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teacher avatar Sarah Mckendry, Canadian Realist Painter

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

16 Lessons (27m)




    • 5. CANVAS BASICS...




    • 9. PALETTE KNIVES...



    • 12. PERFECT POSTURE...





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About This Class

One of the greatest joys that I get out of being a professional artist, is sharing all of the wisdom and magic that I have gathered along my journey with creative souls that are looking to grow within their craft. I am constantly receiving messages asking about my creative process, my preferred materials, and just how the heck I am able to capture realism in my oil paintings with only a brush in hand.  I was desperately seeking a platform where I could answer all of these questions and translate my eleven years of experience into exciting, engaging and easy to follow tutorials for artists of absolutely all skill levels.  When I was approached to start teaching on Skillshare, it all finally fell into place.

This is the first of what will be many fundamental tutorial videos on the incredible magic of oil painting.  I so often hear excuse after excuse from souls that are scared to dive into this medium, and I am thrilled that I get to dispel so many of the myths around it.  I am going to take the time to walk you through my entire studio - paints, solvents, mediums, brushes, canvas, lighting - so that when my next tutorial is posted, you will be ready to follow along and be completely set up for success. 

So whether you have never picked up a paintbrush or you are seasoned painter with skills abound, this video will break things right down to the basics so that we all start on the exact same page. I am so incredibly excited to help you grow on your creative journey and to show you all of the tips, tricks, and magic that we can use to translate that souls of yours onto canvas...

Material List For The Upcoming Tutorial 'Deepquiet Stillness'...


Titanium White *

Indigo *

Prussian Blue 

Payne's Grey*

Charcoal Grey

Olive Green*

Prussian Green

Green Earth

Golden Green

Sap Green*

Vandyke Brown *

Raw Umber

Burnt Umber*

Green Umber

Brown Madder

Indian Yellow

* These colours are really essential to the tutorial, while the ones that do not have a star beside them are less essential but great to have on hand.

Gamsol or your favourite Mineral Spirits

Liquin Light Gel Medium (or walnut oil if you do not want a quicker dry time)


Proart Large Handle Brushes (find whatever you can, but try to have at least one of these):

3" x 1

2" x 2 or more

1" x 2

A selection of various sizes of white taklon (or your preference) brushes in both filbert and flat varieties.


20" x 24" Stretched Canvas


36"x 40" Stretched Canvas (or whatever dimensions you can find within this general range)

A few canvases of any size to practice on

A Painting Palette

1 or 2 Palette Knives

Shop Towels (a stronger type of paper towel that do not have any lint) or Clean Rags

An open mind, happy heart, and the ability to really let loose and have some fun.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Sarah Mckendry

Canadian Realist Painter


My name is Sarah Mckendry and I am an International Artist, a stay at home mom to two wild and wonderful little boys, a published author, oil painting instructor, and creative entrepreneur.  I spend my days trying to keep up to my two adventurous little boys and as soon as they fall asleep for the night, I retreat into my studio and pour my heart and soul onto canvas.


Being a completely self taught artist, I wholeheartedly appreciate how challenging it can be to figure out the rather complex and overwhelming world of oil painting when you are first starting out.  I wish that I had someone that could have walked me through their creative p... See full profile

