ZenART's Membership Plans Terms & Conditions

(Updates effective 17/08/2020)

These terms and conditions (“Terms and Conditions”) govern the ZenART Supplies Rewards & Referral Plan as well as Subscribe & Save Plan (“Membership Plans”), and members of the programs will earn zen coins in connection with the purchase of qualifying online products and online activities that are redeemable towards the purchase of certain products online. For the re-occurring members (Subscribe & Save Plan) this includes exclusive gifts & content.


  • Free. No purchase is necessary to obtain membership in the Rewards & Referral Program, but you must establish an account at https://shop.zenartsupplies.co/account/register . Please see our privacy policy, located here, to understand how information you provide us will be used. This program is void where prohibited.
  • Eligibility. In order to be eligible for the Rewards & Referral Program, you must create an account as outlined in these Terms and Conditions. You may create an account if you are at least seventeen (17) years of age, have Internet access, and have a valid mailing address. If you are between the ages of 17 and 18, you must have your parent’s permission to register for an account. If you choose to create an account, you are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account, username and password and for restricting access to your account. You are responsible for keeping such information current, complete, accurate and truthful. You agree to accept responsibility for all activities that occur under your account, username and/or password. You agree to provide only current, complete, accurate and truthful information. If you are accessing and using the Site on someone else’s behalf, you represent that you have the authority to bind that person as the principal to all Terms and Conditions provided herein, and to the extent you do not have such authority you agree to be bound to these Terms and Conditions and to accept liability for harm caused by any wrongful use of the Site or Content resulting from such access or use. You may only have one member account per natural person. Persons who are discovered to have more than one account forfeit their zen coins and will be unsubscribed from the Loyalty Program.
  • How To Enroll in the Rewards & Referral Program. (a) Create an account: Visit www.zenartsupplies.com (the "Site" or "Online") and become a registered user of the Site. Click here to be taken directly to the registration page. You will be asked for your first and last name, your email address, and a password. You will also be given the option to sign up for our newsletter. Once you have submitted the requisite information, you will be sent an email to the address you listed confirming your membership. Once you have confirmed your email address, you are automatically enrolled in the Reward & Referral Program and are a member (“Member”).
  • How to Access/Change Your Member Information. You must keep your personal information on your Account up-to-date. To do so, click on the "My Account" section and access your account by entering your registered email address and current password. From your dashboard you can access your account information; review your current and past orders; change your profile; manage your subscriptions and applications, and access your previous purchases.
  • How to Cancel Your Membership. You may cancel an account at any time. To cancel your account, please send an email to support@zenartsupplies.co and write “cancel membership” in the subject line. The email must come from the account currently listed on our servers as being associated with your Rewards & Referral Program. If you no longer have access to that email address, please email our customer service department and we will verify your status and cancel your account. Upon cancellation, you are no longer a member, and any unused zen coins accrued in your account will be forfeited and cannot be redeemed. Zen coins maintain their value only on valid accounts in good standing, and except as otherwise provided here for redemption, have no cash value outside of their redemption value on the Site.


