Is Oil Painting Hard to Learn?

Anyone can learn to oil paint.

I know when I first thought about starting to oil paint, I was pretty overwhelmed. I felt like maybe really learning to oil paint was just too hard and I could not do it.

Learning to oil paint is actually no more difficult than learning to paint in any other medium. But to master oil painting, like any other art medium will take time and effort. But don’t let the time and effort it takes, stop you from learning to oil paint, as I believe anyone can learn to oil paint.

If you are where I was several years ago and trying to decide if you can really learn to oil paint, all I can say to you is that “yes, you can definitely learn to oil paint.

Here are some answers to some questions you may have about how to go about learning to oil paint. I know when I started to investigate how to learn to oil painting, these are some of the questions I had.

Should I take an art class to learn to oil paint?

If you feel that you need extra guidance and would like to have a teacher that you can ask questions to, or if you feel that you really need help to understand more about oil painting, then it would be very good for you to take a class on oil painting. You can look to see if your community college or even some Universities offer art classes. There may also be other community classes you can look to take and many times art studios will also have some oil painting classes. Do a search and look for local artists in your area that may be teaching some art classes.

One of the best things about taking a class is that you will have a teacher that you can ask questions about any oil painting techniques, styles and other aspects of art. Sometimes when you are just starting out on a new adventure, it is nice to be able to have someone you can ask questions to. Also, you can learn a lot from the other students as they may also ask questions you may not have thought of. There are a lot of great things about taking an art class and it will only help you to be a better artist, plus give you a community of future artists to know and talk to about art.

If I am not able to take an art class is there any other place I can learn to oil paint?

Some people may not want to take an oil painting class. Maybe you just do not have time to attend a class, or you prefer to be able to learn at your own pace and on your own. Youtube has a lot of great content and even entire art classes that you can take online. The best part of this is that it is all free.

I did not take any classes but paid for a tutor for a while. But I also found that one of the best ways I learned to oil paint was by watching a lot of youtube videos. There is really a lot of great ideas and content out there, and many are made by some high skilled artists.

Here are some of my favorite Youtube art channels.

Click on the name of the channel below and the link will take you to the youtube channel where you can find a ton of great content and great lessons ideas.

  • Artist Network TV – This youtube channel has a lot of content for beginners and more experienced painters.
  • KevinOilPainting – This is one of the top Youtube channels for learning to oil paint especially if you want to paint landscapes, barns, and houses. He is so popular, he even has a set of brushes you can buy from him,
  • Lena Danya – Lena Danya also has a lot of great content. One of the best things about her youtube channel is that she will show you paintings in time-lapse mode, so you can see how something was painted step-by-step.
  • Michael James Smith – This is another great resource, especially for landscape artists. He will show you a lot of step-by-step paintings. He has a belief, that anyone can learn to paint.
  • Daria Callie – This is a great site to look at if you are looking to paint people, especially women. She has a lot of great detail on things like eyes and eyelashes.
  • Draw Mix Paint – Mark Carder has a goal to cover all aspects of oil painting and he does a great job to have some additional content on there for oil painters or artists in general. Like some of the other websites, he also believes that anyone can learn to paint.
  • Gagnon Studios – Tim Gagnon is a critically acclaimed artist, but he also takes time out of his art to teach art lessons. Though he does a lot of acrylic painting, the same techniques he is teaching can be used in oil painting 
  • Maz Art Studio – Maz Art Studio is a studio that teaches art classes. So because of this, they have a variety of different art lessons from landscapes to painting your pet portrait.
  • Kline Academy of Fine Art – They are based out of California and actually offer art courses. They have a lot of useful content on painting, mixing colors and other things. Though a lot of their focus is classical, I have found a lot of their videos to be instructive.
  • The Painting with Magic Show – This is the Youtube channel with Brandon Thomas. Like a lot of the other channels, he also believes that anyone can learn to paint. Brandon Thomas also has a website that sells paint supplies.
  • Ben Lustenhouwer – He is an artist and he will give some demonstrations of how he paints. He paints a lot of people and when I am painting a person and have a problem with how to do the nose, I will usually go to his website.

This list is just some of my favorites youtube channels, but it is by no means a complete list of all channels teaching art on youtube. There is so much content on YouTube about teaching art or art techniques. You will never be short of things to learn about oil painting online.

if you are looking for a specific question, or even to get some ideas of how to oil paint something like a flower, all you need to do is a google or youtube search. You will find a lot of great videos that will show you how to paint almost anything. Do not discount what you can find on Youtube, as I promised you even the really good artists may look on youtube every once in a while to get some inspiration or to learn something new.

For the very beginning artists, youtube has just made learning to paint a lot easier.

There are so many great resources for you to learn to oil paint whether you decide to learn to paint the traditional way with an instructor or you decide to learn on your own by watching some of the great content that is available online. Whichever way you choose to learn to paint, the one thing that I believe and many others believe is that anyone who sets their mind to it and really wants to learn to paint can learn to paint.

Related Questions:

Should I only paint on a canvas or can I paint on other surfaces?

Actually, you can paint on a lot of different surfaces when you are painting with oil paints. Many artists will paint on a lot of different surfaces, but how to prepare the surface properly so the paint will not peel or have an issue long term will be something that you will need to learn.

That is why I suggest for very beginning artists to first learn to paint on canvas. Once you have mastered painting on a canvas and then you can explore painting on other surfaces.

Do I need to know how to mix paint colors to learn to oil paint?

Having basic knowledge about color and how to mix color is a very important part of your oil painting instruction. But if you do not feel you can really learn it or you do not want to have to learn it now, that is OK. You can purchase a tube of oil paint in about any color you want.

As you do paint, I can promise you that learning about color and what color works with what or what color does not work with what will become a part of your learning process. The more you paint, the more you will learn about color and how when two or three or even four colors are mixed together, how that can change the entire color of what you are painting.

Anita Louise Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Louise Hummel. I am an artist and a blogger. I paint mainly oil paints. I love to paint women, animals (mainly dogs and cats), and abstracts. I use a lot of gold and silver leaf in my paintings. I also love to blog about anything to do with art, business, Procreate, and all the wonderful artists that inspire me.

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