Oil Painting for Beginners
Oil paints can be an amazing medium to work with, from quick Alla-prima oil canvas sketches to photo-realistic oil portraits.
Artists’ oil colours are made by mixing dry pigments with linseed oil, meaning oil paints take longer to dry vs acrylics. You can enjoy the luxury of being able to tweak, alter, soften and blend your work, creating wonderful, subtle paintings.
This page is a starting point for your oil painting journey, helping you to choose the right palette, understand techniques and supplies, and get inspired with oil painting ideas.
How to Paint with Oils
It’s important to learn the basics of oil painting to give yourself the best chance of creating great works. Here you’ll find lessons on beginner oil painting topics, from underpainting and fat-over-lean to creating the right consistency for your paints and varnishes. There are also articles on solvent-free oil painting and water-mixable oils.
You can explore classic oil painting glazing techniques, grisaille and scumbling, or even try an impressionistic approach with still life!
When it comes to materials, there are plenty of tips to help you choose the right brushes, canvas, mediums and tools to get you started, and an advanced Oil Painting Portrait Glazing Course when you’re ready.
The Trouble with Oil - Preparing a Canvas for Oil Painting
Why you need to correctly prepare a canvas when using oils
A quick way to understand brushes + video
Overview of acrylic brushes and the brush choices I make for a simple landscape
The 5 Key Differences between Acrylics vs Oil paints - a Beginners Guide
Are acrylics or oils your natural medium?
Water-Mixable Oils vs Traditional Oils for Solvent-Free Oil Painting (Video)
A comparison between the pros and cons of water-mixable oils and traditional oils
Peonies in Water-Mixable Oils (How do they compare to Acrylics?)
A still life set up of some fab oversized pink peonies beginning simply with acrylics then building up the piece using water-mixable oils.
How to Paint a Simple Still Life using Oil Paints
A simple coffee cup step-by-step study using oil paint for beginners
How to Paint an Oil Portrait – Part 1 of 5
How to use classical oil painting techniques to build up a Grisaille portrait
Oil Painting Techniques & Terms
Glossary for Oil Painting Terms - The Essential Guide for Beginners
A guide for understanding basic oil painting terms
The 3 Key Secrets of Portrait Painting Success
How a simple change in approach can help your portrait paintings
7 Questions every Artist needs to ask before Varnishing an Oil Painting
Should you use a Dammar of Mastic? What about a spray or brush?
The Importance of Contrast in Painting
How learning to view your paintings as drawings can improve realism in your work
The 3 Steps to Becoming a Better Painter, by Painting Less
How too many choices can cause decision fatigue and stop you progressing in your practice
Exhibitions & Old Master Oil Painting Techniques
Inside the Artist's Studio, Ruben's House & the Art of Antwerp
An art tour of Antwerp, Belgium to visit Ruben’s studio and house, experiencing the altarpieces of Baroque artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577 -1640)
How to Paint, Sleep (and Nearly Die) like Cézanne
How a visit to Cézanne’s art studio in France highlighted the power of taking action on your dreams (even if you’re a late bloomer)
Inside Rembrandt's Studio
A close look at the oil painting techniques used by Rembrandt, and the lighting used in his studio in Amsterdam
Discovering Zorn, the Petit Palais & Patisseries in Paris
A retrospective exhibition in Paris of the Swedish painter Anders Zorn
Discovering Velázquez, The Duke & Unexpected Treasures
Discovering Velázquez paintings hidden in plain sight in London
Studying Holbein's Portrait Drawings: A Brief Encounter
Exhibition review of a selection of Hans Holbein portraits
Self Portrait Painting selected for Ruth Borchard Competition
Painted with Ivory black, Raw Umber and Titanium White on pre-primed linen
Monet & Architecture at the National Gallery (London)
An exhibition review of Impressionist Claude Monet, focusing on Monet’s relationship with architecture