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1. AN INTRODUCTION: SELF TAUGHT VS. CLASSICALLY TRAINED...: way. As many of you know, I'm completely self talkers. I've never returned in art school. I didn't even take it. Our class in high school, Everything that I'm about to teach you is from my own experience. It's from the thousands upon thousands of hours, and I have devoted to this craft over the past 11 years. I don't think you need classical training to become a successful artists. In fact, I am proof that my painting so before we even dry on my easel, I am also a high selling professional artist. Now it is so liberating, knowing that I didn't like the terms on that. Those constructs that we're kind of old school and that you needed a gallery and a decree to become a successful artist are now being broken so that each and every one of us we have the opportunity to be the best artist we can be and to reach the people what you really want to reach without all these chains holding us down his determination and passion and drive to teach yourself a new skill and to work tirelessly day in and day out until you're finally happy with what's staring back into a campus. Well, you don't need her to. I'm proved that you could just be you and just show up every day and honor yourself and learn and grow and excited about the journey. 2. FINDING YOUR PERFECT SPACE...: So this is the first time my creative journey, that I actually have my own space that has a door where I create. For the past six years, I actually painted in our kitchen. We moved our dining room table and chairs into the shed, and I planted my easel, all my supplies, my chair and all. My canvas is right there in the middle of our living space. It was awesome. I created my best work, that space. Just proof that you don't need a fancy studio in order to really own your craft and to practice all your skills, which again is just a space you're comfortable in for me as being full to the people I love , it is being able to sit down if I have five minutes a day and just working something really special, but also just to see it and have it present in my line of vision at all times. I'm constantly thinking of the next thing I wanna do, thinking about what I was painting the night before, when I could have learned what I have done differently. It's really exciting, So whether you're painting your kitchen table while you're cleaning in the closet under the stairs or you have a normal space like this. It's all perfect. It's all exactly what you need to be and create a ton of magic in exactly that space. 3. THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF BRUSHES...: so these are my favorite brushes. They are relatively inexpensive, and they're made by Pro Arte, and they have a really lovely soft bristle, but a lot of them. So this really helps you achieve really realistic blending in your sky as well as fog and really soft and wait with clouds. I have about 10 of each of these, and I use them religiously. This is the one inch the two inch and the three inch. So these are the pro art. You can find them at most art stores. The liquid tax makes a more expensive version of these, but they're also fantastic. So if it's in your budget and these aren't available and grab some of those. But I have a recommend that you have these on hand or a variation of this. Your typical paper should you get a Home Depot will not work. You need to find a really soft rustle like this. Um, that has some give and some play to it. It's essential I disease all the time. I usually have about 30 of them clean at the end of the night of painting. I don't like cleaning my brushes well in painting That's why I have so many. I do it all at the end of the night, so you don't need a ton of these, but one or two would be awesome for the size of paintings were doing these tutorials the two inch, I'd say. Get a couple of those if you can, or at least one and the one inches. Well, if you're going to be working on the bigger pieces with me, maybe one of these three inch will be awesome. Not a necessity. But the two inch definitely is. You're going to see what kind of magic you can create with that. It is my favorite. So these air called white tackle brushes. The brand is Howard Johnson or H J. They were really inexpensive. I buy them by the dozen because I'm pretty rough on my brushes when I paint. As you will see if you have your own oil paint brushes, that's fantastic. Please use them. This is just what works for me. So we have the while. These of the 5/8 3 quarter and one inch any variation of those sizes are awesome. Have on hand. We have our Filbert. I usually have all the way up from 20 right down to eight in stop as well as my flats, Um, and same sizes. I have, um from big right down to super tiny thes tiny brush here is really wonderful tohave. We're doing our final detail work clouds and trees and water films. This size is great toe have because it really pulls the edges up from the clowns will still maintain that really sharp line. So there. And these are great for Brendan blending. We're not using our big brushes. Some take whatever ones you think you might want to have on hand and work with all of them . So doesn't matter. You could probably find an expensive ones at any art store and just get those. 4. DIVING INTO PAINTS...: So these are my favorite blues ones that I usually always use when I need to use a blue in one of my landscapes, which is often in to go is the go to color that you must have if you want. Under these tutorials, I use this all the time. It is a really wonderful blue, but it also has a really wonderful great quality to it. When mixed around just creates a really moody dramatic seeing whenever it's added to my colors. So indigo blue pressure in blue is really nice from doing cloud work you do not need old hall in This is your bee's knees of oil pains. They're quite expensive, but they're absolutely delightful. You confined oppression blue in any other brand. It will be just perfect for you. French Ultra Marine, Really beautiful light warm fund blue Then I have my Windsor Blue green chain. That's really lovely. I have my Indian three blue probably saying that wrong welcome to my world. And then I met Gala Blue, which I love. This is a really powerful blue. You actually do not need much of it. Of all this will last two ages, it