Friday, April 24, 2009

Creating watercolor paintings with oil paint.

Can a watercolor painting be created using oil paint? The answer is yes, to some degree. The question is - is it worth the effort and when should this technique be used?

Watercolor painting itself is very demanding and its techniques are quite unique. The water in the watercolor paint changes shape of the paper and appearance of the paint when it dries. Watercolor is also not 'forgiving', since mistakes cannot be hidden by painting over. Thus, it is very complex and tricky media to use. On the other hand oil doesn't have these limitations, not to say it has no difficulties on its own, but it lucks the effects that can be created with the watercolor paint, or is it?

The idea is what if for example an oil painting of foggy or rainy day needs to be created? With watercolor paint, considering an artist is proficient with it, it is very easy to paint fog or rain. Watercolor allows for scattering of light creating transparent layers that are perfect for painting fog for example. What about oil?

Yes, same effect can be accomplished with oil paint. It has many limitations that watercolor paint does not, but for this particular example it can be done. See picture of the original oil painting on canvas on top and here is the closeup of the top right corner.

It is oil painting of downtown Chicago on a rainy day. The watercolor effect in this painting is accomplished using oil paint. It has a slightly different feel to it then watercolor painting, but the effect is the same and it fits the painting very well.

It is obvious that oil paint will not replace or cannot accomplish the same thing watercolor paint can and vice versa, however if an artist is proficient with both medias , then watercolor look and feel can be accomplished even with oil paint. This works well for specific landscapes when dim light conditions are portrayed in the painting.

One thing to note, it is somewhat tricky and complicated to get watercolor effect using oil paint, and requires some research from the artist. The way it has to be done is also depends on the painting itself, such as landscape, colors used, etc... so there is no simple direction s on how to accomplish this. However, any artist should be able to figure it out after a number of tries.

Here are some additional examples of oil paintings on canvas where watercolor effect is produced using oil paint.

Mikhail Onanov

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