Painting with oils is a very fulfilling and relaxing hobby. So, if the only brush you've ever held in your hand is a hairbrush but you're willing to learn or teach your child, read on. One doesn't need to be a talented artist in order to paint with oils. Anyone with interest in art will be able to do a fairly reasonable job.
If you are a complete beginner, here's what you will need in order to make an oil painting.
A bottle of turpentine
Turpentine is essentially for cleaning brushes. It can also be mixed along with the paint, to thin it. Paint mixed with turpentine is sometimes used as a first layer, because the paint gets thin and it dries quickly. Also, when painting, you will need to clean brushes frequently, so keep a rag by your side, dip your brush in the turpentine, wipe it, and use another colour.
A bottle of linseed oil
Linseed oil is not the only oil you can use, but is often the preferred choice of some art students. An artist normally mixes a little oil with the paint before applying it on the canvas. The more oil used, the longer the paint will take to dry. Remember, if the first layer is not completely dry, and you paint the second layer on it, and if the second layer dries before the first layer, the paint will crack.
A dipper is a device of two cups; one holds the oil, and the other holds the turpentine. The dipper has a hook at the bottom, and it hooks on to the palette.
The artist removes paint from the tubes on the palette, and also mixes colours on the palette. The palette has a hole on one side, through which your thumb goes. You thus hold your palette in one hand and paint.
Canvas and brushes
The size of the canvas depends on the size of the image your child wants to paint. Your child should ideally start out on a canvas that is not too large. She could try and make something not very complicated, like two squares on a white background, to give her a feel of the brush strokes, paints etc. The canvas should never be bare at any spot. Where the background is white, white paint needs to be used. As for the brushes, invest in a few large and medium size flat brushes, and a few thin and medium size round brushes.
Do you have to be good at sketching in order to be a good painter? Ideally, if you sketch well, it will definitely make painting easier, but being good at sketching is not a requirement if you're just painting for your own pleasure and as a hobby. You can still make beautiful paintings, but it probably will mean some hard work, and you will find it easier to make copies of other paintings, rather than make something on your own. If you're not good at sketching, just find a painting that you like, make a full page colour copy, and draw a line through the center, up to down, and side to side, to form a cross. Then, measure half again, and draw futher crosses. Do the same with your canvas. You will then find it easier to copy the sketch. Remember, however, that the canvas should be proportionately bigger than the original, or your sketch will be skewed. Your child can sketch the image with pencil, or directly make the outlines with his paintbrush if he is more comfortable.
The only way to improve is practice. So, initially you or your child may mess up when mixing colours, but gradually you will improve. Your strokes, blending ability, will all fall into place with practice.
Art and Your Child