  • General Members can earn zen coins on the purchase of qualifying online products at zenartsupplies.co. To receive zen coins for your Online purchases, you must be signed into your account. You may check at any time to see if you are signed in to the Site by looking in the upper right-hand corner of the site. Gift cards do not qualify for zen coins. Other products that do not qualify for zen coins are noted on the Site.
  • Earning Rate. Members earn 5 sen coins for every $1.00 spent on qualifying purchases (in other words, one (5) zen coins for every one dollar ($1) spent). Zen coins are based on your order subtotal, after any discounts, only. Zen coins are rounded down to the nearest whole number. For example, if you spend $9.99, you will receive 9 zen coins. The calculation is as follows: $9.99 x 1 zen coins per dollar = 9.99 zen coins, which is rounded down to 9 zen coins. This program started on August 17, 2020, and initial levels were set on the 2020 amount spent on ordering products. Note: Shipping and Taxes are not taken into consideration. If an item is return and/or price adjusted that will also be removed from your rewards calculations.
  • Gift Cards. Gift card purchases are not eligible to receive zen coins. However, once a gift card is redeemed, zen coins will be awarded to the recipient for the subtotal after any gift card values, provided s/he is logged into the account, as outlined in these Terms and Conditions.
  • Addition of Zen Coins to Accounts. Zen Coins will be added to your Account under the following conditions, and will generally show up immediately. You will receive zen coins:
    • At the time of account registration
    • During the purchase of qualifying products
    • For other activities outlined on the Site that may show up from time to time. Note that for these other activities, including “bonus zen coins” accumulations and other zen coin promotions, zen coins may show as “pending,” depending upon the activity.
    • Joining the Birthday Club. Birthdate must be entered 30 days before your Birthday to qualify.
    • For Liking the ZenART Supplies Facebook page and sharing the ZenART Supplies Facebook page with your following. This is good one time only.
    • Following ZenART Supplies on Instagram. This is good one time only.
    • Referring a friend to ZenART Supplies. Your account will be automatically awarded the discount only if the referral friend used the link sent to them from your referral account and makes a qualifying purchase. Discount will automatically be applied to account if stipulations are met.
  • Exclusions. Members earn zen coins only on the purchase price of: (i) qualifying online products. Calculation of zen coins excludes payment by the Member for shipping charges and all taxes, including without limitation, federal, state, and local taxes or use taxes. Zen Coins will not be earned on any discounts or other credits offered in connection with a product or service. For example, if a product that is normally $50 is on sale for $25, a Member will only earn zen coins on the purchase price of $25. Purchases of gift cards, redemption of vouchers, and any type of price adjustments, including merchandise returns, are not eligible for zen coins. All purchases made: (i) by a Member prior to such member joining the Program, (ii) Online without a Member being logged onto the Website with the Member's Account number linked to the Member's Online account, are not eligible for Reward & Referral Program credit. The purchase of ZenART Supplies products outside the Zenartsupplies.co website are not eligible for the Reward & Referral Program.
  • Returns/Order Cancellations. Zen Coins earned for a purchase that is then the subject of a return, cancellation, refund, declined credit card or gift card, or other credit will be deducted from your account in an amount equal to the zen coins earned for the original transaction, including any bonus zen coins that may be applicable. Any rewards discounts that are applied to the order, will be distributed equally to the applicable items in the order when completing a return. Zen Coins redeemed on an order will not be reapplied back to your rewards account for any reason on a returned order. If a return/cancellation will cause your account to have a negative zen coin balance, you will not begin earning zen coins again until your zen coins balance is returned to zero (0), by making purchases, or engaging in other promotional activities offered from time to time. If an item is exchanged (different product) any redeemed rewards on the initial purchase may be transferred to the exchange one (1) time only. Rewards used on an order that is canceled cannot be reapplied as they are good for just one use.
  • Bonus Zen Coins Promotions. From time to time, ZenART Supplies may run certain bonus zen coin promotions. Under bonus zen coin promotions, Members can earn additional or "bonus zen coins" in connection with the purchase of certain online products. When you purchase these specially marked products or make the purchase during a bonus zen coins time period, you will earn bonus zen coins on each product, as specified in the offer. Bonus zen coin promotions are subject to the terms and conditions of the offer and may be offered at any time in ZenART Supplies sole discretion. Bonus zen coin offers cannot be combined with any other offer.
  • Limitations on Bonus Zen Coins and Zen Coins, Generally. These terms apply to zen coins and bonus zen coins accruals. If you purchase a product during a promotion and the product comes with an additional, free product, zen coins will not be issued on the retail value of the free product. If you redeem zen coins towards the purchase of a product and pay a portion of the retail price after the zen coin's redemption, you will receive zen coins only on the leftover retail amount you pay, and not on any value attributed to the zen coin you used. If you redeem zen coins towards the purchase of a product in an amount equal to the full price of the product, you will not earn any zen coins.
  • Non-purchase Options for Earning Zen Coins. You may also earn additional zen coins on non-purchase activities. From time to time, ZenART Supplies may offer you the chance to win various prizes, and earn zen coins, for entering into promotions. For sweepstakes promotions, there is NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO PLAY OR TO WIN. Rules and restrictions will apply to such promotions and may be found on the entry page of any promotion.
  • Referring a friend to ZenART Supplies. Email a friend an $8 off coupon on $50 order by clicking “ Earn Zen Coins” then “ Refer a Friend”. Enter the email address of a friend who has not purchased with ZenART Supplies before (if your referral has shopped with us before the referral link will be automatically voided by the system). A referral link will be sent to your friend with an $8 off coupon on a $50 order. $8 off coupon on $50 order will automatically be rewarded to your account only if the referral friend used the link sent to them from your referral account and makes a qualifying first-time purchase with ZenART Supplies. Your Referral friend will receive an $8 off coupon on $50 order, 200 zen coins for signing up, and zen coins from their first purchase made while signed into their new ZenART Supplies account.


