Join the waitlist to receive an email when a spot becomes available.

Inside the Mindset and Materials of Oil Painting: The Fundamentals

This course will both dig deep into materials and develop the mindset for how to approach oil paints. You’ll cut out hours of trial and error and create a foundation for developing your own artistic practice.

Instructor: Calvin Lai
Fine Art Painters
For Stage(s):
Beginner, Aspiring, Emerging
Medium: Oil

Not sure what stage you are? Visit our How It Works page for details.

Starts on Thursday, June 1, 2023
June 1 | June 8 | June 15
3 sessions, 4 hrs each, weekly
3:00pm – 7:00pm MT


Note: Price in $USD

Out of stock

    Course Description

    Even for the best of artists, oil paints are intimidating. Understanding the mystery of the medium lies in acquiring knowledge and experience. Gain both of these elements in this course designed to help explain the fundamentals of oils. Through these sessions, you will learn the basics—from materials to how to think like a painter.

    Oil painting is one of the most expressive mediums, but in order to gain control and express the way you want to, you need to know your materials. This course will cover paints, thinners, mediums, when to use them, the importance of surfaces, brushes, and palette knives, thick over thin, and a multitude of other aspects that are particular to this finicky medium.

    Along with information regarding the materials, you will also be exposed to how to think like a painter, how to build a painting from general to specific details, and ideas on how to develop your own style.

    The course’s three sessions are laid out as follows:

    Session 1: monochromatic portrait (9”x12”)
    Session 2 & 3: full-color portrait in two parts (12”x16”)

    The course instructor will provide the reference photos for this course.

    Supply List

    The main paint colors we’ll work with:

    • titanium white
    • cad. yellow mediumyellow ochre
    • cad. red light
    • alizarin crimson
    • ultramarine blue
    • cerulean blue (hue)
    • burnt umber

    Optional colors:

    • burnt sienna
    • naples yellow light
    • tera rosa
    • sap green
    • pthalo green

    Everyone has their own preferred palette. If you have colors similar to those I’ve listed, they will work to a certain degree. If you can, get the same colors I use as it will help with matching the pigments we mix. In general, if you have a darker and a lighter shade of yellow, red, and blue, a white, and a brown, you can recreate various colors.

    I mix my own black, which is why pthalo green is optional, but you can also buy ivory black if you prefer. The other optional colors I listed assist with various skin tones. These are optional because paints can get expensive and if you’re just starting out, a limited palette will at least get you going.


    • I mainly use flat brushes… but this is also very individual. If you already have brushes then I would say use those that you’re comfortable with, but if you want to use what I’m using, below is the bare minimum for what I suggest.
    • Also note that you should not use your acrylic brushes to paint with oils.
    • synthetic hair flat – size 2, 4, 6, 8
    • natural bristle flat – size 4, 6, 8, 10
    • foam brush – 2″, 3″ (these foam brushes are an
    • affordable alternative to larger brushes. If you can get
    • larger size brushes I would recommend it)
    • … and if you can just get more brushes than what I’ve listed I would also recommend that. The more brushes you have helps.


    • Palette knives: just a couple for mixing paint
    • Palette
    • Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits or Turpenoid
    • Walnut oil or linseed oil
    • Many jars
    • Rags or paper towels
    • Murphy’s Oil Soap (for cleaning the brushes after)
    • 1 stretched canvas or wood panel 9″x12″ (first session)
    • 1 stretched canvas or wood panel 12″x16″ (second and third session)
    Instructor Bio

    I collect moments. If you look through my collection you’ll see paintings of people I’ve met, places I’ve been, and things I’ve seen. Because of my background in classical realism, it is important for me to paint these moments realistically. But solely painting realism feels incomplete, and I find that it can become a bit too academic. It’s not only about the visual recreation that is my intention in oil painting. I want to make my audience feel they are walking down a rainy street, climbing up a sun drenched hill, or sitting in front of a beautiful figure.

    I want a viewer to feel the moments I collect.

    In my work, I find myself breaking free from traditional ways of painting and incorporating much more expressive means. I place highly developed detail next to looser, almost abstract, areas. I’m fascinated with how to combine near photographic rendering alongside the roughness of the palette knife, or the randomness of a loaded brush. This combination of realism and Impressionism techniques creates a natural tension in my paintings, as well as directs where I want the eye to travel. Even my choice of composition and subject matter are influenced by this part of me. I find that I create compositions outside of conventional rules and gravitate towards subjects that do not necessarily follow a standard of beauty. There is a bit of provocation in this, as I play off of the traditional ways art should be, but there is also an invitation to see what else beauty entails.

    Artwork by Michaela Hoppe
    Artwork by Michaela Hoppe
    Artwork by Michaela Hoppe
    Artwork by Michaela Hoppe
    Artwork by Michaela Hoppe
    Artwork by Michaela Hoppe

    FREE eBook!

    19 Master Artists share what they wish they knew when they were getting started!


    You've been added to the list! Please add to your contacts so that you don't miss our emails.