Oiling Out

Oiling out is a technique used in oil painting when the oil sinks into the lower layers of a painting, leaving the top layers lacking vitality.

Oil may sink into the lower layers for a number of reasons:

  • The lower layers may be too absorbent
  • Too much solvent has been used
  • Not enough solvent has been used

Often sinking occurs in patches, rather than over the whole painting due to varied drying times of the paints used (some colors dry faster than others).

Oiling out is not a technique that beginners should be worried about. It is more of an advanced technique and is not a necessary part of learning how to paint. It is however a useful technique once one becomes more advanced with oils.

In practice, oiling out would involve dabbing a very thin about of artists’ quality oil medium over the areas of the painting which have sunk in, using a fine cloth. This should only be done once the painting is dry to touch, as you do not want any mixing of the colors.

Want to Learn More?

You might be interested in my Painting Academy course. I’ll walk you through the time-tested fundamentals of painting. It’s perfect for absolute beginner to intermediate painters.

Thanks for Reading!

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Happy painting!

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy

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Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.

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