could be very overpowering when you mix it other colors, but it achieves a really great rich blue when you use it in the sky. So these are my favorite blues. If I were to pick to that I want you to have for these tutorials, I'd say definitely the indigo oppression is really handy and probably your Windsor blue green shade. Okay, so maybe those three would be with the gold ones. But if you even in a just depression and the indigo you'll be great, You won't need anything else. So this is When's your Newton titanium white? It is my go to light. I have it always on hand, and I've either being big tubes because I use so much of it. I highly recommend getting some of this. You don't need a 200 million tube. You could get a smaller one if you like. But if you plan on sticking around for all these tutorials, highly recommend maybe getting a big one because it last and then you're not gonna run out when you're the middle of your flow. Now onto the greens, thes are essentially the only greens that I use in my paintings. I usually at a brown or a Bluetooth. Um, if I need to change them at all. So you don't need a huge selection of green to work with all of green. I use all the time. It doesn't matter what brand you get. Whatever's in your budget is totally fine. But how they suggest olive green pressure green is a really fantastic green. I, um I'm kind of obsessed with it right now. This is a Windsor. Newton Brown is very affordable. They're actually one of the only brands I've found that actually make this color. So if you go to your store, check out to see if they haven't, it is not a necessity, but any means. But it's really fun. Green toe. Have kicking around for these tutorials. You'll be able to find green Earth and any one of these brands how they suggest that one for detail, work and highlights. I always have this golden green. You can find it in any brand. This is again the whole pollen, which is really expensive. But, uh, kind of treated myself to that. And then sap green really loved green to have in your palate. So I have a recommend having at least a few of these greens definitely the olive and definitely the green er's if you could get all of them fantastic, not a necessity. Do whatever you can to, um, make that work. So when my landscape paintings, I very rarely use a black. It's usually really dark brown mixed in with other this charcoal grey or this Payne's gray . Now Windsor and Newton made these both these colors, and they're my absolute favorite. I use them all the time. If you confined charcoal gray, pick it up. It's a really stunning color, especially we're working on our fog. If you can't find charcoal gray and no sweat, we can let a mix a bit of your Payne's gray in with a couple of the Browns will be using, and it'll chief somewhat similar look, So don't worry if you can't find this, um, it's always sold out whenever I go up, possibly cause I vital But again, Windsor Newton. Very affordable brand Charcoal gray and Payne's gray. Just lovely colors. So these are the Browns I use most often. This is more of a green, but we got its green number that goes with raw umber burnt umber, those three or just really handy to have on hand Van Dyke brown I use all the time. I don't like to use black in my landscape paintings, but this is pretty darn close. It is such a deep, beautiful, rich brown that you can add a little bit of those charcoal or pain, great to it and really create some depth and, um, drama with those colors. So Van Dyke Brown highly recommend If you get a brown matter, a wrong number or a burnt umber, we can make anything work with this combination. So do whatever you can find, whatever you can. Not a necessity to have all of them trying it. Van Dyke Brown Find green number. That's awesome. Maybe burnt umber, or choose one that you think you want to use all the time. It's not very often that I use these colors of my paintings, but they're really handy to have on hand, especially if you decide to do a sunset piece. So there's a lizard and crimson. This is really handy color. Now again, we're going into my old Holland. But this shade of red is just stunning. It's called Elizabeth Crimson Lake extra so it's just a slightly different variation. The lettering comes in itself, but it's just so deep, beautiful, and then Indian Yellow is my favorite shade of yellow and my second favorite chain of yellow. This looks orange right here, but it is old Holland Red Gold like it. There's a beautiful color, just absolute beautiful. I'm destroying you, my favorite colors so that maybe if I do decide to do the sunset piece down the road, uh, you can have these on hand, not a necessity by any means, just telling you what I use whenever I do this kind of work. 5. CANVAS BASICS...: I can't take a few minutes and just travels. You go canvas stretcher bars and all that fun stuff. So these are called stretch of artists. For those of you aren't aware, you buy these individually in pairs, essentially any sizes, like you bend them together the hammer. You square them up any stretch campus over time. Now, for those of you, don't I will do it. Toil on that soon. But until then, you more comfortable buying your pre stretch canvas. Then, by all means, please do you'll see here the structure bar back. They stretched canvas over top of this stable with on Well, you have a service to paint off because these determines are geared towards artists from all skill levels, giving everyone to options of sizes for each tutorial that I do so for the artists were just starting out with oils or even just painting. To begin with, I am giving the smaller size to work, so that's overwhelming a whole other way. Space could be really don't end when you first sit down to trying to meet you. If you have campuses lying around that you want to use up my own means, do So these air totally just a suggestion. I just find it a lot easier to follow along and really honing those skills when you're working the vaccine member surface area as myself. Now, if you already comfortable with laying on composition of peace and please use whatever size came issue like, we're not so comfortable with that that I have suggest trying to find a campus with in the same general dimensions as what I'm suggesting. 