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Why are Oil Paintings Expensive
(Image source: Michael Harding)

A very common question that is asked from me is ‘Why are oil paintings or oil paints expensive?’ and a very short, simplified answer to that is, that it depends on the texture of oil paint that is used, and also that it also takes a long time to dry, and time is money! One extra point to support the costliness of oil paints is that they are the ancient type of colors, which adds to its quality.

Oil Paint - Winsor Newton
(Image source: Winsor Newton)

Does the type of oil paint used actually matters, as what is made on the canvas is more important rather than the brand of the colors?

Absurd to think that the so-called brand or in better lines the quality of the oil paint does not matter! It does matter as the life of the painting you are buying depends on the quality of the paint. The good quality of oil paint is more pigmented than the cheap one. The more pigmented the color is, the more vibrant your painting is, even if the colors of your painting just has black and white in it.

So from where does the Pigment comes from? If the amount of pigment is what increases the cost, then where does it come from is what matters here!

(Image source: Wikipedia)

The Blue or Ultramarine Blue Color-

They are made from the very precious, limited stone, lapis lazuli, which is found in Afghanistan. The blue color is very rarely found naturally on the earth.

yellow color Pigment
(Image source: Pinterest)

The Yellow Color –

Lemon Yellow Ochre is a natural earth pigment being used since the beginning of human civilization from ancient Egypt. Ochre, an earthen-clay, contains various levels of iron to create its yellow pigment. Ochre also commonly appears in oil paintings throughout history. It is a very non-toxic and lightfast pigment.

Also, some yellow colors are unique itself as it is made from the urine of those cows who eat only toxic mango leaves.


Tyrian Purple color
(Image source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The Tyrian Purple –

This purple color is made from the glands of snails from the ocean. And surprisingly it takes 12000 snails to make just 2gm of the pigment. This is the purple Tyrian shell.

What is the Process of Production of Oil Paints?

Yes, the oil paint production right from its procurement to its final stage of packaging, mixing properly the color pigments to the oil with repetitive stir which is also very time consuming. The repetitive stir and mixing and churning ensure no lumps are left and the quality of the color is enhanced.

Oil paint production
(Image source – Old Holland)

Click here to see How Oil Paints are made => Video

So as you can understand the expensiveness of oil paints and its luxury, buy an oil painting for your home decor, office or gifting purposes to treat yourself with the lavish paintings from the hands of our Indian artists.

buy oil painting
(Image source: unisci24)



Hey! I am Shambhavi Maurya, currently pursuing an UG degree in Mathematics (Hons.). I am also working as full time blogger and CEO at IndiGalleria. I am also a Lifestyle Blogger and YouTuber at Life Amuses.

1 Comment

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