Oil Painting I: Basic Techniques and Fundamentals

Instructor: Craig Berry
Tuesdays 1-4pm
10 weeks: January 15 to March 19
Room 306 Williams Building
$360 supplies extra
Prerequisite: none

This class focuses on the basics necessary for getting started in oil painting. It will cover such topics as materials/supports, setting up the palette, basic colour theory and colour mixing, and the various approaches to starting and bringing a painting to finish. Safety and misconceptions around oils will be discussed. Students will learn different starting approaches to oil painting from transferring a drawing, dry brush drawing and the wipe out method. We will discuss indirect vs direct painting methods and glazing and scumbling applications for finishing techniques  This workshop should give students all of the practical information they need in order to feel comfortable using oil paints as their medium.


  • Introduction
  • Oil painting materials discussion
  • Safety and misconceptions around oil painting
  • Mixing neutral values
  • Drybrush drawing
  • Transferring a drawing to canvas
  • Wipeout technique
  • Painting with neutral values
  • Open Grisaille vs closed Grisaille
  • Studies and planning a painting
  • Introduction to Munsell colour theory
  • Setting up a palette (open vs closed)
  • Student project: still life, master copy or painting from reference
  • Glazing/scumbling techniques for finish
  • Class critique

Note: This outline is subject to change based on class dynamics.


In the first class we will discuss the materials required for subsequent classes. The following is needed for the first class:

  • Ivory Black, Titanium White and Burnt Umber (Williamsburg or Gamblin preferred)
  • 11x14” canvas board/panel (smooth, don't get one with too much texture)
  • Palette knife (long with a round end not a teardrop)
  • Masking tape
  • Paper towels
  • A wood palette for mixing or you can use throw away palette sheets
  • Small container of Gamsol
  • Notebook and pen