  • How To Use Your Zen Coins. Zen Coins must be used in increments outlined in these Terms and Conditions. The maximum number of zen coins that may be used in a single transaction is 10,000 zen coins. Zen Coins may only be used Online at the ZenART Supplies website. Zen Coins towards Products: Members can use their zen coins to reduce the purchase price of a product or to receive a product for free based on the following scale:
    • 500 zen coins = $5.00 off
    • 1,000 zen coins = $10.00 off your at least $50 order
    • 1,500 zen coins = $15.00 off your at least $50 order
    • 2,500 zen coins = $25.00 off your at least $50 order

    Zen Coins can only be redeemed in any combination of the zen coin and increment amounts set forth above. Redemption of zen coins towards purchases of products is subject to product availability. Any rewards discounts that are applied to the order, will be distributed equally to the applicable items in the order when completing a return.

  • Gift cards. Once available, zen coins cannot be used towards the purchase of gift cards. Gift card redemption, however, is eligible for zen coins. Zen Coins accrued pursuant to the use of a gift card will benefit the gift card user, provided the user has an account in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.
  • To Redeem your Zen Coins. Before you begin shopping with us, sign in to your Shop account on our site. Select “Redeem Zen Coins” from the red tab housed in the lower left-hand corner of the screen and select the amount of zen coins you would like to redeem. You will be issued a custom code that you can copy and paste into the discount bar during check out (Please note - only one code can be used). Your total payment amount will be discounted by the amount of zen coins you allocate to the purchase. Note that zen coins may only be redeemed for the purchase price of the product. Sales tax, shipping, and other handling charges assessed in addition to the price of the product are your responsibility and zen coins may not be used to discount these additional charges.
  • Exclusions. Only one account per natural person. Only one discount code can be redeemed per transaction. Rewards redemption codes may not be combined with any other discount codes. Zen Coins may not be transferred or gifted at this time. Zen Coins cannot be used on past purchases. Zen Coins accumulated on different accounts by different members may not be combined or aggregated to make purchases of products or for any other reason. Zen Coins earned in a transaction cannot be redeemed in the same transaction. Redeemed zen coins cannot be retroactively applied to any past order or receive a price adjustment on any order where redeemed zen coins were not applied. Zen Coins have no cash value outside of the ZenART Supplies website and are available only to members in good standing.
  • Zen Coins Expiration and Time Lapses. All zen coins acquired, whether standard zen coins or bonus zen coins, shall expire 180 days from the date the zen coins are added to your account. Zen Coins expire 180 days from the date in which they were assigned to your account. Specific onsite activities in which zen coins will be awarded are set to accrue zen coins based on a time-lapse at the discretion of ZenART Supplies.
    • Sign up: zen coins are added to your account instantly
    • Order: zen coins are added to your account when your order is placed.
  • Once zen coins are redeemed, a discount code will be assigned and we are unable to cancel the discount code and reapply the zen coins to your Reward & Referral account. Discount codes generated by redeeming zen coins do not expire until used. They are a one-time use code, so once it is used it is gone. If an order is returned zen coins will not be reinstated.

4. Subscribe & Save Plan

  • Re-occurring purchase. Purchase is necessary in order to participate in this plan. The plan is worth $6.95 and will be charged to your account on the same date of the month that you purchased the plan, i.e. if you purchased the plan on 19th of January, you will be charged for the plan on the 19th of each month you are a Subscribe & Save Plan member.
  • 15% re-occurring discount. As a member of the subscribe & Save Plan, you are eligible for a 15% discount every time you put an order in place. You are qualified for the discount as soon as you purchase the plan.
  • Cancellation. After a purchase made with a Subscribe & Save Plan, you are not able to get a refund for the plan for the month the purchase was valid for but you can cancel for the following months.
  • Free samples & accessories. These are included for members of Subscribe & Save Plan only. These are not included in each order but the member will be informed when they will receive "extras" in their order.
  • Access to exclusive content. Exclusive access to tutorials, guides, tips & tricks in video, pdf, or audio format will be part of the membership program. Not all exclusive content is available but what is and will be available is up to ZenART Supplies sole discretion.


