A Beginners Guide to Oil Painting

Author: Dana McGorlick-Appelman  Date Posted:24 February 2021 

Oil paints have been the medium of choice for many artists for hundreds of years. While the medium may seem intimidating to many starting out, with various chemicals and rules that need to be factored into consideration, oil painting is actually a very relaxing and enjoyable art practice that can lead to stunning results. The slow drying nature of oils allows for a wide variety of painting techniques to be used, and offers more leeway to amend any mistakes you might make while painting. Keep reading to discover why oils remain a favourite for many phenomenal artists, what you’ll need to get started with the medium, and our top tips and tricks for creating your very own masterpiece.


The practise of oil painting dates all the way back to the 14th century when olive oil was first used as a binding agent with pigments in Italy, and parrilla oil used in Japan. It wasn’t until 1440 that Flemish artist Jan van Eyck discovered the use of Linseed Oil in painting, which was soon adopted by other European artists (such as Leonardo da Vinci). Many major iconic artworks have been created with oil, including the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer, The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali, American Gothic by Grant Wood, Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet, Whistlers Mother by James McNeil Whistler, The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, and Guernica by Pablo Picasso, to name a few.