10 Tips For Better Oil Painting | Walt Reunamo | Skillshare

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10 Tips For Better Oil Painting

teacher avatar Walt Reunamo, Art Instructor

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Tip 1 - Why use acrylics?


    • 3.

      Tip 2 - The amazing oil


    • 4.

      Tip 3 - Simplest way to clean brushes


    • 5.

      Tip 4 - Unique paints


    • 6.

      Tip 5 - Knowledge


    • 7.

      Tip 6 - Synthetic


    • 8.

      Tip 7 - Oil journal


    • 9.

      Tip 8 - Simple is powerful


    • 10.

      Tip 9 - Special gesso


    • 11.

      Tip 10 - See the bigger picture


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About This Class

Welcome to the 10 Tips For Better Oil Painting course!

In this course we will go through ten interesting tips that I hope you can add to your "artist toolbox".
I will show you tips for painting methods, supplies, inspiration and more. These nuggets of wisdom is something I have learned through my years of oil painting as fine artist.

You don't need any previous knowledge of oil painting before starting this course, there is something for everyone from beginner to expert. Also there is no need for any painting supplies necessary for this course as you can choose yourself which parts of it you want to explore and try out. The choice is yours.

See you on the course!

Did you like this class? I'd appreciate it a lot if you could leave a review!  Thanks! It helps other students like yourself find me :-)
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Meet Your Teacher

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Walt Reunamo

Art Instructor


Hey everyone!

My name is Walt Reunamo and I'm a artist and art teacher living and working in Finland. I have been doing art for the past decade and taught online over 2000+ students in more than 100 countries. I have also worked as an artist in the videogames industry for 10+ years in award-winning titles.

Outside of art-related fun, I enjoy spending time with my crazy Bengal cat, experiencing the short but sweet summers of Finland, photographing, watching movies, and hitting the gym. I'm also a book junkie.. I do buy more art books than I probably should!


I would love it if you could follow me here by clicking the "Follow" button on the left.