  • By registering with Zenartsupplies.co and joining the Reward & Referral Program, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions set forth in these Terms and Conditions, as well as any other terms that may be associated with the Reward & Referral Program. ZenART Supplies reserves the right to cancel, modify, suspend or restrict the Reward & Referral Program, your account, the redemption of zen coins, or any aspect of the Program, including, without limitation, the zen coin conversion ratio and the zen coin expiration policy at any time. Any changes can be made without advance notice. ZenART Supplies may make these changes even though such changes may affect your ability to use zen coins already accumulated. You are responsible for remaining knowledgeable about the Program Terms and Conditions. A Member's zen coins balance, as reflected in ZenART Supplies records, shall be deemed correct. ZenART Supplies reserves the right to determine the amount of zen coins in any Member's account based on ZenART Supplies' internal records related to such Member's account. In the event of an inconsistency between the amount accrued in a Member's account as stated on any Member's receipt and ZenART Supplies internal records, ZenART Supplies internal records will control. ZenART Supplies assumes no responsibility for errors caused by incorrect Member information. Your right to transfer zen coins earned or granted under the Program is strictly limited. The sale of zen coins is prohibited and may result in the confiscation or cancellation of your zen coins as well as suspension or termination of your membership, which in each case shall be final and conclusive. All transactions involving zen coins and all Member accounts are subject to review and verification by ZenART Supplies. The zen coins balance in a Member's account may be unavailable for use when an account or transaction is under review. ZenART Supplies may revoke any Member's membership in the Reward & Referral Program at any time if such Member engages in abuse of the Reward & Referral Program or fails to follow the terms and conditions of the Program. Fraud or abuse relating to the accrual of zen coins or redemption of rewards may result in revocation of membership in the Program and may affect a Member's eligibility for participation in any other ZenART Supplies program, present or future. Zen Coins are non-transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash. The interpretation and application of the Program's Terms and Conditions are at the sole discretion and determination of ZenART Supplies. For more information or other questions, click on Contact Us.
  • The Terms and Conditions of the loyalty program are subject to change at ZenART Supplies’ sole discretion at any time and without notice to customers. Upon customer’s at-will termination of their Zenartsupplies.com registered account, or if a customer is termination for violation of these Terms and Conditions or other activities in violation of the intent and good faith intended use of this Site, all zen coins will immediately be forfeited and will no longer be redeemable. ZenART Supplies will make reasonable efforts to award zen coins as outlined above to all 1. registered and 2. qualifying Zenartsupplies.co customers but is not responsible for any technical or unforeseen errors that may occur.
  • Zen Coins are nontransferable, nonredeemable for cash, are nonrefundable and are not valid outside of Zenartsupplies.co. Purchases made outside Zenartsupplies.co are not valid for zen coin accrual (this includes, but is not limited to Facebook resell groups, Ebay, and Amazon).
  • Employees of ZenART Supplies are not eligible to participate in the Reward & Referral Program.

Subscribe & Save Plan

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Essential Oil Painting Techniques for Beginners and Beyond

Essential Oil Painting Techniques for Beginners and Beyond

Oil Painting Supplies List | Oil Painting Techniques using Brushstrokes | Useful Tips

Oil paint has been around for a very long time. The oldest known oil paintings date back as far as 7 century AD, painted by Buddhist artists in Afghanistan. Today, it still remains one of the most popular mediums that artists choose to use.

I find oil painting to be very forgiving and a pleasurable working experience. Oil paints are quite flexible, and the range of depth and translucency that you can achieve with them is truly amazing. There are quite a number of oil painting techniques that you can explore and master. You don’t have to use them all, but knowing how they work will give you more tools to work with — and that’s always a good thing.

Having the right tools is a must. Don’t be stumped right away by using the wrong supplies. And you don’t need a lot either to begin with, so don’t worry about having to spend too much.