6. MARVELOUS MEDIUMS...: what this magical little product does is it speeds up the drying time of your oil painting significantly, so much so that she couldn't work on another layer on that specific painting, usually the next day, without any tackiness or transferred from the base layer up into the newly you're working on. I, um, swear at us. This is my favorite favorite product in my studio. It allows me the freedom to just keep moving forward of the peace without having to worry about really long, boring time. I highly suggest this, especially just starting out it also belonging to keep working on your skills clicker. Because you're not waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, reading for that pain to drive. As the old adage goes. Eso liquid my job. Find Windsor in a game changer. 7. MINERAL SPIRITS & CLEANING BRUSHES...: So this right here is called damsel was made by gambling products. It is a odorless mineral spirit, and it is a fantastic cleaner for your brushes. All I use soap, water. I don't strip in time. I just use this. It does not smell really easy product to work with. And I will show you how I wash my brushes in another little video. But for now, I highly recommend you pick up some GAM. Saul, if you want to keep your brushes nice and clean and your studio not smelly. So I'm gonna go over how I clean my brushes when I'm using oil paint. As I mentioned earlier, I use gams all It is an older list mineral solvent. It is fantastic. And you can reuse it over and over and over again until you run out. I'll explain how to do that in the second year. So I have poured some here into my little brush washing jar. And what you do is you just put your dirty brush in squishing around, kind of pop it down on the bottom into that spirit, get the extra off, and then I just do this on a towel now this was a clean brush, but you just do this over and over again until there's nothing coming off that brush on that either. The towel, paper towel, whatever you're using and then it's clean. I've been lay it flat like this to drop out of the way. I do that with all my brushes, no matter the size or shape when I'm done with that solvent, What I'm gonna do is I pour it into my big jar of used games all now. Right now, it looks like a murky mess. But over the next few days, all of that pain sentiment was settled down to the bottom of the jar, and I'll be able to pour out perfectly clear GAM saw to use to wash my brushes the next time. So you just keep doing that cycle over and over and over again, and it really prolongs the life of your damsel cuts down on costs, and it's a really effective way to do this 8. STARTING FRESH WITH A CANVAS...: How does suggest picking up a couple extra little cancers that you can play around with the only thing, the sizes of enduring stories? What gives you the freedom to really practice your techniques as we move toward this? Tutorials give me a lot of blending. You need to practice. It doesn't come over. It takes time. But you're gonna learn the skills that will get you there. So if you have some extra pieces lying around that you could work on, please do it is such a beneficial aspect to his creative journey. One of the things I love about oil pain is that if you're not feeling one of the camps is you're working on or bodied it up, meaning that you makes too many colors together. And it's just kind of money. Old mess on your piece. You could take it all off and start again. It's what you do is you just scrape the campus, get all the extra paint off your palate. Then I bought lay on the ground. I pour some of my mineral spirit on it. I just wipe it off the rag paper towels until all the pain is gone. It might be a little bit of payment transfer, but is nothing you can paint over. So it's really cool. Whenever you don't like a piece, you're not stuff that you could just start again. You don't have to buy a whole new campus to do so, so keep them. You're getting frustrated or something's not working out, just taking back to nothing and just take a deep breath, maybe go for a walk and then sit down, try again. 9. PALETTE KNIVES...: So I really suggest having a palette knife for two handy. Whenever we're painting together, these I use toe actually scrape painting off of my campus. I work and really thin layers, and I find that my colors get really muddy. If I have too much on my campus so you'll always see me screw creep in that paint right off my campus. Um, not almost bring it right back down to nothing. And I achieve a lot of depth through that. So highly suggest palette knife. This is a great size. Does have to be huge. You can get any sizes you like. Really, They all serve the same purpose. I don't really use them for mixing my colors just for cleaning off my palate and also pleading my gambits would have too much paint on it. Okay, so these were the palette knives. Any size will do 10. PAINTING SURFACES...: So let's talk pallets first. You don't need a professional power by any means. I have paint all kinds of pallets. These are my preference, because whenever mommy human, my liquid like or my wallet will it just come came to contain? I have a messy painters, so anything that helps just keep things in one area all for But whatever works for you, it could be any surface plate from a piece of cardboard with pieces cramming up around it. Anything that works is just what I use. Um, relatively expensive. And I just lied about the end of the night and they Iraq feeding. 11. CREATING THE PERFECT LIGHT FOR YOUR SPACE...: for the past five years of my creative during administrative. Well, that means is I get to paint with others over this guy. My boys are busy and they're awesome, energetic and so much fun. I just really like being president them during the day. I'm not very good. Just taking five minutes here there and just diving into a project I need hours upon hours just like get lost. So I pain tonight. You probably hands. I worked all night on a landscape. I think up in the morning. That morning Sun hit my campus. The college Roy's a little murky or a little. Two more little to cool. It was never the balance I really wanted. Well, I quickly realized that that was because I was painting on a roll lights. So I did my research, and I figured out a way how to achieve noonday leg here in my studios that I could paint at night. And when I woke up in the morning, my paintings looked really beautiful, realistic in the morning light. Those college true what I was hoping