, although more can be applied. Glazes can be applied via a soft brush or dabbed on with a soft rag. A little linseed oil should be added with each paint layer in order to add flexibility to the upper layer.
External Links on Related Oil Painting Techniques