Oil Painting Supplies List

oil painting techniques

Here’s a short list of the basics that you’ll need to have or prepare. Have a look through our in-depth guide of oil painting supplies for beginners for a full-fledged list plus other ‘optional supplies’ that you might want to get in the future.

Oil Paints - You don’t need all the colors out there. Just the essential colors will be more than enough and I highly recommend that you start with them. ZenART’s Essential Palette has a color selection of said foundation colors. Working with a limited palette will help you understand color theory much better.

Oil Paint Brushes - A nice good set with a range of flat and round brushes is best. Flat brushes are great for spreading paint and will be used in a lot of oil painting techniques and brush stroke techniques. While round brushes are useful for small details. I personally love Filbert brushes and love the amazing selection of brushes from ZenART’s Renoir brush set.

Palette knife - This is quite essential for mixing colors, instead of your brush, use the palette knife for mixing. It’ll help you avoid overloading your brush with paint and you’ll get to mix colors more thoroughly and evenly. You can also use it to apply or remove paint, giving you very textural effects.

Supports - There are various supports that you can use: canvas, wood, panels, canvas paper, and more. Canvases are the easiest to source and the most popular choice. Opt for pre-primed or pre-gessoed canvases if you don’t want to do that step yourself.

Palette - The traditional palettes are wooden ones usually with a hole for the thumb to slip through. Nowadays, there are plastic, tempered glass, and tear-away palettes that you can get. You most definitely will need a palette for all the color mixing you need to do.

Mediums and Solvents - One medium of your choice: linseed is the most common. There are other mediums that will either alter the flow of your paint or speed up/slow down the drying time. And a solvent for thinning down your paint or for washing your brushes. A solvent is optional as you can just use oil and then brush soap to clean your brushes. I personally use an OMS (odorless mineral spirit) - for thinning down the paint for the first one or two layers and for the first step in cleaning my brushes.

Other tools such as a rag for wiping your brushes on and jars to hold your medium/solvent can easily be found around the house. With the tools above, you can already start painting and exploring various oil painting techniques.

Oil Painting Brush Stroke Techniques and More

A lot of the techniques fall under the umbrella of oil painting brushstrokes. Have a look through the different brushstrokes I highlighted over there with accompanying examples of works by the masters that used said brushstroke techniques.

oil painting brushstrokes


Imprimatura is also known as adding a toned ground to the surface. It is covering your prepped support with a stain of color, usually earthy or other neutral colors, and usually in a thin layer or wash.

Not everyone includes this step in their painting process. The advantage of this technique is that it helps you get a better sense of your values (light to dark) when you start with a mid-toned canvas over a white one.


It also releases you from the pressure of having to ensure that your layers are opaque enough to cover the stark whiteness of your surface. Allowing the imprimatura to show through can also be another effect that you might like to play around with. You can sketch on your support first before adding the imprimatura layer over it.


Compared to imprimatura, underpainting doesn’t have to be restricted to a single layer. You can have a few layers just for the underpainting. This is where you can do all the preliminary painting planning that you want to do. From setting the tonal values to shading, and even the brushwork. It removes the fear of starting from a blank canvas.


Artists who do very detailed underpaintings find that it greatly aids their painting process. Two other techniques that somewhat fall under “underpainting” are Grisaille and Verdaccio.


The word grisaille comes from the French word gris meaning gray. A grisaille can be a standalone painting (rare, but it can be done), but is usually done as an underpainting. It is entirely painted in shades of gray or whichever neutral grayish color you prefer to use. Hence the term ‘dead layer’ or ‘dead color’ when referring to this technique.


It is a full monochromatic underpainting done in either yellowish, muted greenish brown or grayish color; made from mixing black, white, and yellow pigments.

Blocking In

This technique usually follows underpainting or is the first step to starting your painting (if you’d like to forego the underpainting). You need to observe your reference and decide which colors to use as the base colors.

blocking in oil painting technique

For example, a deep brown for the nearby mountains, a grayish blue for the farther ones, pale blue for the sky, etc. It would usually be just one color for each section, at this point you’re just ‘blocking in’. So no need to add details or do blending just yet. This is the base up which you will add the various shades and highlights later on.


