How to Identify and Buy a Good Oil Painting?

Walls without wall art look dull and boring. While there are many options like— decals, posters, paintings, sculptures and clocks, paintings remain the most popular and versatile form of art to adorn walls. Paintings give a new lease of life to a room and destroy the monotony of space. That is why, when it comes to renovate a room, people often choose paintings. There are many forms of paintings, but I, personally like oil paintings. Oil paintings bring life to the subject. In oil paintings, artists use pigments and drying oil. Drying oil is used as a binder. The aim of this article is to accustom its readers with oil painting, how they can identify an oil painting and what should they consider before buying an oil painting.

To identify an oil painting, the basic steps include looking for features associated with the medium:

Cracking: If you observe an oil painting closely, you will notice web of cracks throughout the painting. These cracks become noticeable with age; however, acrylic paint is elastic and it seldom cracks with time.

Texture: When it comes to identifying an oil painting, texture of the painting is the prominent sign. Oil withers with more texture. One can easily see brush strokes an oil painting with naked eyes; however, they cannot be seen in acrylic paintings.

Canvas: Oil paints damage untreated canvases. Usually, artists or canvas manufacturers treat the canvas to strengthen the material. This process of strengthening is called priming. The back of an untreated canvas is usually off-white or cream in color. Primed material shows a different texture on the front of the painting.

Smell: Oil paintings have distinctive smell and it takes them years to lose it.

Considerations before Buying an Oil Painting:

Before buying paintings, buyers must do through research. Nowadays, people prefer to buy paintings online rather than buying them from traditional art galleries or exhibitions. It is mainly convenience and cost factor that motivate people to explore paintings online. Online galleries have variety of paintings to choose from. While exploring and choosing a suitable painting, one must think about painting style, budget and existing design features of the room.

Some of the points to consider before selecting an oil painting include theme and frame of the painting and lighting and wall color of room:


Buyers should visualize paintings against the backdrop of their room to ensure it matches the existing decor of the room.


If your room has a vintage décor, then paintings with contemporary or modern frames will not fit in it. Therefore, it becomes important for a buyer to consider whether adding a painting will accentuate the look and feel of the room.


Lighting enhances the look of a painting. If a room is well lit, bright paintings will look brighter and infuse liveliness in the room. Artificial lighting is required for paintings with dark colors.

Wall Color

A painting that uses earthy tones often matches and accentuates natural colored walls such as olive or brown. A bright or pastel colored oil painting will stand out against a light colored wall.

If you are looking to buy affordable paintings online, you should know about the categories to consider. There are online galleries that offer categories like paintings from dealers or resellers, directly from artist and wholesale pieces. Buying paintings is not a difficult process. There are some considerations to make; however, ultimately it is a buyer’s call. Often, a buyer chooses the piece that is appealing and complements the existing décor of the house.

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