Oil Painting: The The New Accessible Portrait Medium?

Before oil paints were oil paints they were… egg white paints?!? Strange, but true. Through the centuries, artists have looked for all sorts of different things to mix with their color pigments. Thank goodness the 1400s brought breakthroughs that allowed artists to mix their pigments with linseed oil!

Oil Painting-Classic, Timeless, and Modern

We know that the 1400s brought the beginning of oil painting as a medium. By the 17th century, Rembrandt showed that this medium lent itself perfectly to paintings with depth and texture. Even the Encyclopedia Britannica waxes eloquent about Rembrandt and what he accomplished with oil paintings.

Van Gogh created over 800 oil paintings, and he seemed drawn to oil on pasteboard self-portraits. And of course, the most famous oil portrait is Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which he painted in the early 1500s.

Very old oil portraits have certainly stood the test of time, but what about portraits done in the 21st century?

Captivating Oil Portraits

A quick search for contemporary oil portraits reveals an astonishing variety of subjects, styles, and emotions. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a fascinating article about contemporary portrait artists who are making waves and selling paintings.

If your interest in portraits runs a bit lower key than the Met, Pinterest has you covered six ways to Sunday! Portraits bring life, questions, and emotion to our lives, and are appropriate for decorating everything from casual living spaces to formal meeting rooms.

Make it Personal

We’re passionate about portraits at Paint Your Life, but in a far more personal way. Our highly talented, carefully vetted artists transform photos into treasured portraits every day. It’s a pretty unique business to be in, and one that’s full of heart and meaning every day.

When you have the chance to match brilliant artists with people who want to capture the essence of their loved ones, you feel especially proud of your business. And that’s how we feel every day.

Hey, in the ‘olden’ days, portraits were only something for the very wealthy and well-connected—and then they were hung in stuffy formal living spaces for a select few to glimpse. Now, anyone can engage an artist to create a portrait that will be cherished and displayed for everyone to enjoy.

Choosing Your Portrait Medium

Paint Your Life offers portraits in six different mediums: oil, charcoal, watercolor, pastel, pencil, and acrylic. Each medium gives a different feel and experience, and gives customers a chance to really select the perfect match for their portrait.

But how do you choose? Great question!

We suggest choosing a time when you’re feeling relaxed to scroll through our amazing gallery of portraits. (Yes, we’re bragging a bit. But our artists are soooo talented!) You can look at a specific type of portrait, so use this as a starting point.

For example, if you know you want a portrait done of a couple, head over to the gallery and choose the theme ‘couples’ from the drop-down menu. Scroll down to the headline Couples Portraits, and then enjoy looking at some of the paintings we’ve created.

Take a note of the medium that consistently catches your attention. You’ll see that the majority of clients choose a color oil portrait, but there are also some great examples of pastel, charcoal, watercolor, and pencil portraits.

Some mediums give a more realistic finished product, while others give an obvious hand-painted effect. Choose what you love!

How to Choose a Photo for Your Portrait

Here’s the fun part: Our artists can use multiple photos to create the portrait of your dreams. Do you want a family portrait but you don’t have a single good picture of everyone together? No problem! Just send multiple pictures and we’ll combine them into one epic family moment.

With every order, we send you a digital mock-up before your artist begins working. This gives you an idea of how everything works together, and helps make sure your vision has been communicated accurately.

 When you’re looking through your photos, pull out ones that really express your loved one’s personality. Things like a quirky smile, laugh lines from years of joyful living, and favorite jewelry will all help to convey individual traits that an artist can capture (did we mention how proud we are of our artists?!?).

Don’t Forget Your Pets!

 We have a really popular pet portrait division—and for good reason! Our furry family members bring so much love and joy to our lives that they deserve to be memorialized too. Again, don’t worry if you can’t find a perfect photo of your pet. Just gather the photos you have and let our artists do their magic.

One thing we’ve seen is that many pet owners don’t have a good photo of them with their pets. A portrait that brings pets together with their owners is one of the best gifts you can give a pet lover! So grab a few pictures and let us create a piece of your family’s history that will last forever.