Oil Painting Techniques
As you get older, it’s important to do activities that help to maintain the mind and body connection. Creative activities such as learning oil painting techniques help to keep your brain focused and to build up the parts of the brain that control muscle movement.
The human brain is a complex structure, and the same area of the brain can be involved in multiple processes. Oil painting not only keeps the mind connected to the body, but it also helps to preserve the imagination and the ability to discern the difference between the internal world and the external.
Whenever you’re learning something new, you need to take into account your own personal learning style. This is especially important the older you are, as your brain needs new stimulation to continue to create neural pathways. You’re more likely to remember new skills if you approach the task with your best learning style:
- Auditory – you’re an auditory learner if you remember things best when you’ve listened to them. For something like oil painting, you’ll learn best when someone talks you through the different brush strokes and coloring techniques.
- Visual – visual learners gain and retain knowledge most easily when they are shown through demonstrations what it is that they are meant to be learning. You’ll learn oil painting techniques when someone sits next to you, demonstrating how to use the different paint brushes for you to copy.
- Kinesthetic – kinesthetic learners work best when they are allowed to do the activity themselves. They learn through trial and error, so if this sounds like you, you’ll need to give yourself plenty of time and find a teacher who is willing to give you feedback on your efforts.
Types of Oil Painting Techniques
Oil painting is one of the most popular senior activities because it’s easy to get started and gives very impressive results. There are two main styles to choose from when you’re starting to learn:
- Indirect painting – this involves painting in layers and allowing each coat to dry before painting the next. This style of painting is great for staving off dementia as it requires you to plan out your picture and your brushstrokes before you start. You’ll need a certain level of knowledge about different paint types, such as opaque and glazes, to master this technique.
- Direct painting – also known as wet-on-wet, direct oil painting is done all in one go. This also helps to maintain the mind body connection as you’ll need to use your fine motor skills to avoid mixing colors accidentally and to work out the liquid content of your paint. You’ll need to apply the thinner paints first and then those with a higher oil content. This helps to keep the colors bright.
Dementia is a constant fear as people grow older, but unlike hereditary diseases, you can do something to lessen your chances. Learning oil painting techniques and other such creative activities will keep your brain active. Doing it as part of a class will also be a good way to keep you active and help you to make and maintain friendships with other like-minded seniors.
Many of you may have heard of Grandma Moses. She began to paint as an artist in her seventies. It is said that her first painting was done with house paint. Grandma Moses was self-taught and some may want to try that.
For those who are interested in painting with oils, that would like some instruction there are options available. Look into your local community college or the community center in your town.
If learning at home is your preference we have found a downloadable eBook that we are proud to offer. We have affiliated with this product because we have reviewed it as well as others and this is our top pick. Here you will find a very clear explanation of what the painter is doing and why. Many pictures help the visual learner. If you are interested in oil painting and learning at your own pace (no matter what your age) at home this is the book you want to have in my opinion.
Other articles in our activities series
Activities for Senior Citizen Centers
Growing Bonsai Trees
Art Lessons Plans and Learning Something New
Retirement Advice and Being Active
Pastels Art Lesson Plans
Beginner Guitar Lessons
Beginner Guitar Lessons Part Two
Piano Lessons for Beginners
Family Tree Research
Tai Chi for Seniors