Art Basics

Van Gogh Starry Night
Painting Techniques 718 576 Simon 79designltd

Painting Techniques

In this blog we discuss just a few of popular painting techniques and some of the most famous artists who used them.

Using Oil Paints

Oil Painting on canvas is the preferred medium we use for all of our art reproductions.    Our preferred brand of choice is Winsor and Newton oil paint, which is known for both its longevity and vibrancy.  Of the many different mediums artists use, oil paints are the most versatile.  Oil paints can be mixed with various oils and solvents so that the artist can generally change the characteristics of the paint.   Even watercolors can be emulated using oil paints, if mixed correctly.

The history of oil painting on canvas has evolved considerably since the late 15th century when it was first used.   Oil paint in tubes first came about in the mid-19th century and they transformed the way impressionist art movement artists worked, enabling en plein air painting and the application of thicker paint across the canvas.


Claude Monet’s Water Lilies 1916-1919

Claude Monet is one of the most famous impressionist artists and his en plein air, large oil paintings on canvas, Waterlilies 1916-1919, was only possible with the development of oil paints in tubes.

Action Painting

Action paintings fall under the Abstract Expressionist Movement.  It requires using random and spontaneous brushstrokes and the dripping, splashing or pouring of paint onto a canvas.   Jackson Pollock action painting is one of the most popular art techniques.    We offer oil paintings reproductions, inspired by Jackson Pollock artwork.   The most popular painting is Magenta Landscape, which is created by laying the canvas flat on the ground and one of our professional artists creates an action painting by dripping and pouring the paint onto the canvas.


Impasto Art

Impasto technique is defined by the application of thick paint which creates a textured surface with visible brushstrokes.  Derived from the Italian word “paste”, impasto oil painting is used to create drama and it can be applied with either brush or palette knife.   The impasto technique was first used by 17th century Baroque artists such as Rembrandt and Diego Velazquez.

Van Gogh Starry Night

Van Gogh Starry Night

However, many of you will be more familiar with the Post Impressionist  artist, Vincent van Gogh and his use of thick impasto brushstrokes.  Vincent van Gogh The Starry Night 1889  is an impasto oil painting.

Chiaroscuro Art

Leonardo da Vinci Mona Lisa

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa

Chiaroscuro painting is a technique which is used by artists to portray the contrast of light and dark.  Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci is said to have first used Chiaroscuro, as illustrated in the Mona Lisa oil painting.  However it was Rembrandt, one of the Old Master Artists whose prodigious use of the Chiaroscuro technique is particularly well known.   In the most famous Rembrandt paintings , The Night Watch 1642 and Self-Portrait 1669 Chiaroscuro lighting is beautifully demonstrated.


Derived from the French word craquelé, Craquelure and Craquelure varnish refers to the dense form of cracking which appears on the surface of oil paintings.  This can be as a result of natural aging, as with the Jan Vermeer Girl with the Pearl Earring painting which gives an excellent example of craquelure in old paintings.    However, replica paintings can also be applied with products such as Autentico  Craquelure to induce and artificially age art reproductions.

vermeer pearl earring craquelureNocturne Painting

This technique was defined by the eccentric painter, James Abbot McNeill Whistler and represents night scenes and  paintings which are painted at dusk without direct light.  Whistler’s oil painting Nocturne in Black and Gold 1874 and Frederick Remington’s  famous old west paintings such the Stampede  are both examples of Nocturne Painting techniques.

For other information on how to “paint like a pro”, visit this website called Happy DIY Home – How to Paint like a Pro.

Incorporating Oil Painting Reproductions into your Modern Living Space 1024 631 Simon 79designltd

Incorporating Oil Painting Reproductions into your Modern Living Space

Incorporating traditional paintings into a modern and contemporary living space can be a challenge, particularly when we have been conditioned to believe that a modern home should have contemporary art on its walls.

But is this really the case with modern living?

It’s always challenging to find an interesting and unique way of incorporating traditional painting styles into our homes; it is not always necessary for a contemporary home to feature modern oil paintings.

