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Oil Painting
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Oil painting is the standard method that is used to paint pictures of quality and some importance. Oil painting is done on a ground, such as a primed canvas, that is coated with one or more layers of colored pigment that has been mixed with oil to give the freshly done work a stickiness. Linseed is the most common oil used for oil painting, but other oils such as poppy and nut oils have also been used. The latter oils stay workable longer than the linseed oils. Siccatives, or dryers, are added to linseed oil mixtures in order for the paint to dry more quickly. Although mixtures of oil and pigment originated in very early times for the decoration and exteriors of buildings, oil painting for art has been credited to Eycks; however, even though a better quality of oil painting did begin appearing in the fifteenth century in Flanders, it is not certain who was responsible for its introduction. There are two distinct methods of oil painting.

The first method is called "alla prima" and refers to putting the paint directly on the canvas. If the desired effect is not achieved in "alla prima", the artist has no choice but to start the painting over again on another canvas. The second method is the technique that was used by the Old Masters such as Rembrandt, Reubens and Titian. This technique consists of planning an artwork ahead of time, drawing the design on the canvas and then covering the design with one or more than one layer of oil paint. The monochrome color that has been put onto the canvas first is then layered with the colors that the artist wishes to use for the final composition. The final colors may be altered by applying transparent films (called "glazes") or an opaque paste (called "scumbles)". The last two methods enable the artist to vary shades and textures in an almost unlimited variety. As a result, artists came to favor oil painting more than any other method.

The advent of acrylics has changed this somewhat, because acrylics combine both the traditional oil paint and watercolor, giving the artist even more leeway in his or her work. Acrylics are also much more permanent than traditional materials, enabling the artist to paint a picture that will never fade, nor will it decompose over long periods of time.

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