Art Facts

Oil Paint

Who uses it most?

Originally Flemish artists were masters of oil painting. These days many people use it to make art. Oil paint has been used in Europe sinds the 12th century but was started to be used in the 15th century. It is thought dat Jan van Eyck invented oil paint in the 15th century. Jan van Eyck van a Belgian painter who was a master of oil painting.

What is oil paint made of?

Oil paint is made of pigment and normally dryed linseed oil. Oil paint can not get thinner in water like acrylic paint would so you need to use  turpentine or white spirit. Oil paint takes a long time to dry. You can use oil paint to paint metals that rust as it protects them from rusting.

How long does it take for oil paint to dry?

The oil paint we use takes two to four days to dry. The time it takes to dry depends on the heat, the depth of the layer, the colour of the pigment, the quality of the paint and the type of oil paint.

Famous masterpieces made with oil paint

The majority of masterpieces are made with oil paint. A few examples are The Nightwatch made by Rembrandt van Rijn made in 1642, Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci in 1503 and The Starrynight made by Vincent van Gogh in 1889.


Canvas is a material artists paint on. Canvas is also used for making tents,sails and backpacks. When used by artists canvas is often stretched over a wooden frame. Modern canvas is often made with cotton or linnen along with PVC but historically it was made with herp. There are two types of canvas plain and duck, heavy, plain woven fabric. The term duck comes from the Dutch word doek meaning cloth. The word canvas originates from the Anglo-French word canevaz. Before canvas oil painting was often done on wooden panels. Now canvas is the most common medium for oil painting.

Types of canvas

Different types of canvas are:

  • Dyed canvas
  • Fire-proof canvas
  • Printed canvas
  • Stripe canvas
  • Water-resistant canvas
  • Waterproof canvas
  • Waxed canvas
  • Rolled canvas

Artists’ Charcoal

Different types of chacoal

Different types of charcoal are:

  • Vine charcoal, a long thin charcoal stick made by burning grape vines in a kiln without air.
  • Willow charcoal, a long think charcoal stick made by burning willow sticks in a kiln without air.
  • Compressed charcoal is shaped into a block or stick using gum or wax binders.

Charcoal pencils consist of compressed charcoal enclosed in a jacket of wood. Charcoal pencils are often used for detailed drawings.

Art techniques for charcoal

Common techniques for using charcoal are:


Hatching is a method in which dark thin lines are continuosly placel parallel to one another and done with charcoal it comes out smoother and darker.


Rubbing is done by rubbing charcoal over a sheet of paper pressed on a surface with a patterned texture. Rubbing will reproduce the pattern on the paper.


Blending is a method where the charcoal is rubbed by a finger or blending stump to create smooh transitions between darker and lghter areas of the drawing. This technique can also be used to create a shadow effect. 


Lifting is a technique where you erase parts of the drawing with a kneaded rubber to create a picture. On the left you see a drawing of a solar eclipse  made with the technique of lifting.


Pastels are an art medium used to draw. There are different types of pastel such as oil pastel, soft pastel and pan pastels. We use soft pastels which are the most commonly used type of pastel. The soft pastel sticks have a high portion of pigment and a low portion of binder compared to different types of pastel. To give a protection to soft pastel drawings artists spray the drawing with hair spray.