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1. Intro: 2. Tip 1 - Why use acrylics?: Okay, So my first deepest to use using, uh, like, really extra paid under, pending on 10. Using oil base toe to paint over that first acrylic layer. So, for example, here I have ah, um A Pending that as under bidding that has been done with acrylics completely. It's on a wooden board and this same kind of bored way have ah, under painting that is done with oil pains, you're going to a pretty good under pending with acrylics. Also their speed off differences such as if you are If you want toe arrest this areas back Dwight, or back to the color off there, off the wooden board, it's big. It's easier on oil bends, so opens. You can erase them because they don't write that quickly. But I collect scrap dry quite faster. You can't arrest asi easily. You gonna beat, but not that much. But still, acrylics are really good way toe. Uh, good medium. Depend. Thank the under paintings and you can you can paint oil's over acrylics, but you can't and acrylics over oil. So, um, that's the only way to do it on. Also, one thing that is great with with acrylics is that they're much cheaper than oil paints. So if you're doing large canvases such as, uh, I have here it smarts, more cost efficient toe use acrylics depend the under painting and then went with the oils on on it on top of that. So you can save quite a bit off money on oil paints if you first start with a collection and then only after that, start using oils. So I think, on the spending. I also used acrylics on the on the first layers and then when I have the other values and values and the under pending looking good, only then I start to add oil paints. On top of that I bought, I buy the acrylics on things kind of pick tubes. So these are like, at least in Finland there are 15 euros off, but, like 15 that in dollars or something on this much oil bend would cost probably like a 50 year old $50. So it's really good wayto save some money. The yeah, the downside with acrylics is that you have to be really careful on not putting too much pain down there under on the ballot, because the acrylics will try very fast. So where oil paints, you can put on the palate and leave them overnight, even few nights, and they will still be a good toe use. You can still use them. They will not dry up. But acrylics will dry overnight for sure. Even in I think, you know, do three hours. If you put them down, there will be quite dry on the at least on the surface. So that's that can be a downside, so you have to be very careful how much you use them. But that's also a bit of a good thing. If you want toe paint large canvases quickly or the under painting you can you can do it right. Click quickly. Retract acrylics because, um, they drive so fast you can do a new layers on top off each other or so. And of course, Ah, acrylics are also water soluble, so it's pities her toe. Also apply it to the canvas because you can use water toe deal with it s oh, that's nice thing about acrylics. You don't have to use any turbine times or anything, Andi. Smelly toe diluted downer. Make it more on. Yeah, dinner. So that's a great thing about that. Critics social. Yeah. So the first day post using acrylics on the under bending face. 3. Tip 2 - The amazing oil: on by deep number two is using glove oil on oil pains. So is something that not many people know, But you can add club oil to your oil paints to make them, like, not dry as quickly. So if you if you apply, for example, I use this kind of like Solheim nature, but this is called in English. But I used this toe drop like just one drop off glove oil on my my mix off on my piles off bent. And they will last for at least be X weeks to months, even without drying up, so it really makes them last much longer. If you have, for example, you're making an oil painting that is a large one for, and you have, like a lot the colors that you're going to use already mixed and in big piles. You definitely should put some clothes a few drops off club on each pile so they will not dry up while you're painting depending for weeks or or months. So and also just remember the US very little, just the one drop one drop on a when the violence would be enough and then just make it makes it really good, and and that's it. It's a really smelly, a substance, so you probably want to have some good ventilation under on your on your room when when you apply it's or open the open. The part also. But yeah, it's a really, really good way to make that paints last longer. So so that's number deep number toe club oil. 4. Tip 3 - Simplest way to clean brushes: Okay, So my tip number three is using record regular hand soap to clean the oil painting process . So it is something that my students usually don't know or not. Everybody. So So you can use just regular hand soap toe clean the old pending process, and you don't need any kind of, um a special soaps are special, Like I mean, IRL mineral spirits are stuff like like harder stuff like that to clean the process. Also, it does clean. If you use mineral spirits, for example, it will get rid off the the bent. If it's older paint or something like has been on the press for for a while will get it more easily than than just regular soap, I think. But if you clean your process regularly, eso after every painting, which I really recommend, you should bring them like after every time they get used. Um, then just regular soap. This is enough. And to demonstrate this, I'm gonna just used to, sir oppression have a lot of paint on it. Like this on. Now we're gonna go clean it. Okay, so here I have my soak that I use for for cleaning my process and it's ah, just a regular hand shop you can buy from any store. And so I usually start leaning the brush here by putting some water on it. And then, uh, like nothing. You've done that on the soap, getting some soap on it, adding more water. If there's not enough water, we're going to start charging, then the hair of it on getting rid of the the pain. And it should come quite quickly off. The thing is that the paint is