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  • Writer's pictureHallie Kohn

Oil Sticks, January 2023

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

Well, it's been about a decade since I've written a blog I think... however, I do have something fun to write about. If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know I've been spending a lot of time painting with R&F oil sticks.

What are oil sticks? According to, they are "oil paint manufactured with enough wax for the paint to be molded into stick form". Imagine painting with a gorgeous tube of lipstick and you've got the right idea.

Why use them? For me they provide a great opportunity to paint loosely. I've always loved painting with my fingers, at least in the initial phases of the painting, and this is similar in some ways. There are no chances for tight lines as they are too thick for that; the expectation changes.

Another benefit is color usuage. I am not nor have I ever been a pre-mixer with my colors; I find it extremely tedious. I mix my paints on the spot as I go and for me this increases the spontaneity (and the fun). To take it to even another level, with the oil sticks the only way to mix colors is on the actual substrate! Otherwise, just reach for the color of stick that does the best job, forcing one to focus less on color matching and more on tones and values.

The sticks have some downsides. These are messy, but I paint with gloves anyway so that's ok. The have a strong smell, so I always paint with my window cracked and have an exhaust vent in my ((new)) studio., even in the winter. I also find that they take a bit longer to dry than my tubes oil paint, but that could be because I use gamsol and medium with my paint.

I am also painting larger with them on Arches Oil Paper rather than on my Ampersant Gessobord that I typically use. The paper feels less precious and is slightly less expensive, and for me that is definitely freeing.

Please check out some of the things I've been doing on my website:

To see the even larger pieces, check out the reels on my Instagram:

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Lynn Holbein
Lynn Holbein
Jan 21, 2023

Thank you so much for this wonderful blog! Please keep writing, such a pleasure to read about your process!


Jan 21, 2023

I love that you’re trying new things. I’ve been following you on IG for awhile as you are an inspiration to me.

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