I was recently given a set of oil paints, very nice, clean, work well and creamy. The only other paints I use are watercolors and the two mediums are like night and day. I'm loving the buttery feel of the oils though...think I'm in love. :P


Anywho....I was wondering if anyone had tips or suggestions or book recommendations for learning how to paint with oils. I've used oil paints two other times in a Bob Ross class but that's about it. I'm not big into the impressionistic style, more towards realism but anything at this point would be greatly appreciated.


Oh and if you have any tips on how to clean the brushes, that would be fantabulously helpful. I'm used to my little watercolor brushes that require nada for cleaning. I sat over the sink for a good solid ten minutes yesterday with paint thinner, hot water and soap and my brushes still weren't clean. I know oil paints take several days to dry but I also don't want to get lax about cleaning them and ruin my brushes.


Thank you so much!

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Hi Aubrey,


Learning to paint with oils sounds like fun!  I don't use oils myself so I don't have any firsthand tips to share, but I know an excellent oil painter who has a detailed how-to website for how to paint with oils: http://www.easy-oil-painting-techniques.org


He works in the "Classical Realist style of the Old Flemish masters" - but it's not as scary as it sounds!  He has some free art lessons on his site that may be useful.  He also has a section where he answers visitor questions: http://www.easy-oil-painting-techniques.org/oil-painting-techniques...


Hope that helps and Happy Painting! :)

Hi Aubrey,

I'm new to oil but have found that you can clean brushes with turpentine, odorless turpentine.  If you wanted to go greener, I would suggest Pink soap or Murphy's oil soap.  Also, you don't need to clean your brushes everyday.  I've heard and tried dipping them in a little vegetable oil and cleaning off a bit with a towel.  The oil won't dry very fast and the extra veggie oil keeps brushes conditioned.  Just clean them off before using.


Thanks for the tip on the veggie oil Denise. I'm going to have try that one.

As for cleaning the brushes, I have a large coffee can that I keep about halfway filled with odorless paint thinner and a metal mesh tray on the bottom that you can buy at craft or art supply stores that sell painting supplies. I clean my brushes while I am painting by running the brush across the mesh (not too hard obviously). It works pretty well, but if I want to reuse the brush while I am painting, I find it necessary to wipe the brush with paper towels to remove the paint and paint thinner better.


Phthalo blue and green are the worst to clean. I love using oil paint, but it can be messy. I often say that nothing is truly mine until it has a smudge of paint on it.

I love using Oil paint but i agree it can be messy, I think every item of clothing I own has oil paint on. 

I mix Linseed oil with the paint as a thinner - it also gives a subtle glossy finish to the paint.

If you swipe your brushes back and forth..like in a painting motion, while cleaning, it will help draw the paint out. Continue this until you see no more paint comming out and the rinse water is clear. i did this after a short painting session with relular oil paint...I only used a bar of Ivory soap and hot water.

As far as instructional dvd's go, my fave is Gregg Kreutz's The Art Of Still Life Painting. The techniques he applies here can be used for any genre. It's an inspiring oil painting lesson.

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