Paint Your Numbers

Everything to Know About Oil on Canvas

Have you ever wondered about different kinds of paints and how they work on different mediums? Or have you ever thought about why certain paints are used in certain paintings and how they affect the overall piece? Art is much more complex (and way more interesting) than just knowing that you put paint on canvas or paper. There are lots of things to consider, such as specific techniques that are used, which type of brushes work with which paints, and the history of paints and art styles. 

Canvas is the primary medium that is used in most paintings, but paper, wood, and other similar surfaces are also used at times. The reason why canvas is used most of the time is that it is compatible with so many types of paints, such as acrylic paint, oil paint, and even watercolor paint. It also works with most brush types, such as synthetic and natural (but note that not all brushes are compatible with all paint types). 

If you are interested in painting, then it is important to learn about paints and how they work with a canvas. Even if you just paint as a hobby for fun, wouldn’t it be cool to know more about the paints you are using? Artists of all levels will oftentimes use oil paint or acrylic, depending on the style they are going for. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about oil paint on canvas! 

What Is The History of Oil Paint?

Oil paint has been around for a very long time. The first uses of oil paint can be traced to Afghanistan in the 7th century when anonymous painters used oil and pigment to paint the inside of a cave. As for its arrival in Europe, it was not until the 11th century when oil painting made its debut. Even so, it did not gain popularity until the 15th century, and it was not widely used until the 16th century. 

At this point, it became a basic and commonly used type of paint. In fact, oil paints became so popular they all but replaced tempera paints throughout all of Europe. Northern European painters and Jan Van Eyck, in particular, are often credited with the invention of oil paints, but they are mostly responsible for helping to popularize it and develop its use for painting. 

At first, oil paint was used on many objects besides canvas, such as wood, sculptures, carvings, and shields used in tournaments. One of the leading cities in the entire world for the popularization and use of oil paints was Venice, which was an artistic hub during the Renaissance Period.   

What Techniques Can You Do With Oil Paint?

One of the main reasons why oil paint is often more popular than acrylic is because of a technique called glazing. This can only be done using oil paint. If you add a tiny amount of pigment to clear oil, you are able to tint an image. You can add several layers of glaze on top of a finished painting which will create an almost translucent effect. Here are some other techniques that can only be accomplished using oil paint:

  • Scumbling- This is when you apply a thin layer of paint using a brush with stiff bristles. This leaves the painting with a textured look. 
  • Alla Prima- This technique is when you do not wait for your first layer of paint to dry. Instead, you paint layers over it for a “wet on wet” look. 
  • Impasto- Basically, you use very thick layers of paint with deep and strong brush strokes. This helps to add dimension to your painting. 
  • Blending- For this technique, you mix two different colors when they are both still wet. They aren’t completely blended but the mixing helps to create the appearance of a smooth transition. They can also help with color transitions, such as mixing a yellow portion of a painting with a blue portion in order to make a green middle area.  

Should I Use Oil Paint on Canvas?

Yes, you should use oil paint on canvas. Besides acrylic, oil paint is the most popular type of paint that can be used on canvas. Unlike watercolor and acrylic, which are water-based and dry by evaporation, oil paints do not contain water and they dry by absorbing oxygen found in the air. They dry more slowly and are much thicker upon application to the canvas. 

There are four types of oil that are used in oil paint. One type is linseed oil, which is the most common and most popular type of oil used. This is due to the fact that it is resistant to cracking, even after long periods of time. The downside to linseed oil is that the color yellows as the painting ages. 

The other three types are walnut oil, poppy oil, and safflower oil. While these types are still widely used by artists, they are slightly less popular. This is because, unlike linseed oil, they are prone to cracking. They are thinner and more watery than linseed oil. However, they will are far less likely to yellow even after time goes by.  

What Can I Paint As a Beginner?

There are actually a lot of things you can paint, even as a beginner. You don’t really need to have a lot of practice, skill, or understanding of art in order to start painting. These are all things that are important, but they can be learned later. Of course, there is a discipline, technique, and structure associated with painting (and with art in general), but the basis of all painting is emotion and passion. 

Some of the greatest paintings in history were made in moments of intense passion and when the artist lost themself entirely in their art. They decided to forget all the training and studying they mastered in order to create something more exciting and meaningful. That is what painting is all about! 

As a beginner, you can start by painting basic things that do not require a lot of detail. For example, you can paint nature scenery, including beaches, forests, and mountains. These only need a few colors and do not require in-depth painting techniques to still turn out looking good. 

If you are not quite ready to buy all your own supplies, you could start by trying a personalized Paint Your Numbers. Painting your own custom canvas is great for artists of all skill levels, whether you paint for a hobby or for a living. Either way, you will be challenged and have fun at the same time.  

Pick an image that inspires you or makes you happy, and then upload it to our website. After that, we will send you the image you picked in the form of a canvas. The image will be outlined and it will have numbers in various sections of the canvas. These numbers correspond with the numbers on paints we provide you. Simply match the numbers up and when you are done you will have your very own masterpiece. 


Did you ever think there could be this much information to learn just about oil paint and canvas? To recap, oil paint contains colorful pigment that is bound in oil. It is known for being one of the highest quality paints you can buy, making it popular amongst artists. It is durable and long-lasting. 

You can do a lot with oil paint, including several techniques on canvas, which we discussed in this article. It has a longstanding history in the art community and has been around since the 7th century when it was used for cave paintings. 

However, it wasn’t until the 16th century when it quickly gained popularity starting in Europe. During this time, many masters of oil painting emerged as leaders in the art world. Many painters learned how to use oil paints from leaders such as Diego Velázquez

Oil paint is used predominantly on canvas because it has the strength and durability to hold the paint and allows the paint to dry properly. The canvas has a specific texture that works well with oil paint. 

If you are ready to try out your own oil painting, you can buy canvas, paints, and brushes from your local art store. Another great option is to use the personalized canvas portraits from Paint Your Numbers. This is the perfect way for painters of all levels to enjoy a fun challenge.