Oil paintings are works of art that often start with the artist sketching an outline of the subject on the oil painting canvas prior to applying the paints to the canvas. The paints are bound together with such medium drying oils as linseed oil, walnut oil, poppy seed oil or safflower oil to ultimately create the oil painting. The use of oils for oil paintings was first developed in Asia and gained popularity in Europe by the mid fourteen hundreds.
Oil painting techniques often vary from canvas art to canvas art. Once the pigment is mixed with the oil the artist usually mixes the oil paint with thinner or mineral spirits to develop either a slower or faster drying paint. The paints are typically placed on oil painting canvases using brushes or sometimes with palette knives. They are applied brush stroke by brush stroke until the oil painting has been completed. The artist paints with oils in order to be able to remove a layer of paint because the oil paints remain wet longer allowing the artist to make changes to the oil paintings. The oil painting drying process usually takes about two weeks for oil paintings to dry to the touch. Many oil painting conservators do not consider oil paintings totally dry for fifty to eighty years. More recently chemists have developed water miscible oil paints that clean up with water.
For years artists have painted on linen canvas, but today high grade cotton canvas wall art has gained tremendous popularity. Oil paintings are placed on oil painting stretcher bars, then stretched tightly across the oil painting stretcher bars and stapled on the side or the rear of the oil paintings. Stretched oil paintings can either be mounted in a decorative frame or gallery wrapped and hung on the wall without a frame.