Notebook, 1993-

MATERIALS & METHODS - Painting - Oil Painting

Characteristics - Painting Methods & Techniques - Materials and Equipment - Work Space & Storage - Manufacture of Pigments - Protection of the Picture

Oil Painting
Basic Principles

Basic Principles Applied to Oil Painting . . . . An oil painting must be considered as a structure. Therefore, just as a building, a highway, or a bridge must conform to age-old principles of engineering, so an oil painting must conform to long-established rules which govern the building-up of layers or coatings, superimposed one over the other. Since the ground, the paint layers, and the individual ingredients of these are all elements of the whole painting, they must be built up in relation to each other and to the whole in order to obtain satisfactory results.

One of the most important of these rules is the previously mentioned [Rules of Gradation of layers] admonition never to paint coats over more flexible layers, or else cracking will occur. When painting on an oil canvas, you should remember that the ground itself has some degree of flexibility, which limits the use of paints to those that are at least as flexible as the priming on the canvas. An exception to this rule may be made when using an acrylic polymer ground. [pp. 102-103]

[Mayer, Ralph. The Painter's Craft. An Introduction to Artist's Methods and Materials. Revised and updated by Steven Sheehan, Director of the Ralph Mayer Center, Yale University School of Art. New York: Penquin Group. 1948. 1991.]



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