Categories
Information

Painting Safely Using Oil Colors – Part 1

I am writing down how to ‘paint safely using oil colors’ to invite new artists to try using oil colors instead of other alternatives in the market. There is much to learn, so I will publish related content in several, bite-size, posts.

Painting with oil colors comes with a heavy cost to some artists. Some oil colors contain toxic chemicals—such mercury, cadmiums, cobalt, lead–and oil color mediums to change oil colors or to clean your brushes can be extremely harmful. Despite the dangers of these chemicals—let me assure you—that oil painting is a safe sport.

The dangers from the toxic materials weren’t well known until recent decades, so it’s not surprising that some of the best known ‘dead’ artists had been careless: Carravaggio often used his painting palette as a plate, Van Gogh apparently drank paint thinners, and many artists painted with bare hands, exposing them to chemical poisoning. Perhaps it was the result of chemical poisoning that made Carravaggio go off killing people, and changed how Van Gogh see colors with higher shades of yellow.  

So why use oil colors? Well, because many oil colors are “organic” and safer than newer, heavily advertised artist painting materials. What do you think will be more dangerous: eating oil colors made from earthly materials vs. ingesting Acrylic paint?  But the major reason to paint with oil colors is the quality of the end product that is more vibrant and closer to living things.

Here are 3 main practices that I have experimented to paint safely: 

  • Make use of non-toxic colors
  • Stop or Limit the use of paint thinners
  • Make use of Acrylic Paints for underpainting

I will discuss above practices in upcoming posts. Let me end today’s posts by inviting you to read a post from August 2020 and recommending you additional two colors to start your oil painting journey. Once you have read my two posts, you will be armed with four colors for portrait painting: Ivory Black, Scarlet Lake, Yellow Ochre, and Titanium White–This is a safer alternative to Zorn Palette, named after Anders Zorn.

Order Scarlet Lake from Amazon.com (This is an alternative to Vermilion, a famous red color, considered super toxic due to its mercury content)

Need More Colors?

Buy Winsor Newton Artists’ Oil Colors

Categories
Information

Anthony Van Dyke

Anthony van Dyke - Lucas van Uffel
A pencil #100headschallenge study of Lucas van Uffel, an oil painting by Anthony van Dyke

In all my years of studying art, I never paid much attention to Anthony Van Dyke. For years, I thought he was a cousin or a brother of Jan van Eyke who died in 1441. Anthony van Dyke was born on 22 March 1599 and he wasn’t Jan van Eyke’s cousin.  I grew a whole new appreciation for Anthony’s works when I visited The Frick Collection, located in New York City, in 2019.  

Artists will begin to see more than what we used to see after some months of training to become a draftsman. Perhaps, that’s what had happened to me on that fateful day. I remember that it was early Spring. It must have been late March or early April because I remember that people were still wearing winter clothes and the museum was a safe escape from the cold. I had gone to the museum to see a special painting exhibition of Giovanni Battista Moroni

There are many great paintings in museums around the world, and there are a number of famous paintings because of their historical value and all, but then there are some paintings that stand out to each artist. I have grown to admire a few artists and their paintings. And, I thought I would share them with you starting with this story.

New York City hosts a few paintings by Anthony Van Dyke. Here are 3 of my favorites. Click on the links to read more about them.