Marcula Stauffer Teaches Oil Painting to Beginners

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Oil Painting Techniques for Beginners with Marcula Stauffer

No blank canvas is intimidating with techniques from the experienced artist, Marcula Stauffer.


Oil paints have been used for hundreds of years and are favored for slow drying time, opacity, and durability. This medium has a very thick consistency, often taking multiple days to fully dry before another layer can be added.


Slow drying paint can be an advantage for beginners because it provides the ability to go back and make adjustments or blend colors.


Learning any new skill takes time and practice, so Marcula Stauffer reminds new artists to have fun making mistakes while experimenting in a new medium. As an artist, your work will be unique to you and what you’re feeling.  


After gathering your materials and finding a quiet place to work, try these easy oil painting techniques recommended by Marcula Stauffer.



1. Sketching

Many artists begin their painting by drawing on the canvas first. This can be done very lightly using a pencil or a piece of charcoal.


A simple sketch provides a general outline which will help with the sizing of objects in the landscape.


Marcula Stauffer reminds new painters not to get carried away with this technique since it’s just a guideline for the real deal.



2. Paint Directly

With this method, artists skip the drawing and put a preliminary background to tone the canvas. This will help the painting stick to the canvas without cracking. It can also help new artists feel less intimidated by removing the large white space. Marcula Stauffer notes that sometimes, getting started is the hardest part.


This step can be done with diluted neutral oil paint, or with a thin layer of acrylic. Always be sure to let the preliminary background dry before directly painting your landscape.



3. Layering

The beauty of oil painting is its ability to be used in layers, which can make it jump off of the canvas. To begin, Marcula Stauffer recommends adding areas of shadow and light before layering on more intense colors. A general oil painting rule of thumb is to always paint the thick on top of the thin.


To achieve this, Marcula Stauffer highly dilutes the first layers of paint with water with each subsequent layer becoming less and less diluted. Again, make sure each layer is adequately dry.



4. Limit the Palette

It’s very easy to get excited and overwhelmed at the number of available color options. Despite all those choices, Marcula Stauffer believes its best for beginners to limit their color palette.


By doing this, new artists can save money and learn how to mix and blend colors. Learning how to properly shade can take your finished piece to the next level.