Large and oversized Oil Painting Reproductions

Oil painting reproductions can be created in very large size options and oversized oil paintings can make a great focal point in any modern home interior design.   We recently had a customer who wanted to achieve a statement piece with a traditional oil painting on canvas, and rather than choosing large modern wall art, she opted for a one of our famous angel paintings.

With a size of 59 x 92” and at nearly 6’ tall and 7’6” wide, Raphael’s Putti (Cherubs) a detail from the Sistine Madonna Chapel succeeded in achieving her goal.

Raphael’s Putti Cherubs

Sandro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus is a monumental oversized painting being 68 x 110 inches (172 x 278cm) and many of Monet’s Water Lily paintings in original size are extremely large landscape orientation oil paintings, which render them perfect for behind sofas or over king-sized beds.

Claude Monet

Claude Monet’s Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond Center Panel is the perfect sample of a traditional oil painting, which with its gentle purple and blue hues makes for relaxing wall art.

Multi-Panels paintings

Multi panel paintings present a fabulous opportunity to create a theme by selecting  art from some famous oil painting artists.   Below we have selected two 19th century paintings; the first is a An Auburn Beauty 1895, by John William Godward the second painting is Portrait of a Girl by Frederick Leighton.

Both portrait art reproductions have been framed in contemporary style walnut decorative frames and although these portraits are by different artists, both are on a black background and feature titian haired women; they work so well together!

art reproduction in walnut frame

Choosing a theme, by perhaps selecting paintings from your favorite artist, your décor achieves cohesion and demonstrates the thought and care which has gone into your choice of interior design wall art.

Seascape Oil Reproduction Paintings

A series of seascape oil paintings, by famous american seascape painters such as Fitz Hugh Lane  and Childe Hassam are great choices for inspirational office art.

Finally, we recommend going for a vibrant splash of color and for  this suggestion we are reverting to English artist Frederick Leighton and his eternally famous painting Flaming June  which depicts a woman in repose with a bright orange flowing and diaphanous dress. The original size of this painting is 47” x 47” (120 x 120cm) but it upscales very easily and can be purchased in many large size options from our online art catalog.

Selecting interior design wall art can be difficult but our team of art specialists are available to assist you with your choice of oil paintings reproductions.  We are available by email or via our Live Help Chat service.

painting in frame


In many respects, choosing the right framing option for your oil painting is as an important decision as selecting the painting itself, but is often an overlooked part of the process.

Hand-painted oil on canvas works of art are generally rolled and shipping in strong plastic tubing, ready for stretching and framing locally.

Choosing a decorative frame is a very personal decision and having the opportunity to see the painted canvas alongside the frame of choice allows the best opportunity to select the perfect framing option.

There are hundred of decorative frames to choose from and also other options without a decorative frame and knowing where to start can be a daunting task.

1. The History of Picture Framing

Historically, picture frames can be dated all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, with a wooden framed picture found in a tomb in Egypt dating back nearly 2000 years. Picture frames as we know them today first started to appear in Europe in the 12 and 13th centuries, and were always made of carved wood, and usually gilded. These frames are often works of art in their own right. This is the traditional picture frame that we all think of, and is what we see when visiting museums, where a large percentage of the paintings hanging are in very elaborate carved wood frames, with gilding, especially the Old Masters, but all the way up to more recent Impressionist works by Picasso and Van Gogh, for example.

2. Gallery Wrap Options for Contemporary Art in a Modern Setting

Not every painting requires an outside decorative frame.

A Gallery Wrap or Museum Wrap offers an very cost effective method of display and no external decorative frame is used.

So what is the difference?

A Gallery Wrap finish generally refers to a process where the image is continued so that it wraps over the sides of the wooden frame, known as stretcher bars, and the surplus canvas is stapled to the back of the frame.

Examples of this process are shown below:

Gallery Wrap paintings can be stretched on different thickness of stretcher bars from 3/4″ to 2″ or even 3″ depth, depending on the size of the canvas and also the room.

