Archive for August, 2009|Monthly archive page

Oil Painting Tips – Learn How to Keep your Colors Pure

One of the biggest hurdles for beginner oil painters is learning how to keep colors pure. How many times have you started an oil painting only to quit from frustration because things just didn’t look right. Your colors were muddy or they just lacked brilliance. This is a very common problem for artists just starting out with oil paints. Hopefully after reading this article, you will no longer have to put up with this frustration any longer and will finally be able to enjoy oil painting.


I know for some of us, it can be very difficult to maintain a clean and organized painting environment. Sometimes we can get very caught up in our work and things can get sloppy. The last thing you want is to become a sloppy painter as your work will suffer. Break the habit early and try your hardest to develop clean and organized painting habits.

Your Palette

First, you should get into the habit of laying out your colors the same way every time you paint. This is just good practice and keeps the painting process flowing nicely. Arrange your colors along the edges of your palette leaving a lot of room in the center for mixing.

Don’t be afraid to squeeze out a good amount of paint, especially your whites. You will be more productive if you aren’t continuously stopping to squeeze out more paint.

Make certain to include all of the colors you think you will need to complete that session of painting. Again, this will make you more productive.

When adding paint to the palette, I have found that squeezing the paint out in long lines, as opposed to puddles, keeps my colors cleaner. When you have puddles of paint, they tend to get soiled by other colors when mixing. With a long line of paint, you can just take paint from the end as needed and not dirty the rest. Keep some rags or paper towels handy for wiping your palette knife clean.

It’s a good idea to continuously wipe your palette clean during the painting process. There is nothing more frustrating then trying to remove dried up oil paint. Keep some alcohol handy so that you can keep the mixing area of your palette clean.

If you don’t want to fuss around with a regular palette, why not try a disposable one? They are basically paper with a plastic coating that prevents the paper from absorbing the oil. The beauty of the disposable palette, is that you can simply throw it in the trash when you are done. Using a disposable palette will definitely help keep your colors clean as you will be starting with a clean surface every time you start a new painting session.

When mixing your colors, use your palette knife and not your brush. A palette knife can be wiped completely clean so there is no chance of your colors becoming contaminated. Your brush is made for painting and not mixing and you can shorten the life span of your brush if you are continually mixing with it.


I like to have a handful of clean brushes near by when I am painting. This way, I do not need to stop and clean my brushes when I am working with a different color and there is less risk of the wrong colors getting into the mix.


When a color is squeezed straight from the tube, it is said to be high in saturation or brilliance. This is because it hasn’t been mixed with any other colors. The more colors you mix together, the duller they will become. It has been said that one should not mix more than three colors together and this a very good rule to follow. If you mix more than three colors together you are kind of defeating the purpose.

Why is this so? Let’s say that you are going to mix a brown. You decide to use red, yellow and blue to create your brown. You then decide to mix in a bit of orange. As you know, red mixed with yellow will create orange. So there is no need to add the additional color.

No one ever said it is a sin to use color straight from the tube. If you are painting something that calls for brighter color, why not use paint straight from the tube without mixing. Sometimes we get so accustomed to mixing color, that we neglect the pure color that is right in front of us. When using pure color though, try not to over do it. Too many bright colors can create havoc in a painting. Try and add bright colors against a duller surrounding so that your bright colors really stand out.


What is it that most of us do when we want to change the value of a color? To lighten a color, we usually add white and to darken a color we use black. You should always look for the opportunity to use color to change the value instead of black and white. Adding white or black to color will diminish its brilliance, unless that is the effect you are shooting for. A great example of this is using Yellow Ochre. If you want to brighten and lighten this color, instead of adding white, try adding a little Cadmium Yellow Light.

I hope this article has given you a little more insight into keeping your colors pure. Remember to practice oil painting as often as possible and never give up, no matter how frustrated you get!

