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Oil paintings

Carré d'artistes invites you to explore the richness of pictorial oil art through a wide range of unique works. Discover all the emotion re-transcribed by our artists' interpretation of this traditional technique.

What is oil painting?

The creation of oil painting is generally ascribed to the painter Jan Van Eyck during the Middle Ages. This is an official authorship, because 14th century artists were already testing out various recipes based on egg white and oil, which were then used as varnish.
The Flemish artist’s approach has been widely adopted by the pictorial community. The painter came up with the idea of mixing color pigments with a drying oil on a marble slab (linseed or walnut oil) to obtain a soft paste which can be applied on a new support: canvas.
From this moment on, this painting technique resonated for its nobility and complexity. The great Italian painters, like Titien, contributed to the universalization of this art. Oil painting was considered to be the prerogative of Impressionism, given this practice was the norm during the 19th century.
Industrialization of painting in the form of tubes was the pinnacle of the technique. While painting outdoors, artists used to fill up pork bellies with the oil mixture. This practice was particularly restrictive, and the marketing of tubes encouraged painters to go out, to practice their art.
If oil painting was the quintessential pictorial demonstration, the latter was gradually caught up by the democratization of acrylic painting. Such kind of a painting appealed to contemporary artists, who gradually gave up on oil paintings and made the most of reduced drying time and optimal conservation of the work.

How does one practice oil painting?

Practicing oil painting requires technical know-how and ironclad patience. Even though, oil has this unique property of providing the work with an unrivalled satin glow, it should be noted that the main feature of this painting is that it dries very slowly. Apparently, it hardens due to the oxygen in the air which triggers a chemical reaction that solidifies the layers.
Oil painting artists must stick to strict rules, at the risk of distorting and spoiling the work in the long run. They should paint by applying the "fat over lean", which means, they should always apply an oilier coat of paint over the already applied coat. A new coat which is too diluted with turpentine, shall prevent the previous one from drying properly, in such a way that a hard coat will cover the old one, that can eventually trigger cracks and deformations.
Therefore, artists need to paint a first coat and then wait several weeks for it to dry in order to continue the oil painting . The contemporary generation practices the "alla prima" method, which means painting the picture in one shot.

At Carré d'artistes, take the time to admire the oil paintings of our artists who shall unveil the finesse and the know-how, which is required by this art, to you.

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