Beginning Oil (Portfolio)

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Beginning Oil's collection of step-by-step exercises and practice projects will have you painting lovely works like the classic masters in no time.

Beginning Oil is a well-rounded introduction to the art of basic oil painting. This introductory guide to the medium describes and explains everything you'll needed to paint your own oil masterpieces, including tools and materials, color essentials and theory, design and composition, still life painting, landscape painting, painting en plein air, and more.

There's no need to be intimidated by the prospect of painting with this classic medium. In Beginning Oil, the techniques are clearly explained and beautifully illustrated on each page. You will master key concepts with ease, and then put them into practice quickly.

Dry, repetitive exercises on blank canvases are a thing of the past with Beginning Oil. Let this collection of step-by-step exercises serve as your instructor as you learn by practicing each technique within a larger work, making oil painting approachable and accessible and, most importantly, fun!

From the Publisher

Portfolio Series

Learn everything you need to know to create your own masterpieces!

Types of Lines

Spiral lines give the sense of infinity. They are graceful and feminine, while zigzag lines convey chaos.


A landscape painting is generally done on a horizontal painting surface parallel to the earth. There is a sense of peace in this type of painting, a feeling of being earthbound or tied to the elements of the earth. If you want to express a sense of calm, keep your lines horizontal. However, you can create more depth by bringing vertical and diagonal lines into your painting. Vertical lines in a landscape communicate stability, strength, spirituality, height, and grandeur. Vertical lines pull our eyes up to the sky and to places beyond the human reach.

The Sky

The sky is a popular painting subject that can be challenging because the elements are constantly changing — sometimes by the minute. Light changes. Shadows move. Sketching and painting outdoors is the best way to understand the effects of weather and the changing features of the sky.

Mood and Atmosphere

As a painter, you are the director of the scene. Planning out your ideas about mood will guide you as you work on a painting. Before you begin, ask yourself what mood you want to convey in a painting. Think about the reason that you want to paint a particular scene. If you are enthusiastic about the subject, that enthusiasm will show in your final painting.

Still Lifes

Still-life paintings can be arranged in a variety of ways. The objects can be personal, cultural, religious, or whimsical. You can even bring your own personality into a still-life painting by choosing objects that represent your favorite hobbies.


Eyes are drawn to living things. Even small figures in a painting can overpower larger masses. It’s best to plan figures in your initial composition instead of adding them as an afterthought. Placing figures in a painting can give the viewer a sense of scale of the surrounding landscape.