About The Author
Ralph Serpe is Webmaster and founder of two popular instructional Websites for artists: – Visit us today for more free art lessons. – Visit today for more free art instruction on a variety of different mediums.
Artists Oil Painting Set Has All The Essentials In An Attractive, Hinged, Wood Carrying Case


Antique Jewelry – Investment and Fashion

There are two major reasons for purchasing antique jewelry: as an investment and for fashion. While the term ‘fashionable antiques’ might appear to be an oxymoron, the wearing of old but tasteful jewelry has always been regarded as both fashionable and acceptable in society, and in fact a study of antique jewelry down the ages can tell a lot about the history and culture of a country.

The purpose of jewelry was originally to adorn ourselves, and then became a symbol of status. The ability to afford rare and expensive gems and metals was displayed publicly by wearing them on one’s person. “Look at me: I am richer than you!”

As design became increasingly important, the famous jewelry houses and designers such as Fabergé, Tiffany and Cartier were born from their unique design capabilities, but as the 20th century came along, design became secondary to setting as many diamonds as possible in a piece to increase its actual raw material cost as opposed to its perceived value.

It is doubtful if today’s jewelry will ever become as sought after as that of the great fashion houses and jewelers, and now is the time to purchase antique jewelry for investment because, as it is snapped up and placed in collections, there appears little capable of taking its place. There is still a lot of antique jewelry to be found in antique shops, and even on eBay you will see many fine pieces selling at affordable prices.

It is still worn, of course, although yesterday’s fine pieces do not always fit with today’s clothes fashions. Nevertheless, as taste is replaced by price, this is less important a factor than it once was, and the days appear to be over when jewelry was designed to suit particular styles of clothing and fabrics. Today, anything goes as long as it is bright, glittering and expensive. In many ways, “Bling” has superseded taste and sensitive design.

So, what should you be looking for when purchasing antique jewelry – whether it is for investment or fashion? First check the symmetry of the piece. True antiques are not symmetrical: they are hand-made and each side is slightly different than the other. You can also tell a lot from the fastenings, because barrel clasps are modern, as are post and clip and clip-back earring fastenings (1930s at earliest). An antique will be smooth to the feel, and have no jaggy edges that catch on your hands and clothing.

Platinum and white gold were not used until the 20th century, and earlier 19th century jewelry was made of silver, although gold was used. Also keep in mind that gemstone cutting machines were not used until the mid 19th century, so any modern cut was not possible until then, the elongated baguette cut being introduced in the art deco and art nouveaux pieces of the 1920s.

If you intend purchasing antique jewelry for investment, therefore, it will pay to learn about the subject. Either that or never purchase a piece until it has been checked by an expert. Fashion, on the other hand, is a different thing entirely. While real antique jewelry prices can be set by the piece itself, the value of fashion jewelry is largely set by trends rather than intrinsic value.

Art deco jewelry, art nouveaux, retro – name it what you will, but a large proportion of jewelry designed and produced under these labels had little real value, and some even less in terms of design. To take a corollary with furniture, the ‘in’ furniture style of the 1950s and early 1960’s, ‘G-Plan’ had no mitigating features other than that it was different, and so became the furniture fashion statement of its era. Although it is now enjoying a resurgence under the label of ‘retro’, G-Plan will never be regarded as antique, irrespective of how old it is.

That is as true as the fact that you could never imagine true antiques being referred to as ‘retro’, yet the term can be, and has been applied to the art deco jewelry designs of the 1920s. Whether these designs will ever become fashionable again is another question, but it does raise a question as to antique jewelry and its place in fashion vis a vis that acquired for investment.

Would an art deco piece of jewelry be purchased as a fashion item? Not at the moment, but perhaps as costume jewelry. Would it be acquired as an investment? Doubtful! Can the same be said of art nouveaux? And what else? So where does fashion end and investment begin, or is there no defining line, and do people purchase the jewelry that appeals to them rather than for its projected future value?

One thing is certain. Real antique jewelry has a part to play in the worlds of fashion and of investment, and it is wise to take expert advice prior to parting with your money irrespective of your purpose in buying it. However, would you wear your investment? Only you will know that, and even then only when the time comes to choose – or to show off!
by: Kimberly Clay Antique Trader Jewelry Price Guide