inside like the the hairs so inside there. So I'm trying to get all of that out. I also use my finger in Anniston like Okay, hair is like trying to go inside the hair like this. And then I motor using their using the brush toe get rid off the pain from the actual solve itself. So I don't want to have any sort or any paint left on the on the soap either. So, um, if you if you leave the paint on the soap, it will just pile opened. But of course, problems. Okay, get rid off all the paint from the short. Also, you can just wash their so balls on the water itself probably makes the quicker. It might also pay some paint on the handle itself, so I can't usually clean the whole process across itself. When you paint, I usually try toe. Make sure that the pain doesn't go all the way to the pharaoh. So if it ends up in the right in the barrel, it's gonna cause some problems. You you want to avoid that. And I keep pressing this kid cleaning this process until that's ah, it doesn't like no any of this coming off from it anymore. So that's when I know it's clean option. There it is of it. Process clean. Also, remember to dry it a bit afterwards, so So I don't stay. Ah, wet. Uh, so now here's the important bit after, uh, cleaning the brush. Um, make sure it's really dry. So stride on the on some piece of paper or something on, so this is important. I always leave the process after cleaning them like horizontally on the table. It would be even better to have them bit like the hair. But downwards on this is because if there's any any paint left on the on the on the Harris itself, and you leave it upwards like this, it will start going down to the feral, and it will cause problems. And then you have for us that you can use anymore because there it has tried on the pharaoh's Oh, I always leave them to dry horizontally on the table. So that's also one thing. Keep in mind if you don't for some reason, clean the process that often, never, ever, leave the process like vertically. If there's some pain left on the on the with Harrison, you haven't fleeing it, so that will for sure. Gilded. Give the Pressel Always remember toe. Clean them regularly. After painting. Keep them cleaned. The process will serve you. Long time. Andi just using the hand shops enough if you clean clean them regularly. Okay, so that's tip number three. 5. Tip 4 - Unique paints: My deep number four is using special pains for oil painting on down in order pending you are not limited toe the usual colors that you use a lot. But there's also a lot kinds of different special pains that you can use to make different effects. And, for example, here I have to what? That I've bought the barrel white on da light gold so I can show you how this, uh, look. So she's are like, you can see them. They're more like early on, um, actual tries to mimic there the feel of gold and silver. So there is kind of special change that you can use to make different kinds of effects. If you like to, for example, paint more like leave gold stuff and make a unique kind of paintings. That's different. Colors, such as thesis even use not only these two, but you can experiment with them and try to make a something unique. So that's different. Before using special types of paint in or pending 6. Tip 5 - Knowledge: Okay. My tip number five is essential art books on. I chose these art books because they are, no matter what, your style off, bathing or or genre off pending East. I think this thing, these art books would be great for any anyone, even even if you're doing like a abstract bending O. R or more like realistic bending. That's the good tips on information for ever everybody. So the first is the Alabama toe about Richard from Richard Schmidt on This is like, especially if you're a realistic realist. Bender is really must have. It's a really good book that goes through the all that, um, basically everything from the basic stuff like color harmonies. It's just values, colors failing for from life and competition. Allow this stuff you can see it goes through and does a really great job on explaining there, um explaining things that's really, really great read and also has this really great pictures, which is also this is really high quality book. So the images so you can do also if you want to go like studies from the pictures, it's really great for that. Also, um, it breaks down there, uh, the perfecter. How the bending we're done. This really might go to book if I need toe read about something like, for example, how the do inches are how to bend colors. It's really great for that. I always go back back to this book and read about it more. You can get it from their judgments. Website second book is, um, Color and Light by James Corney, and this goes through tear off that different things about color and life on explains like the sources of light, light and for elements of color, paint pigments and go relationships. And if you need to know about more about lighting and how how to use lights on the science behind how Light works on a different lighting scenarios and this is really I, I can think of any book better than this goes through so many things. It's really nice. Raid also like great. Read the images on great examples. If you paint with light a lot of colors and you want to learn more about colors and and and lighting this really the book, you want to get another one. I selected Stage one if you're starting painting, for example, and you want toe, get it, get the pending going and like getting into the habit off doing artworks regularly. This really good book to read the whole idea is the daily painting. So you would be doing like a a small bathing everyday, another big winner, but the really small ones. And that's a really great for practicing. It's been bits. Samos sir, What I really sure you are gets booking with oils. It's a pretty much the same concept that you're doing one, one small painting a day and keep learning that way right there. Then I don't large ones and not finishing spending. So this Costa through same stuff, not so deeply us as the readjustment book. But it goes