It is best achieved using thick, matte, and undiluted paint. The brushstroke is applied in such a way that it creates rough and broken textural effects. You can say that it’s the opposite of glazing where you apply an unbroken glossy layer over another.

Scumbling oil painting technique

With scumbling you want the underlying color/layer to show through, so you work with it instead of simply covering it up. A palette knife can be used for broader strokes and stiff-bristled brushes for smaller strokes.


Oils are the perfect medium for this oil painting technique. With the longer drying time, you can take as much time as you want or need to do your blending. Depending on how fine a blending you want to achieve, the brushes will dictate this so choose accordingly.

You can blend with brushes that have stiff bristles but expect it to be on the rougher or more textured side. If you want a smoother blended finish, use brushes with softer bristles. Mastering this technique will come in handy when painting realistically. You’ll be able to refine your edges, whether they are hard, soft, or lost-edged.

Blending oil painting

Gradient Blending - is just a specific kind of blending where you create smooth transitions between colors or show subtle value changes. You need to be patient and more precise when using this technique as abrupt shifting in colors and values may look out of place, unless it is meant to be exactly so. The more subtle the transitions, the more dine blending you need to do.

Alla Prima

Artists who love to use this technique do so because it allows them to finish a painting in one sitting. You apply wet paint over layers that are also still wet. The challenge with this technique is blending your colors just enough and knowing when to stop. Otherwise, you can easily over-blend and end up with a muddy blend of colors instead.

Alla prima
A small still-life painting I finished in one painting session.

Impressionists were keen on using this technique especially when they were out and about plein air painting. You can’t be waiting for days between drying times when you’re trying to capture the exact light and atmosphere of your surroundings that specific day.


For a successful impasto application, paint must be applied to the surface in thick layers. You can use a palette knife or any stiff brush to do so. Through this technique, an amazing range of textural effects can be made.

Here’s a fantastic painting done by ZenART’s co-founder, Ardak Kassenova, where she used the impasto technique to give rich texture to the main subject.

The thick and buttery consistency of oil paint lends well to this style of application. You can already produce the impasto effect with paints straight out of the tube. But there are also mediums available that can add extra body to your paints or help them dry faster. The speeding up of the drying process will be quite useful since oil paints dry slowly. Thicker layers will therefore take longer to dry as well.


This oil painting technique is reductive rather than additive. Instead of applying paint, you instead remove it by using a palette knife or the butt end of a brush handle. Or any other stiff-edged tool that you can use like old credit cards for example. You scratch off the paint to create details and texture. By doing so you reveal the previous layer/s of paint or surface underneath, creating a contrast against the top layer.

Leonardo da Vinci’s “Virgin on the Rocks”, oil on panel (later transferred to canvas), 1486-86.

In Rembrandt’s self-portrait painting above, the curly texture of the hair was achieved by scratching off the paint. The lighter color underneath is revealed here and there serving as highlights and giving fullness to the hair.


The word sfumato originates from the Italian word sfumare meaning: to soften, to shade, to tone down, or to fade away. Along with the word fumo meaning smoke or fume. This technique is used to soften the transition between colors, from their tones to their values. One of the most famous users of this technique is Leonardo da Vinci. To him, sfumato is "without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke or beyond the focus plane". Colors are blended in such a way that you don't see lines or borders.

Leonardo da Vinci’s “Virgin on the Rocks”, oil on panel (later transferred to canvas), 1486-86.

It’s one of the four canonical painting modes of the Renaissance, the other three are cangiante, unione, and chiaroscuro.


Another Italian term, chiaro meaning light and curo meaning dark, chiaroscuro means ‘light-dark’. To achieve this, your painting must have a strong contrast between light and dark. This allows you to portray volume and three-dimensionality to the figures and objects in your paintings quite successfully. It also adds drama and sets the mood of the painting, a great compositional technique to keep in mind.

Rembrandt’s “Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee”, oil on canvas, 1633.

A more pronounced version of this is called ‘tenebrism’ where the contrast between light and shadow are quite extreme. Unlike chiaroscuro where some areas of the painting are under shadow but with imperceptibly visible forms, with tenebrism some or more often rather a lot of areas of the painting are in black or in complete darkness. This gives the painting a very dramatic effect where the contrast between light and dark is extremely high. With the light source usually coming from one direction.

