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Oil Painting Techniques, Tutorials and Demonstrations by William Hagerman

Learning How to Oil Paintkelley crank easel

Oil Painting Demo: You may wish to review this tutorial and then return to this page. You can also view my blog post (On the Easel: Paintings in Progress) where I show a series of progressive images showing the development of my paintings. Additionally if you are looking to take art classes with the artist, please see my information on art classes and lessons.

Learning how to oil paint, may seem like a daunting task at first. However, the art lessons and instruction provided here will be a practical guide to help you get started in the craft of oil painting and hopefully take away some of that apprehension you may have in pursuing this wonderful and versatile medium.

Many seek a simple solution to unlock the secrets of painting. Sorry to say, no such thing exists. Secrets imply something hidden, but these so called secrets have already been unlocked and available for all to learn. Painting is essentially a craft that consists of the following fundamentals.

Basic Fundamentals of Oil Painting

  1. Knowing the tools of the trade. Understanding what your art supplies and materials are used for and how to use them.

  2. Knowing how to artistically analyze the subject you wish to paint.

  3. Knowing and understanding the variety of paint techniques or in simpler terms, the methods of applying paint to achieve different effects.

  4. Paint, paint, paint! You will develop your skills as you practice and apply what you learn.

Expressing Yourself with Paint vs. Technical Know How

Some in the realm of art stress creativity and expressing oneself rather than an understanding of the above artistic painting principles, feeling it's a hindrance to self expression and not necessary. This simply is an erroneous idea.

To illustrate: Suppose you were handed all the trade tools of an auto mechanic and told to overhaul an automobile engine, yet you know nothing about car engines? How successful would you be? It's similar to painting. You might acquire all the brushes and paints needed to complete a painting, and then be told to go express yourself and create your masterpiece all the while you might be scratching your head wondering how to mix a particular shade of green or what brush to use to get the effect you want.

In reality, knowing the fundamentals along with practice, allows you to better express yourself with paint and to produce better work.

Getting Started With Oil Painting

If you're new to oil painting I invite you to first review the Basics of Oil Painting. This will serve as a quick start guide to oil painting. It begins with a review of the materials you will need, how to analyze and mix color, an overview of the painting process and an oil painting demo.  After this you can continue your study with additional and expanded articles on the craft of painting, using the directory of art instruction, below. (Please note, that the following article subject list will be developed over time. Please check back soon as I develop these pages.)

So, relax and enjoy, as you discover the world of oil painting!

Oil Painting Materials

  • Oil Paints (Pigments): How to arrange a palette.

  • Oil Painting Mediums and Thinners:

  • Oil Painting Brushes: Artist brush types and how to properly clean and take care of them.

  • Painting Supports: Artist's canvas and painting panels.

  • Art Studio Equipment for the Oil Painter

Painting Techniques: An Artist's Working Methods

  • Drawing and transferring your subject to canvas.

  • Composition

  • Applying Paint

The three main Techniques of Oil Painting

  • Layered Method

  • Direct or Alla Prima Method

  • Grisaille Method

Finished Paintings

  • Varnishing Paintings

  • Framing Art Work

  • Preservation of Art work

Color Theory

  • Color Wheel: How to use it without confusion.

  • Analyzing Color: How to see it and how to mix it.

  • Creating Form and Space

    • Form and the four basic shapes.

    • Perspective: Linear and Aerial