through the like the basics of painting like excess and and all the mediums and and values and all that stuff and competition also. And but it goes more deeply into the in today idea, off building, small finding regularly. So there's also like some interviews in the end off other artists and how have out a work. So that's that's nice. So if this kind of spending like doing smaller blandings your thing, this is really good book for that. And these two books are more like psychology stuff. But it's really These are really great. I love this. So the The Water Off Art by Stephen Breastfeed There are spirit off Robert Henry. Um, it is really great for learning more about the what Stephen Press feel cost the resistance . It's Ah, whatever prevents you from working or like, looks you. It's like the struggle you have inside of you as an artist. So how do how the bird breakthrough that then and be like, more productive? So it is really, like small, small bits and really nice. Really? Yeah. And it goes through like, What's the difference professionals and amateurs in? That's a really, really interesting read on the other one is OcciPet from Robert Henry, and this is also, um, it's like full of, like, small dips off for oil painting and the mental like at the dude off vendor. Or you should be what you should be like thinking about off your art and on your profession . So it's really full with my steps. All right, so these were my, uh, book recommendations. There's are off course. I have turns off other art books, But I think this thes five books were the ones that I felt like Where the best for every kind of artist. So no matter what, your style isn't no, this further What? I've enjoyed a personal need to Mostow. Yeah, that's my tip Number five, our books. 7. Tip 6 - Synthetic: and my tip Number six is using synthetic process on oil painting. So I feel there's a quite a bit off stick Mumby, uh, online on using synthetic process that it they are not exclude us. Us like actual real hair brushes. And I don't think that's ah, that's so so I think, should they send a process? Are really create for multiple things? Of course not. Not for every everything but for all pending. There are really great. So the first thing, I think is that the use off synthetic process. So if you're doing anything that requires the paint toe, stay on the press for a long, long time. For example, what watercolor painting is one thing and another thing is inking, So in that case, you want to use real hair process Such a status serious. Seven. This is really great for drinking, so it all stink. Read a long time because it's ah, actual hair in oil painting. You don't really need tohave on, then the pain to stay on the pressure for a long time. So in that case, it's not that necessary. Toe have, like real hair process for that, but there's other reasons Of course, people want to use real hair process. It's they give ah, different texture done intention to dick. So they also that that versus, uh, themselves were down much faster than to interdict process. So if you use real hair like this one, it will wear down much faster when you paint, especially on rough canvas. Um, so you have to buy new process more often under, but also, they give a nice variations of the the tips and give this nice texture. Um, but, um, great thing about synthetic presences that they're much, much deeper than the actual hair process s so you can get them cheaper. And if you buy them from really good, um, maker, they will be very high quality. I really recommend the rosemary presses, Um, especially their synthetic once, and they're really good under. I think they are as good as the actual hair process. Um, but if you of course, if you bite them so that the presence from China or somewhere like, really cheap from the store, the cheapest one you can you can find Andi. They are probably not not not. That's high quality, and I'm not that good, but just buy them from good, good, like a maker, and you'll be fine. And there I've noticed that they are much easier to clean, so the pain comes off like much quicker than on the actual hair on there. If you if you happen, toe end up like having the paint in the federal or near the federal on on the actual hair process you. It's really hard to get them over from there, so it will ruin the process from synthetics. It's a bit easier, but the Asia Tokyo and keep them clean on off course. The the process also are good for an environment are better because they are using not using any any animal hair. So that's a nice thing. Also, Um, that's that's one thing I used them for because not many any animals involved in making them. So until that's, uh, that the number six using synthetic process 8. Tip 7 - Oil journal: on pick number 17 painting with oil paints on sketchbook so you can go sketch booking with oil pens also is something that I haven't seen that much, but you can definitely do it. So here I have my just normal sketchbook that I will tell you for drawing. Not this one, but other ones. So and, uh, here I have some old paintings. I do small sketches and studies on base, and even if when the paper is quite thin in this start off it pretty well make it a bit wavy. But not that much. You can no off course by like actual Um for example, what? Their coloring sketchbook, and that would that would like Holder. And even better. This is fine for me for forgetting purposes. First draw the under trolling, Then I a mask it with tape and then put a transfer and gentle on it. And then, um, the painting on Don't put that this begging paper the cover of the pending. So So then what? All Bent doesn't staked out there. Other page my new clothes. So this I think really great radio practice. All pending doing this. The studies on a sketchbook you save a lot of money by not having the bite. Expensive cannabis. That's much so, And it's a nice way to keep track of your painting center. Your progress and having this thing is kind of like, um, unified way to paint. Let's say that. So you're bending the same with the same kind off steps every time, Get you this nice