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Medium Well Done: 6 Oils
Since the decline of egg tempera as the preferred medium for easel paintings in the Renaissance, oil paints have dominated those used by professional painters. This is due to their longevity and versatility. When appropriate techniques are used, oil paintings readily survive over five hundred years, and are the... Read more
Alchemy: 2 – the origin of oil painting
Oil painting – ancient or modern – requires the bringing together of four components in a successful technique: a drying oil, pigments, a ground able to take the paint, solvents/diluents. The last of these is often forgotten, but without a means to dilute oil paint, clean brushes and other... Read more
The Nativity, ancient and modern
No matter whether your Christmas is devoutly religious, or seriously secular, if you look at paintings from the Western canon it is hard not to come across scenes of the Nativity. From the central figures of the Virgin Mary as mother, and her newborn child Jesus Christ, they can... Read more
Out of the Shadows: Form and figures
According to ancient legend, the person who ‘invented’ painting was not a man, and did so by tracing the shadow of her boyfriend. Dibutades, a maid of Corinth in Greece, was about to see her boyfriend sent away from the city on military service. As the daughter of a... Read more