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Oil Canvas Painting Ideas for At-Home

Working with oil colors is challenging, but once you have a grasp of the use of the solvents and various mediums needed to achieve the effects you like, you will have the ability to create translucent, visually stunning art pieces that vibrate with color and vibrance. 

Modern Masterpieces For Inspiration

If you are a fan of abstracted and post-modern art, there are lots of artists to take inspiration from when implementing a visually arresting, fun project for painting with oils. If you are still learning the finer points of working with oils, allowing yourself to have some fun with bright color and fun composition is a good way to get acquainted with the trickier aspects of oil color technique.

Look through some of Wassily Kandinsky’s work for inspiring paintings that focus on color and form. His iconic painting of concentric circles of vivid colors painted onto blocks of contrasting color is a good painting to use as a guide for a fun beginner’s painting project.

Piet Mondrian is another artist who focused on abstracted color blocks in a lot of his work. His iconic Cubist paintings have been borrowed heavily from pop culture (older people will remember the van from ‘The Partridge Family’, as one example). Take a look at Mondrian’s “The Gray Tree” for a great example of painting from nature, while using Cubist techniques to do it. The simplified shapes and distinct areas of light and dark will inspire you to think outside of the box (perhaps by thinking inside of ‘the cube’, in this case) while creating fun images for your home.

Impressionist Color Explosion

The Impressionist school wanted to get away from the increasingly contrived figurative artwork of the past. Artists like Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir used color in new ways that turned the traditional schools of thought on their ears.

By focusing on the ways that light and atmosphere affect the shapes and colors of the world around you, you can paint the people and objects in your artwork with abstracted abandon.

Take a look at the images of “The Water Lily Pond” that Claude Monet did several studies of, and imagine how you can loosen up your style, focusing much less on detail and more on using small applications of color to achieve the desired effect. By squinting when you look at your subject, it helps you to see the highlights and shadows of forms without letting your focus zero in on tedious details.

Trying to paint like the Impressionists is a fun exercise. You might be surprised how lots of dappled pieces of color can come together to make a stunning finished piece of artwork. 

Pop Art Made Easy

Andy Warhol started life as an illustrator for consumer catalogs. His career evolved into the Pop Art movement, using images taken from advertising and photography as statement pieces that made an enduring impact on the art world.

Do a still-life study of a consumer object that uses colors and shapes that appeal to you. Creating oil on canvas artwork takes a lot of practice, and this is a great way to practice color matching with oil paint and learning how to control the flow of the medium when challenged with high contrast shapes and vivid color schemes.

The work of Roy Lichtenstein offers great examples of creating pop culture images out of lowbrow subjects, such as comic book characters. He used a method of applying the paint onto the canvas through a screen that only allowed a symmetrical series of dots through. This mimicked the way that color was applied to pulp fiction and comic book images of the mid 20th century. 

By borrowing from the masters, you can build up your knowledge of the various ways that oil paint can be used to make a multitude of interesting effects.

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