flow. You can do a picture once also, like here it's on really a ribbon master study A lot of those studies. One thing that you know this after you're done. Um, for the oil paintings on this kind of sketchbook is that, uh, it's It will start getting really think like that when you close it so that it will take quite a bit of space. And you're Rembrandt or imprints. Study some years, accidentally bandit over the masking baker. Fine. These are some some of the ones I haven't painted yet. But drawing on there just so on the double has been done already. Yes, I have multiple once that I need to still do. But, um, this one is the other way around. It's for the no spending course I'm doing currently on social but that's about it. Um, so you can see this paintings. They got quite a bit quite a bit of space. It's a really great way the practice and study oil. Anything. So that's my dick. Number seven, Um, sketch booking with oils. 9. Tip 8 - Simple is powerful: my dick. Number eight is using limited palettes for oil painting. So using limited palettes great. Especially if you are just starting out oil painting on your probably quite overwhelmed, overwhelmed with different colors. And, uh, um, all kinds of that they can a child the paint eso to make everything easier for you. Uh, you probably want to start with just using, like a monochrome or just black and white toe paint. So you learn how to paint values correctly. And from that you will movinto more limited color palettes, for example, here that this has been painted with just four colors so that this is disorders or in ballot that I have to sort of. But of course, if you are not already seeing that co, please check it out. It's has really good reviews, and people seem to enjoy it. So there are with the child oh, us there, this sort of balance on your Web endings and then, um, one. By that, that or ballot are color that you can use annoyed bending. It's just a monochrome, for example, this under painting that's from my under bending course. It's done with just the one color so it doesn't even have do colors like this one. This is black and white, and this has just a transparent oxide red on the light parts have been done by scrubbing off the the oil pan from the service. So, Andi, this would be probably actually first so you could start with this one and then move into the black and white and then from from that today, short about it. And the storm palette has four colors. Nastya, Titanium, white, ivory Black Got me a red or very 1,000,000 on yellow Ogre. And this this was to start I, Daniel White and and Ivory Black. So yeah, that's our my tick. If you're starting out, it's really good to use this kind of limited, limited palettes toe paint and to learn 10. Tip 9 - Special gesso: a tick. Number nine is using transparent chest. So for making the crown for oil paintings. So there's some normal just those that most people he was when they happily chest, although there But they're kind of us is our panels on its this just a normal oil painting official or a collector? So, um, for prime ing. But there's also, um, trans burn chest so that, um, well, it's simple. It's just more transparent. One version off, the just So So that's different brands. Of course, I used this one. This has lasted for quite a long time for me, and I use it, for example, this in this like I mentioned thes sketchbook paintings. So, for example, here, um, you can see I have here I have applied just over that destroy. So it wants much at all when I at the old paint on top. So it's well grounded on that on on this other bitch. Actually, I have ah, um, sending drawing on. But on this one, I have there the regular check. So on top of it, and you can see it's will against. Still, see, it's only one layer. You can still see that um, the drawing underneath it, but it's not as visible as the the transparent one. So if you really want to see that rolling drawing through you its predator, use that transparent one. One good thing I think with the normal one is if you like it if you get whiter. Um, why their background for your painting? So if you paid like a transparent colors, they will look more bright on there. There regular chess. Oh, but it off course depends on the color color off your papers. If you have really white paper thin, the transparent when it's just us Good. Yeah, that's Ah, my deep are using transparent so 11. Tip 10 - See the bigger picture: and the tick number thing is using a long handle process on oil paintings. So here I have Ah, one of my long handle. Precious. Um, that I I have used quite a quite a bit on dumbed I think this is Ah, 24 inch brush. So 24 inches long, um so quite a bit off longer than like a regular size brush, for example. Still make a comparison And these are really great for if you want toe spend from like standing off are so usually when I only meant I want to go like in a long distance and to see where I put my pain So these are really great for it And you can you can you can use them from really far away so you can see the whole pending while you will, you put the paint on And, uh, this has been This is not off some new new invention. It has been used for long, long times of old masters. Eustice also, um, they are a bit more expensive than the regular ones, but not that much. And of course, you don't need toe fight them. I don't think so often So, um, really great for spending, especially this, like more loose paintings where you I don't have to paint small details that much. It's great. But if you if you're more into our fading, for example, um, like, really realistic very or something that you need a lot of focus on detail on, that's probably not that good just then, but for bigger and our bad things that you need to bend in Loser more low style. It's really great, Great just to use on down. Um, it's also a nice sung. Get some variation to them, hold painting process. So that's my tip number nine using the long handled process. And also this is from Rosemary like the rest of my process. So I really recommend this Theis rosemary process. They are really good.