Expressive Oil Painting

Check back soon to see when this course will be offered again. Click here to see a list of currently available courses.

In this oil painting tutorial, you’ll learn how to paint landscapes that capture a sense of light, depth, and movement, using expressive oil painting techniques. You’ll receive expert guidance and individualized feedback on how to create compelling oil painting compositions, establish key shapes and value references, block in the painting, and add expressive details when painting landscapes.

Whether you’re working on location or from your own reference photos, you’ll learn proven landscape painting techniques for capturing your own unique impressions of the world around you.

Course includes downloads of course textbook and video!

Start Date:

April 16, 2013



Course Materials:

Workshop Length:

4 weeks


Colin Berry (bio)

View Course Schedule


What You’ll Learn

  • Key oil painting techniques for beginners, including supplies, setup, drawing, color and composition
  • How to see and block in the main shapes of your composition
  • Proven strategies for establishing value and light effects
  • Tips for working wet-into-wet with oil
  • Editing your work on the fly
  • Creating lively oil landscapes, whether working from life or from reference
  • Essential approaches for creating complete paintings as well as oil sketches

Who should take this workshop:

  • Experienced oil painters
  • Artists who want to make their work more expressive
  • Artists who want to learn how to paint with oils
  • Artists who want to learn how to paint convincing yet lively landscapes


  • Burnt Umber
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Cadmium Yellow Lemon
  • Cadmium Yellow Deep
  • Cadmium Red Light
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Permanent Red Violet (or Alizarin Crimson)
  • Raw Sienna
  • Ultramarine Blue Deep
  • Terra Rosa
  • Titanium White
  • Transparent Oxide Red
  • Viridian
  • Yellow Ochre


  • A selection of small, medium and large brushes (see page 14 in your textbook)


  • Odorless mineral spirits
  • Painting knife
  • Pocket mirror
  • Rag


Course Syllabus:

Session 1: Essential Supplies and Techniques

  • Equipment and work habits for painting indoors and out
  • Working with shapes and values
  • Creating effective edges
  • Drawing basics

Homework Assignment: Using your textbook as a guide, complete the exercise: The Reference Object (pages 28–31), turning in your final sketch to the instructor for feedback.

Session 2: Color and Light

  • Understanding hue
  • Using value and value keys
  • Working with color
  • Painting light

Homework Assignment: Submit one oil sketch in which you use three distinct value keys in one painting as on page 45, Combining Value Keys. Use your own subject from life or a reference photo. Structure your composition so that you have clear foreground, middleground and background spaces. It’s a good idea to try some thumbnail sketches before painting. Use a low value key in the foreground, middle value key in the middleground, and light key in the background. Be sure to include a reference photo of your subject when submitting.

Session 3: Basic Approaches to Landscapes

  • Composition basics
  • Format considerations
  • 4 stages to landscape painting

Homework Assignment: This lesson uses Demonstration 6 as your inspiration, The Mother Color. Do a copy of the demonstration or find a tree to paint which has a great amount of space and atmosphere behind it to create a similar scenario. Be sure to include a reference photo of your subject.

Session 4: Creating a Sketch from Life

  • Getting comfortable working from life
  • Seeing shapes, values and edges
  • Painting wet-into-wet

Homework Assignment: Create an oil sketch either by working on location or from a reference photo that you’ve taken yourself following the principles discussed on pages 110-115 of your text. Remember to submit a reference photo of your subject.

Comments are closed.