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Painting with oils on paper? This is what I have learned

Not bad, although a bit dull.

Sometimes you want to explore certain color combinations or try different compositions before making a final painting.

In that case, using a framed canvas could be a bit expensive, so last week, I have carried out a little experiment trying to paint over oil paper, and the experience has been certainly interesting.

As a subject, I have chosen to paint a little snowy landscape with some ruins in the background. Very classic. The color palette is based on the painting  “A mountain pass in Winter” by German painter Heinrich Höfer.

A totally different experience

I have learned that out that, unlike on a traditional canvas, the paint dries very fast on that kind of paper. Mixing colors have turned to be a nightmare. It reminds me of the terrible experience I had when painting with gouache.

Please don´t get me wrong, I totally love gouache, but it looks to be a challenging technique to master so that I will stick to oil painting. By the way, if you like this technique, you should totally check the lovely work of Justin Donaldson.

I also found out the brushes were behaving strangely, and the paper makes the paint looks completely matte once dried. Somehow it also seems to absorb the intensity of the color.

However, this drying speed can make it very useful to do preliminary studies and sketch outside the studio.

Looking for a better paper

This should do the trick

A few days ago, I was told by a colleague in the paint workshop that the paper I have been using (Reeves Oil Paper) is not the better one for painting because of the problems I have mentioned before.

Instead, she recommended using Canson Figueras Oil Paper. This is a thicker paper with a canvas-like texture, and hopefully, it will not absorb as much paint as the previous one.

So I have purchased a pack of sheets and will try to make another quick painting and see how it goes. I will keep you posted.

Have you painted on paper before? Do you have any tricks to share? I would love to hear them!

Ruben Megido

I´m Rubén Megido, a Spanish artist. I enjoy painting Fantasy, Science-Fiction, and Pop Culture related themes.

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