- 1). Choose your subject carefully. Traditional oil paintings had limited subject matter. Many were portraits of nobility, and many others had religious themes and themes from antiquity, such as myths and Greek gods. Others were landscapes. No antique oil painting will be abstract.
- 2). Find a photograph of your subject in order to accurately represent your subject. Antique paintings tried to represent subjects in a realistic painting style, although often subjects were idealized and made to look more beautiful than they appeared in real life. This means that a painting of a woman will have beautiful soft skin and no blemishes, while a painting of a landscape will show only lush beauty and glimpses of pastoral life. Make studies of your subject before beginning to paint, then draw the structure of your painting onto the canvas before painting to avoid making mistakes.
- 3). Use only colors in your painting that are earthy and natural. Many artists in the past mixed all their own paints. You may wish to add a little yellow to some of your colors that would not otherwise have yellow in them, and avoid using very bright whites as you paint. Oil paints change over time -- especially varnished oil paintings may yellow with age. Many older paintings are yellowed or are darker, and more murky than they were when they were originally painted.
- 4). Position your subject in the painting in a conservative pose. If you are painting a person, place her in the center of the canvas -- do not take artistic liberties with the composition of the piece.
- 5). Blend the paints well on the canvas. This is especially important if you are painting with acrylic paint. Acrylic paint dries very quickly and blending can be difficult. Oil paints dry very slowly, and they blend easily on the canvas to create soft shadows and textures. To blend acrylic paints, apply them to the canvas and then use a dry brush to blend the edges of the paint with the layer of paint behind it. Do this quickly before the paint dries.
- 6). When the painting is finished, set it to the side and allow it to dry. Return to the painting within a few days or weeks to make corrections as necessary. It is important to wait before making corrections because time away from the painting will allow you to see mistakes or errors you might otherwise not notice.
- 7). Frame the painting in an elaborate, large wooden frame. You can probably find one at an antique store, or a second-hand store. Large wooden frames are common for old paintings and will help complete the look.
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