Caravaggio’s “David with the Head of Goliath”, oil on canvas, 1610.


A glaze is a mixture that contains a lot of medium with a small amount of paint. It is meant to be applied in a thin and semi-transparent layer on top of an opaque and already dry layer. You can do as many glaze layers as you want providing that you allow each layer to dry before adding the next.

Glazing oil painting technique
Vermeer is one of the most well-known masters of this technique. Above is one of his paintings using the glazing technique to achieve the richness of the blue (of the milkmaid’s apron).

Glazing can be used to change the value, hue, chroma, and even the texture of a surface. Because it is applied in thin and semi-transparent layers, the effect you can get is quite beautiful. The colors are not combined physically, but optically. Light is able to travel down to the opaque layer below, reflects back, and then refracts the layers of glazing above. Keep in mind that with each successive layer, you also need to use more medium to adhere to the ‘fat over lean’ principle.

You can use this oil painting technique for working on finer details, enhancing warm or cool areas, and – most importantly – creating deeper contrasts and shadows. I find this technique most useful when painting skintones. It’s very effective for achieving that luminous quality. It works best when using transparent pigments, then mixing with a glazing medium until it’s quite liquid, and soft brushes for a softer application.

Oiling Out

Have you ever finished a painting and suddenly find that some areas appear dull and matte while the rest are glossy? That phenomenon is called “sinking in”. The oil has sunken into the lower layers leaving the top looking dry and lusterless. As a beginner, you don’t need to worry about using this oil painting technique just yet. But it’s good to know that there’s a way to ‘rescue’ your painting from such an occurrence.

I use a fine and clean cloth, dip it into the oil medium, then dab the areas that need “oiling out” with the cloth. Do this only when the painting has fully dried. Otherwise, you will end up smearing the paint or mixing colors without meaning to.

Oil Paint Mixing Guide - Understanding The Process

Having a good understanding of the characteristics of oil paints will save you from a lot of headaches. Drop by our oil paint mixing guide to have a better understanding of the oil painting process.

Oil paint is slow drying and pigments differ in their drying times as well. Titanium white for example is known to be a slower drying medium plus some formulations use safflower oil instead of linseed. Because safflower oil is not as yellowing, but the caveat is that it dries much slower than linseed oil. Getting to know your pigments better will help you plan out your layering and can help you decide if you need to mix in mediums that help hasten the drying time. Especially when you have deadlines.

Mediums can help you have more control over the drying process. But keep in mind that they will also affect the characteristics of your oil paints. They can change the viscosity, surface finish, and transparency too besides the drying time. So the best way is just to get acquainted with them first and experiment with the effects before using them on your main works. You can read up more about it on our guide to oil painting mediums.

Don’t scrimp on your paint and get the best quality paints that you can afford. If you overly economize using your paints, you won’t be able to fully appreciate the beauty of oil paints. It will greatly limit the things that you can do. There are good-quality paints for beginners that won’t break the bank like our Infinity Series Oil Paints: Essential, Impressionist, and Portrait Palettes. They are highly pigmented and have a nice buttery consistency, plus non-toxic! Here’s a handy guide on how to choose oil paints.

Essential Palette oil paint set from ZenART Supplies
ZenART’s Essential Palette of 8 essential oil colors for the ultimate color-mixing experience.

I hope this has inspired you to try out the various techniques featured above. You never know which oil painting techniques suit your style and preference until you truly explore and experiment with them. Reading about them and actually using them are worlds apart. Just enjoy the process and don’t overthink things.

We’d love to hear from you!

Which techniques have you already used before? How about the ones that you find interesting and are excited to try out? And which one do you think will be the most challenging for you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Join our friendly art community Painting Inspiration Daily on Facebook. You can share your art and ideas, watch LIVE tutorials, and be inspired to paint!

Meanwhile, have a fantastic time exploring the different oil painting techniques!


Kathleen is the Wordsmith at ZenART, resident artist and art editor. When God sent a shower of talents, Kathleen made sure she got a basketful of them! She's a visual artist with practical knowledge on various fields from painting and sculpture, to costume and set design which comes in very handy when writing about various art techniques and theories. She also shares her passion for the arts through teaching. She runs her own brand of handmade wirework jewelry designs.

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