Oil Painting

This is a really wonderful and rewarding hobby. And it is often something that people will pick up as a hobby after they retire. The common thing heard is "I always wanted to learn how to oil paint and now I have the time to do it." Well, you don't have to be retired to learn how to do oil paintings you just need the desire, a little time and a few dollars to get started. In this tutorial I will go over some of the basics that are involved in the hobby of oil painting. I will give you some tips and pointers and an overview of the things you will need.

And, you don't have to be an "artist" to do some really nice paintings. Really! You just need to know a few things and spend a little time.


Getting Started

Oil painting is popular as a hobby and it is quite possible that you can actually take some classes at a local school or training center. This is something you might want to look into. It is a great way to learn some of the basics and to meet other people that are also beginners. You could even go so far as to enroll in a class at the local community college.

But, if you want to start out on your own you do have other options. I recommend you get a book on the subject even before you buy any materials. It will be a guide for what materials you should get. And it will also give you an idea of what you will be doing. At the bottom of this page I have some recommended books for beginners.


Materials and Supplies

This whole introduction is about oil painting but I am going to be a bit loose with the term. This is because you might not necessarily want to use oil paints. They are terrific but for a beginner you might want to start with something other than oils. You might want to start with acrylic paints. They are easier to get, less expensive, and in some ways they are easier to work with ( You can dilute them and mix them with water rather than needing paint thinner).

Anyhoo, I will be doing some talking about acrylic paints but will still call it oil painting.

If you have no supplies at all you can usually get an economical beginners kit at an art supply store or an arts and crafts store. Even walmart carries kits for beginners. Often time they will include a book or booklet which is great.

Oil PaintsPaints: You can theoretically start out with just five colors and mix your way through every shade you need but I don't recommend this. Being a beginner can be a bit of a challenge when it comes to mixing paints and being able to get the colors just the way you want. I recommend you get as many colors as you can comfortably afford. 18 is a good place to start. From there you can do plenty of mixing to get different colors and shades and you can increase your collection of colors as time goes on and you move forward. The picture is of some of my oil paints.




Painting suppliesCanvas - You need something to paint on and there are some options for you. You can get canvas that is wood framed but this can be expensive. A canvas the size of a sheet of paper will cost you around ten dollars. And while this is ok It can get a bit expensive if you are a beginner. Sure you can paint over it again and again but that can get messy. I recommend you pick up some sheets of canvas paper. This will be much less expensive and you will be more free with your painting. Once you are ready to hang something on the wall then you can get the real canvas.

You will also need rags for clean up, brushes, something to keep and mix your paints in and probably some kind of a medium for mixing and thinning the paint. If you use oil paints you can use something called mixing medium. If you use acrylic paints you can just use water.

The picture shows a nice mixing tray that I bought for a dollar. You can also see a canvas that I bought for ten dollars. Beneath that is a brown pad that is ten pages of canvas paper.


Don't get too caught up in the details

Sometimes people get a bit nervous because of the supplies. They worry about what colors to get, what types of brushes to get, what types of canvas etc. Just get yourself a few brushes and colors and lets do this! Have fun. Experiment with the paints and how they feel and look.



Start with an easy composition

So, what should you paint? Well, I am a big advocate of having fun and painting whatever you want! Seriously. This could be a hobby so why not have fun? Don't make it a chore or a challenge. As a matter of fact, you don't even have to paint anything. You might want to just do something abstract just to get a feel for the paint and the colors.

I did a quick painting here to show you a few different things to think about. I am no artist but I had some fun and it came out pretty good.

First I just squeezed out a few colors onto my mixing tray then I put in the sky. It is about half way across the painting. And it is just a nice mix of blue and white. I put in blue, brushed on some white etc.

In the picture I have just started putting in the land.







Ok, I painted in the middle ground with browns, reds, burnt sienna a mix of a few earthy colors. This is mostly broad brush strokes like the sky but I did do some dabbling with the colors.

Then, at the bottom of the picture I switched to a different type of brush stroke. Rather than broad strokes right across the page I did a lot of dabbling. Using the brush to give the feeling of the brush in the foreground.






Now I am adding some details. It is just dabs of color to give the impression and feel of flowers and bushes in the foreground of the painting. This is an important thing to think about. The closer the object is to the viewer the more detail it will have. It's part of how we create the illusion of depth.

In this picture you can also see that I have added some small buildings in the back on the left. They are far away so they are not very detailed.







The completed painting

And here is my finished painting. You can see that I have added a few more details like wheat fields and some very tiny farm buildings on the right.

. This is a good way to work, although you can work- any way you want. You start with the major sections and broad strokes then you work your way down to smaller brush strokes and the details.

This painting took me about two hours to make. And that included clean up of the brushes and the mixing plate.





Other things to paint

There are lots of things to paint and here are some ideas: You could set some flowers or a bowl of fruit on the table and try painting that. This is very popular and a great way to start. Or you could select a picture and try painting what you see in the picture. Or even get a mirror and try painting a self portrait!


Books and Kits

Oil painting is popular as a hobby and it is quite possible that you can actually take some classes at a local school or training center. This is something

Oil Painting For The Absolute Beginner: A Clear & Easy Guide to Successful Oil Painting

The quick-start guide to great results!

Oil painting doesn't have to be rocket science, although some books on the subject make it seem that way. Filled with encouraging, easy-to-follow instruction, Oil Painting for the Absolute Beginner is a no-fear, no-experience-required guide to enjoyable painting andhappy results. Focusing on the needs of the first-time painter, this book covers everything from selecting brushes and setting up your palette to key principles of color and composition, presented in a way that moves you confidently from first strokes to finished paintings.

· Mini demonstrations break down fundamental painting techniques in a clear, common sense way

· 12 step-by-step painting projects progress from simple landscapes, still life and flower paintings to more challenging subjects, such as animals, seascapes and portraits

· The bonus DVD-workshop features the author creating two paintings from start to finish

You'll learn tricks for keeping the greens in your landscapes looking fresh, advantages to working with water-soluble oil paints, simple tips for dynamic compositions and other expert advice to make your introduction to oil painting the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


Oil Painting For Dummies

Nobody ever said that oil painting was easy. But it gets much easier and a lot more fun when you follow a step-by-step approach that starts you off on the right foot, helps you build your skills one at a time, and gives you plenty of exercises to develop your craft. That's what you'll find in Oil Painting For Dummies.



Oil Painting set

Oil Painting Set for Dummies

An oil painting set for Dummies! This 26 piece art set is all you need to start painting right away! Includes: 10 oil paints, 5 bristle brushes, 1 white nylon brush, 2 painting boards, 1 palette knife, 1 palette, 1 palette cup, 1 linseed oil, 1 drawing pencil, 1 pencil sharpener, 1 eraser, and 1 instruction book. Set comes inside a brown wooden box with metal clasp closures and a leather handle.