Welcome to the Traditional Oil Painting website, an authorised resource centre for fans of Virgil Elliott’s classic reference work Traditional Oil Painting: Advanced Techniques and Concepts from the Renaissance to the Present (now available here) and the popular Facebook group he moderates for artists.

On this site, the editor has collected Virgil’s contributions to discussions in the Facebook group and organised them in a variety of ways—by topic, categories, tags, an index, and a glossary—so that oil painters might find the single best answer to their technical questions as soon as possible.

Like the Facebook group, the scope of this resource centre is limited to traditional oil painting methods and materials and related matters, including updated information for readers of Virgil’s book.

This site will grow over time. Please contact the editor if you have any comments or suggestions, or if you wish to contribute in any way.  If you have any technical questions related to your own personal projects, please join the Facebook group and pose your question there if you don’t find the answer here.

In June 2021, Streamline Art Video released a new instructional video called: “Virgil Elliott: Traditional Oil Painting — The Principles of Visual Reality“. In this 7+ hour video, Virgil covers the principles of visual reality, as outlined in his book, Traditional Oil Painting, in the chapter by the same name. In the video format, you get to see these principles exemplified even more effectively through a variety of demos.  If you want to see the trailer or purchase the video, you can do so here. A preview was also streamed live June 18th on Streamline’s Facebook Page.

Why Professional Artists Care…

The rationale or philosophy is best summarized by Virgil himself in his description for the Facebook group:

“You never can know when something you paint is going to turn out to be really special, outstanding, inspiring, so it makes good sense to use the most lightfast pigments, the most durable materials and the soundest workmanship with that possibility in mind. The longer a painting with a special quality with the power to inspire people in a positive way lasts and retains that quality, the more people it will be able to inspire. How many of us were inspired to become artists by seeing a centuries-old painting that moved us profoundly? Why not aspire to create that same kind of inspiration for people far into the future?”

Recent Updates (New Feature)

  • 2022 Dec 29: An update to the Resources page and to masonite/hardboard on the Supports page.
  • 2022 Dec 27: Addition of clove oil to the Medium and Solvents page
  • 2022 Aug 08: How to remove creases from an unstretched oil painting on linen. See Troubleshooting
  • 2022 Feb 23: why the backs of canvas paintings need to be protected on the Supports page.
  • 2022 Jan 17: Prussian Blue description added on the Blue Pigments page.
  • 2022 Jan 12: cleaning a painting, on the Techniques page.
  • 2022 Jan 11: update on advice for acrylic sizing.
  • 2022 Jan 4: addition of stand oil in Mediums and Solvents page
  • 2021 Dec 30: addition of wax to the Mediums & Solvents page
  • 2021 Dec 28: reference to BEVA 371 film as a reliable conservation adhesive (Supports page)