A Museum Wrap is where the image remains visible on the front of the frame, whilst a solid or white color canvas is wrapped over the sides of the stretcher bars.  In this case the canvas is also stapled to the back of the stretcher bars.

3. Floater Frames

Floater Frames provide a high-end look to any painting, either contemporary or classical.  A floater frame creates the impression that the canvas is floating inside the frame but not touch it.  Here you can see some samples of floating frames.  There is a wide choice of outside floater frames, either wood, solid color, gold or silver.

4. How to Select a Decorative Frame for your Painting

Often a painting will provide the answers to what kind of frame works well but any frame should enhance the content of the paintings.  If you have purchased, for example,  a reproduction Impressionist painting, then you may want to consider how some famous original paintings from this movement are displayed in Museums all over the world.

As a rule of thumb, larger paintings generally demand wider moldings but ask your framer for advice, as he or she will have a wealth of knowledge to share about the variety of frames available from a large number of suppliers.

Swinton’s Art has a great blog covering all aspects of framing and where to start!



It’s so easy to bring life and color into your home or office and to transform an uninteresting room into a unique and eye-catching space with the addition fabulous wall art.

We all give great importance to our choice of furniture and soft furnishings and so often the paintings we hang on our walls are an after-thought and the final addition to room.

Prints or Lithos are ok, but they can be expensive and they can never provide the integrity, depth of color and texture of real oil on canvas paintings.

Buying hand painted oil painting reproductions online is an enjoyable way to choose very affordable art by some of the world’s most famous artists.  Large online catalogs can give you the opportunity to view thousands of paintings and to visualize those which work together.

But where do you start?  Here are some tips to make the process easy.


1. Stand back and take an objective look at your room.  What do you want to achieve?

Does your room have a theme you wish to continue?

As an example, do you want to follow-through on an existing monochrome palette?

See for yourself how these striking large abstract-expressionism paintings complete a simple room.


Monochrome Painting

Monochrome Room 2

[su_row][su_column size=”1/2″ center=”no” class=””][/su_column] [su_column size=”1/2″ center=”no” class=””][/su_column][/su_row]

Maybe you want to introduce some color into your space with abstract oil paintings?  The photograph below demonstrates how easily and quickly a room can be enhanced with the addition of a reproduction painting.



2. Consider the options – one large canvas painting or a series of paintings?




This customer decided that a series of smaller paintings were the perfect addition to the public areas of his Guesthouse.  This idea can be applied for over-sofa paintings or for any long wall space such as a corridor which does not have a great height.


3. How to choose the correct size wall art for your room

Once you have decided on the theme or color of the paintings you need you can then decide on the size of your oil reproductions.  Deciding on scale can be really tough to imagine and we recommend this very easy method:

All you need to do is cut some old newspaper or butcher paper to the size you think will work and then place it on the wall where your painting will hang.   Small pieces of general purpose masking tape secured at each corner will allow you to stand back to decide whether you can go larger or smaller or you got it right first time!

Take your time – the introduction of art into a room is as every bit as important as any piece of furniture.

Be bold and don’t be afraid.

Other tools for selecting the right size painting can be found at

4. Don’t hang your paintings too high!

Where you place your painting on the wall is key.

Hanging paintings too high on the wall is a common mistake.  Your art is there to be enjoyed and viewing at standing eye level will allow for maximum pleasure.   Museums all over the world ensure that paintings are placed at eye level height giving visitors the very best possible viewing experience.

Home styling guru Martha Stewart gives her opinion on this topic:

5. Don’t be afraid to love the art you like

You may not know much about art but don’t let that hold you back.  Find paintings which speak to you and they will give you endless years pleasure.

You don’t have to be a wealthy collector or art connoisseur to choose great paintings to decorate your home.   Introducing art into your home is an opportunity to express a unique style and individuality.  In a room without a main architectural focal point, a bold oil painting fills the void, drawing the eye and giving color to even the most uninteresting space.