to achieve. So for those of you don't know these, they're called laying soft boxes. You see them in photography studios. They use them to like a subject with really soft beautiful. They're perfect for painting as well. I think he's a part of the Amazon. They're very inexpensive. There have some game changing whenever you pain tonight. Now you can have lightning soft box. But rules need to feel that top box with a really quality like you need to find a lightbulb between 5000 and 5500 Calvin, which is a letter K when you're looking on the boxes, you also need to find a C R I, which is the color rating index off 90% better. That's a purity of I have a combination of both 5000 and 5500 Calvin light bulbs. I have two of each of them in each of my life boxes, and it's a really beautiful like I wish I could tell you where I got my bulbs, but I ordered them through some obscure art site down the States about eight years ago, and I have no idea what that company was even called. But do your research, check out local harbor stores and find something that works for you in your space might only have a couple floor. Liam's use Those just scream differently, falls into them, and it will help. Okay. You don't know this fancy set up. I just do this because this is my career. This is my passion. This is my profession, and I need everything to be true for 12. PERFECT POSTURE...: this chair might look quite ridiculous, but it has been a total game changer for my painting world. I usually pain for about 3 to 6 hours at a time, and I'm not paying attention to how I'm sitting or something. What I'm doing other than putting paint on canvas and getting lost in that world, this chair is called a cilice eat. And what it does is you adjust it with all these wonderful knobs to be almost like you're exactly sitting in saddle. And I said, it looks ridiculous, but I have not had one sore back since I bought this five years ago. I campaigned for hours and my hips are open on. My back is straight. They have great posture, and I use it all the time. So for those of you who paint for hours and hours and find that you get back, get sore, your legs get sore, maybe check out something like this. This is something that I highly recommend 13. EXCELLENT EASELS...: so you do not even easel by any means to do any of these tutorials. I get a lot of questions about what he's Ally actually do use, so I'm just take a minute and explain it to those that are interested. For many years, I actually sat on the floor with my painting propped up against the wall, so I proof that you can still create great art without all the fancy stuff. Now this is the Santa Fe to easel is created by richest and art supplies down the states. It's also the best brand I have loved. This could handle my six foot, seven foot, eight foot paintings with these super easy to use. I've never had an issue. As you can see, it is well used. I plan on using this until the day I could no longer push paint along in a stained with me forever. 14. THE BIG REVEAL OF MY NEXT TUTORIAL: 'DEEPQUIET STILLNESS': So what we're going to be using reference photos from most determines I felt really nice way to start them out. Would be to action, were called Photo over 80 have already completed. It's a beautiful, misty, really landscape. There's water, there's old trees and there's a beautiful field. Mr. Trees, you want to break down. You can look at a painting that's already been created and see the brushwork and talk. Translate that to you. I'm excited to be paint this landscape with you. It's one of my favorites. 15. MATERIALS YOU WILL NEED FOR 'DEEPQUIET STILLNESS'...: So what do you want to show you? My favorite. My creative space, including my pain colors. Sahlins medium. You name it. I'm a little list. What you're gonna need for this next story if you can't get all of your still pushing around like games and this is the first tutorial. So if you plan on sticking around and joining us through this entire process, I hadn't recommend grabbing everything that I write offs materials so excited to help paint with oils. And I came in to help guide you through it step by step process to create a really misty moving imaginable. 16. A FUN LITTLE HOMEWORK PROJECT...: There's a lot to take you when you begin painting realistic. The best thing I do is I go outside When I before I paint, I just take a walk. I just looked up a cloud. It's enough for me just to recognize just how much I need to focus on the details of the natural world around us. Don't really bring it to life on campus. As we dive into a world of realism painting, you're gonna find out really quickly that you need to really head outside and study the world around you or to pick up all these little subtle hints. Includes is why everything flows so nice than our world. But often when you sit down to paint, it looks really blocking. There's not much coherence to the whole image together. I really want you to go out and just take a moment and just sit with nature. What do you need to look at the horizon and start noticing how things further away from you are lighter, and as they come closer, they get darker. That creates a depth of field in your painting. I also want you to recognize how things were reflected, how the ground is reflected in the clouds, so it's a really brown and green landscape in front of me. If you look upon those clouds, you will see hints of those colors to. I also want you recognize that all those colors that are socially with our memories are not exactly gonna work in your favor. What do you think of water? Anything. Well, actually, what was green? The sky is what's reflecting in the water that makes it you to make sure you put green underneath and really create really realistic water. There's all those little things that you can start to pick up on if you take the time and sit down and just really being present. It's a gift to yourself just to get out of your house and go enjoy the natural to begin with. Let's also give to yourself when you sit down the easel because you're gonna be able to create a more realistic field in your painting so much easier once you recognize that some just grass is green tree bark is Bruno Skies, while Dwight it's not how it works. So by taking the time to do this now what I would sit down to create realistic painting to me. It's gonna come just that much easier