Learn Oil Painting

"Charley Under The Moon"

Oil painting by

Lois DeWitt


First, I discuss the materials you will need to begin oil painting: this includes brushes, canvases, oil paint, thinners, and other supplies. Knowing what to purchase and why is the first step to learning.  As in all of my other lessons, acquainting students with the physical art supplies and their characteristics is the primary goal to learning.  This knowledge, simple as it sounds, give students confidence to begin.  Secondly, exercises that teach students how to physically manipulate the materials is key to the learning process.  With more confidence through these kinds of exercises, students are easily ready to go on to the beginning oil painting lessons of color mixing, blending and gradations, depicting light and shadow and painting textures and detail.

To help you start oil painting, I have created several oil painting project lesson videos showing the various skills and techniques I use in teaching Beginning Oil Painting to students.  These are basically for students who have never done oil painting before or have painted a little and want to learn more about the process.  I also have created some videos that show the skills and techniques I use in my own work to give you an idea of how a student can set out in their own direction having learned some basic oil painting skills.  Learning in that way is important to creative development. 

Although  it is a good to learn how one artist works and adopt their skills by copying, I have always encouraged students to learn with the idea that all of their learning should be directed to finding a personal style.  When they can use what they have learned to delve deeper into themselves and to find what truly they want to express, they can use the full capacity of creativity.

Charley, my Standard poodle, is the subject of many oil paintings I have done.  I have, through my paintings, transported him to magical sub tropical worlds where he remains, however, complacent and thoughtful, as usual!

I have written an Ezine article about oil painting that I think you will find interesting.  Depicting light and shadow are important in painting, probably the most important skill other than drawing skills that you will need to produce "realistic" paintings, that is, painting that are about identifiable subjects, like still life, portraits, and landscapes.  Light and shadow can also be depicted in abstract painting, usually through light and dark colors.

Click here to read my Ezine article, "Painting Light."

Click here to go to my FREE Beginning Oil Painting video project lessons.

"Charley In The Woods"

Oil painting by

Lois DeWitt

"Backyard Sunset"

Oil painting by

Lois DeWitt

"Charley On Striped Cushions"

Oil painting by

Lois DeWitt

"Sam's Birthday"

Oil painting by

Lois DeWitt

"Cat And Sunset"

Oil painting by

Lois DeWitt

Real Feedback

I'm 50 and going to retire soon. I always wanted to be able to draw so now is the time. I saw your website and you sent me the classes link.What you said about my work I sent you was right on!

Much improved, I'm hummin'!

Mac B, Toledo, Ohio


Our Girl Scout Troop did the landscape drawing lesson at Camp, then we had a show of their work. Even the counselors were impressed!

Thanks, Lois!

Mrs. Ritter and daughter Jennifer


I never thought I enjoy so much abstract painting! The color, brushes, I love! Thanks!



So far the online lessons I have made it through have been extremely informative and helpful, not just the techniques, but general information on how to not ruin your brushes, waste paint, etc. I thank you soooo much for making this available for people like me who can't get out and go to art lessons often enough to count, :p I do these when I get off work and have time and it's not stressful trying to work around my already hectic schedule, so thank you again. Kayla M. Gray

----- Good Day Lois, I want to thank you for the clear instructions in your online oil painting classes. I have not yet had a chance to do all the exercises, but I have read (at work) them carefully and I think you are a wonderful teacher. Your havemade the instructions simple and yet comprehensive. I have recommended your site to another beginning artist to complement our class work. I am particularly interested in the intermediate class and I hope to incorporate your teaching into my next painting.

Thank you for your generosity of spirit in sharing your knowledge.


I am truly amazed by 1.- your response and 2.- your prompt response. There is so much BS on the net today that I wasn’t sure if you we’re legit or not. Now your comments on my work gave me a super-boost. Thanks a lot, merci beaucoup! As for the unfinished portion of the canvas, I took this as an exercise and didn’t see the point in “wasting” more paint.

This is my first try and don’t really think it will ever reach the Louvre. Again thank you very much, I really do appreciate, my donation is on it’s way. Oh and a little question: I skimmed over all your lessons and did not find any info on mediums (linseed oil etc.). I am truly in a fog as to the use of those different products. Do you know any place I can find info on these like what they do, when to use them etc. Thanks again.

Claude Thibault

Quotes from famous artists from Artquotes.net:

"It took me 40 years to find out that painting is not sculpture."Paul Cezanne

"I am out to introduce a psychic shock into my painting, one that is always motivated by pictorial reasoning: that is to say, a fourth dimension." Marc Chagall

"At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since." Salvador Dali

"One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.""Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master." Leonardo da Vinci

"Cezanne, you see, is a sort of God of painting." Henri Matisse

"Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment." Claude Monet

"Every good painter paints what he is." Jackson Pollock

"Practise what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know." Rembrandt van Rijn

"The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting." Vincent Van Gogh

"Why do people think artists are special? It's just another job."

"Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches." Andy Warhol

"I had reservations about making art a business, but I got over it."

"There are not only more people collecting, there are more people collecting for the wrong reasons, basically as the latest get rich quick scheme. They buy art like lottery tickets." Mary Boone (art collector and gallery owner)

"Warhol turned to photographs of stars, as the Renaissance turned to antiquities, to find images of gods." David Sylvester (art critic)