The Artist Nazym Rakhimberdiyeva Tells About How to Master the Oil Painting Technique

Famous artist Nazym Rakhimberdiyeva gave some advice to beginning artists and simple lovers of drawing about how to master the oil painting technique.

Nazym Rakhimberdiyeva is a member of the Union of Artists of Kazakhstan. Her works have been exhibited in one-man and group exhibitions many times and are now in private collections in Russia, Kazakhstan, France, the United States, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

The paintress was born in a family of artists: her father is a choreographer and her mother is a musician. So it is no wonder that their daughter developed artistic skills early. As remembered by her parents, Nazym began to walk and draw at the same time.

Over time, a childhood hobby became her occupation. Nazym graduated from the U. Tansykbayev College of Applied Arts in her hometown of Almaty and then at the University of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There, she went deep into the study of painting and design.

But no matter how much Nazym was fascinated with new knowledge, her homesickness grew stronger. Listening to herself, the paintress decided to express all her feelings on the canvas and dedicate her paintings to her homeland.

The keynote of Nazym Rakhimberdiyeva’s works is her homeland’s history and culture. The artist created a series of paintings dedicated to the Kazakhs’ worldview and named it Tengrism. The paintress’s website is

When studying visual arts, the most difficult is the technique of working with oil paints. There is a number of stages that are worth special attention from the learner, and if you implement them successfully, you will succeed in studying.

The first stage: It pays special attention to the compositional organization of the pictorial plane and the correct creation of the preliminary drawing. The compositional arrangement on the canvas should fully and correctly convey the nature of the complex shape and a number of its features such as anatomical accuracy, drawing of space, basic color relations.

It is reasonable here to draw up a preliminary compositional outline or make sketches from life, paying attention to the horizon line and considering the format proportions.

Now we proceed to a preliminary drawing of the size of the pictorial plane.

The best way is to draw an outline or a sketch on paper and then draw it on the canvas. Drawing the preliminary outline, an artist can try different points of view, think about the composition, detail the proportions. Any piece of art starts with a sketch or a preliminary outline, and maybe more than one. From all preliminary designs, you should select the most successful and convey it to the canvas. Even if you draw right on the canvas, it is best to draw a preliminary outline with coal and use a clean piece of cloth, sweeping coal with it. There is another technique: outline the main lines of the drawing with ink or with a certain paint color.

Thus, it is of the highest priority for an artist to solve the following tasks: to draw a composition and define color characteristics considering certain lightning. Let us clarify. You should define the basic relations of colors by lightness and tonality and roughly outline them, creating the so-called underpainting, emphasizing the lightest and darkest shades and using liquid diluted paints for this. When creating the underpainting, the artist should work on shadows and halftones, selecting the right colors for them. By solving these tasks, you can proceed to light. The difficulty is that each color needs to be compared with other colors nearby, but the canvas should still be white at this stage. The artist can take advantage of a special palette here: a white tile whose surface is rubbed with onions or garlic. Then you should cover the tile surface with watercolor paint of the required colors and combinations with rich strokes.

The merging of watercolor paints between each other causes a certain decorative combination. Let the watercolors dry. Rub the surface with oil and proceed to work with the finished palette, selecting the right color combinations that correspond to the objects in life. Apply a suitable color to the canvas. However, the paint itself is not a color.

Let us focus on the most important things of this stage.

You should not paint the sketch in parts. The sketching needs a holistic and broadside approach, avoiding the finishing of any area, leaving the canvas colored or the intended shades. You should not also leave the canvas blank.

The best thing to do is to paint a still life with liquid diluted paints which will help determine the approximate color of the objects, the combination of lightness. Then proceed to a stiff painting.

Simple still lifes with no more than three objects are best for your first tries.

There are many techniques of oil painting, and the choice of the paint application is left to the artist. We cannot consider all types, especially since they are based on two techniques: one-layer and multi-layer paint application.

The first is the alla prima method, or a one-layer technique. Here, a painting needs to be created in a short time since, when applying strokes, the artist mixes the paints, creating new shades right on the canvas. This method is commonly used when working in the open air or painting small-sized sketches. The artist uses stiff brushes or a palette knife, all of which provide the painting with a texture. Paints can be applied heavily, the artist can move and mix them. Differences in the paints’ heaviness also enhance the texture. The main thing is to complete the work before the paint dries up. Color diversity will be achieved only by shades that you get by mixing paints on the palette and showing them through the coat.

The second method is a multi-layered technique, and it allows the artist to use all resources of oil painting. This technique requires you to apply more than one layer of paint. The first layer is the underpainting, where you paint a sketch on the canvas and a layer with the core color areas. It is followed by a layer of detailing. Each layer needs to get dry since the paints will fade, absorbing the oil from the fresh layers.

As a rule, artists use two methods, alternating paint layers, thus reaching color vividness and depth. Using texture paste, the painter practically creates a texture, emphasizing the objects on the canvas in the foreground. Brushes and a palette knife help to convey texture, roughness on the painting surface, and adding colorful layers to them fully completes the artistic design.

There is a number of oil painting rules to remember. You should not apply oil paints with a heavy layer, especially those containing much oil. It is best to use the coat that draws the oil moderately, and, in general, it is preferable to oil the lower layers of the painting if it is not enough.

You should remember that oil paints, including body and white-lead paints, lose their covering power over time and become transparent as the paint coating becomes thinner when it dries. Therefore, it is not recommended to repaint and alter oil painting since all these strokes will be visible even after a long time.

The coat quality is important for oil paints, and if it is good, the paints are easily altered, shaded, allowing to get thin color varying, and the long drying will not affect the original color.

Corrections of oil paints should not be made by a thin layer, on the contrary, you need to apply heavy layers of paints again. This is the only way to make undesirable areas invisible. And the best way to do that is to clean them up with special tools and paint them on the coat again.

We focused only on the most general, initial information of the oil painting technique, which every artist should know. However, the oil painting technique includes not only these tips. The artist develops the basic knowledge independently in practice. He or she will practice different methods of oil painting, such as underpainting, body molding of shapes, glaze, the simple-to-complex method in practical work.


Tags: art, artist, Nazym Rakhimberdiyeva, Oil Painting

Author: Maja Markovski


A 35-year-old female architect with a passion for innovative, sustainable design. I blend creativity and functionality to transform spaces into beautiful, practical environments.


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