Reverse Oil Painting Techniques Popular in the 1950s

Written by judy greenlees
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  • Introduction

    Reverse Oil Painting Techniques Popular in the 1950s

    Reverse oil painting techniques that were popular in the 1950s have a long heritage. The practice of reverse painting on glass is said to have been around since glass first existed. Artist Andriy Khomyk, a professional artist from the Ukraine, has devoted his life to the craft. He indicates that the earliest surviving examples of reverse painting are ancient Roman dishes from the 3rd and 4th centuries.

    (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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    Try Oil Pastels First

    Oil pastel crayons are much easier to control than oil paints. The chunky sticks are easy to hold and the oil in the pastels allows you to blend colours. Oil pastels will blend together when you stroke them on in layers, in a similar fashion as oil paints applied with brushes. Try your first reverse oil project on a sheet of clear acrylic, and then progress to oil painting on glass later.

    Oil pastel crayons are easier to use than oil paints when beginning reverse art. ( Images)

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    Contour Drawing Tips

    The entire reverse art process begins with creating a contour drawing, or in other words, a basic outline. Colouring books are a source for uncomplicated outline pictures. Some artists use a permanent marker or a whiteboard marker to draw the outline drawing onto either an acrylic sheet or a piece of glass. One advantage to permanent markers is that they tend not to smear. Whiteboard markers are easily removed after mistakes. Draw first, then paint.

    Try using colouring book outlines for your reverse paintings. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

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    Progressing to Glass

    Advance to glass and oil paints when you feel ready. Tape the glass edges with masking tape to avoid cutting your hands. You will draw your chosen contour drawing onto your glass first, and then paint. Clean the glass regularly as you work to avoid fingerprints. Clean after each paint layer dries. Any fingerprints on your glass surface could be inadvertently trapped underneath your paint layers and will show up in your finished painting.

    Avoid fingerprint smudges on your glass. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

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    Foreground, Middle Ground and Background

    Paint details first, and let dry. Then paint the foreground. Paint the middle ground area and let it dry. Sign your name on your painting before you add the background paint, otherwise you will not be able to see your signature. Let the background area dry. With each layer, check your work by looking through the glass from the front. Repair any mistakes before proceeding to add paint.

    In this painting, water is the foreground, pyramids are the middleground and sky is the background. ( Images)

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    Finishing and Framing

    Some artists add metallic paint, paper or sheets to finish a reverse oil painting. To see more of the metallic colour shining through from behind, scratch off some of the oil paint you have applied. Try line designs, too. Then add the metallic finish. Once your painting is complete, you can frame it. Some artists use reclaimed window frames, and others use new picture frames. Choose a style that complements your own painting.

    Choose a frame to suit your painting. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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