How to Improve Your Oil Painting Skills and Create Better Artwork

When you acquire a newfound interest in painting as a therapeutic hobby, you can expect to discover numerous ways to make art, including watercolor, acrylic, and oil painting. If you’re interested in the latter, then you have to be prepared for the challenge it comes with because oil painting is tougher to master than other kinds of painting techniques. 

However, it can often be rewarding once you get the hang of it. If you’ve been tackling oil painting for a while and aren’t seeing any progress with your works, you may need to revisit the basics. Keep reading below to find out helpful oil painting tips to boost your confidence and improve your art skills.

You Should Practice Holding the Paintbrush 

A fundamental oil painting lesson you should always keep in mind is to know how to use your tools, beginning with your paintbrush. You should hang onto your brush from its end rather than near the brush’s tip to achieve optimum hold at all times. 

 While you have the freedom to explore the various grips to incorporate with your paintbrush as you create your painting, you should still keep the proper method in mind. That way, you can take control of your brush strokes because you’re using your whole arm instead of only your wrist.

You Should Perfect Your Brush Movements 

Aside from knowing how to hold your brush correctly, you must practice being familiar with every movement you can make and in all possible angles. Doing so improves your flexibility and ability to enhance your painting through various brush strokes.

The basics of oil painting include remembering to use both sides of your brush to ensure you don’t waste any drop of paint. If you’re utilizing a flat brush to complete your oil painting, you can push past the limitations and use its side to produce thin lines rather than settle for broad strokes alone. 

You Should Modify the Pressure Application

The pressure you apply on your brush when painting can significantly impact your artwork because just like how you can try out different strokes, you can also modify the texture. As much as possible, you should keep your hand light when handling the paintbrush.

Depending on the pressure involved, if you apply a heavier force, the more chances the colors will blend and form ridges on the sides of your strokes. For best results, you could consider attending oil painting classes to understand what your works will look like if you apply light, medium, and heavy pressure.

You Should Focus on Using the Painting Medium

Your oil paint, brushes, and canvas aren’t the only tools you require to create an oil painting. Painting mediums are needed to give you an easier time completing your masterpiece. It consists of a mixture of solvent and oil, which you have to use alongside your chosen paint.

The medium works by giving you the power to change how oil paint looks in various ways. If you try incorporating plenty of medium, you can expect your paint to become flat and transparent. Meanwhile, applying tiny amounts of the medium will leave your oil paint looking like it has a creamy consistency.


Working with oil painting requires patience, dedication, and passion for completing each artwork you make. While you aren’t expected to master it right away, if your goal is to get better as time goes by, it will help to keep the tips above in mind. You may also want to opt for oil painting lessons to give you better chances of getting used to oil painting, whether you wish to treat it as a hobby, therapy, or serious venture someday.

Are you looking for oil painting lessons for beginners? We are an instructional website based in the US that showcases E. John’s oil and watercolor teaching courses for those interested in learning how to master painting in different mediums. Browse through our shop to discover our DVDs for sale!

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