Free Oil Painting Instruction and Courses

See our list of the top free online oil painting courses. Learn about what courses are available and what topics they cover to find the course that's right for you.

Free Online Course Info

Free online oil painting instruction and courses aren't usually found through public or not-for-profit schools. Students can usually find these resources on art-related websites. After completing these training materials on their own time, students won't be able to earn any college credit.

Andrew Whyte

The Oil Painting for Beginners course is taught through text and pictures. It covers topics in oil paints, pigments, canvases, varnishing, fat on lean rules, required tools, thick on thin rules and brush care. The Painting Landscapes tutorial provides training through 7 video lessons. Topics addressed include painting foregrounds and midgrounds, clouds, the sky, reflections in the water and background base tones.

Art Instruction Blog

Tutorials offered through this website are provides by various artists. The free lessons are presented through step-by-step instructions using text and pictures. The Grisaille Underpainting Technique course shows students how to use blacks and whites to help develop a painting prior to adding color. The How to Paint a Sunset in Oils Step-by-Step lesson instructs on how to establish backgrounds; sketch dark and light areas; apply and blend background colors and foreground paints; and provide touch-ups. During the Still Life Oil Painting Demonstration course, students learn about sketching figures, underpainting, painting a final form, adding detail and overpainting.


These free online tutorials present topics through step-by-step instructions with pictures and text. Offered in 2 parts, the Grand Canyon North Rim lesson covers topics in sketching, applying shadows, picture lightening, landscape painting basics, applying sunlight and use texture. The Landscape Painting lesson is separated into 13 chapters that cover sketching from nature, painting materials, trees, skies, grass, reflections and subject selection. The Wildlife Oil Painting-Tiger Eyes lesson focuses on adding detail by starting from pencil sketches. During this tutorial, students may learn how to add colors, enhance hair details, add texture and add visual depth.

Bill Martin's Guide to Oil Painting

Lessons offered by Bill Martin's Guide to Oil Painting provide insight through explanatory text and related training pictures. During this training guide, students may encounter topics in painting materials, lighting, paint thinner, blending paint, contrast, drawing and matching colors. Students can also participate in free oil painting exercises that cover color and form, distance and texture, basic forms and color value scales.

Students can expect to find step-by-step instructions and pictures when following this website's tutorials. The Flemish Technique course teaches students how to paint photorealistic pictures using oil paints. When following each stage of development, students may learn tonal drawing and painting, canvas preparation, glazing, scumbling, body color, blending and highlights. The free 10-lesson Oil Painting Techniques course teaches flat wash, blending, scumbling, gradation, dry brush, underpainting and impasto. The Painting from a Photograph tutorial provides insight on required painting materials, preparatory drawing, paint application, painting darker areas, when to use different paint brushes and utilizing negative space.

Oil Painting Techniques

A majority of the content covered on this website is provided through text. Some tutorials also provide pictures. Students can use the Oil Painting Techniques lessons to learn about glazing, portraits, tonal and color harmony, pigments, brushes, composition and aesthetics. This website also gives students insight on selling their work or selecting art classes, as well as resources to art-related websites, textbooks and magazines.

Winsor and Newton

The free online Oil Color Hints, Tips and Techniques tutorial includes reading materials and pictures that cover varnishes, brushes, surfaces, mediums, solvents and colors. The Oil Painting Techniques lessons provide information through videos that can be streamed or downloaded. These videos explain how to oil out a painting, create watercolor washes, follow oil painting rules, varnish an oil painting and create reflections.

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