Oil Painting Brushes Online

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Art Lesson 6, Part 2

Find out all you need to know about Oil Painting Brushes

Learn how to paint like the Old Masters!

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Oil Painting Brushes for Beginners

Well, let’s recap. Which brushes are better and should be chosen?

For some artists, Sable brushes might feel too soft, so they stick to rigid Hog Bristles. Others, on contrary, like to paint with soft accurate movements, smoothing the paint on the surface – for them Sable brushes are the best choice. With time, you will feel the difference between different kinds of brushes and form your own personal preferences.

But for now I advise you to acquire the following starter set of brushes:

Sable: for glazing
Shapes: Round and/or Flat and/or Filbert
Size: 00, 4, 8, 12
Bear in mind that sizes could vary from brand to brand; number 8 of one brand could be a completely different size in another brand.

Mongoose: can duplicate the Sable brush set. They are more or less interchangeable.

Hog: rigid irreplaceable brushes for all kinds of works.
Size: 00, 4, 8, 12
And also these are priming brushes – which should be used exclusively for priming. Label them and keep them apart from painting brushes.

Synthetic: are soft brushes, they work as a cheaper alternative to Sable and Mongoose.
Size: 00, 4, 8, 12

Buy and keep your Varnishing brushes separate from the ones that you use to paint. Patentpolish lip pencil french kiss. For Varnishing, you need a Flat or Long Flat wide synthetic brush like these ones. You can even go for a wider brush like this one.

The logic behind choosing sizes is simple – you need the smallest possible brush for details; the biggest brush to work freely, blocking in large spaces on medium size canvas; and one or two sizes between the smallest and biggest brush.

Do not buy too many brushes under emotion; wait till you decide what brushes are better for you. You will naturally start collecting one brush after another, according to your preferences.

I have, at my disposal, a bunch of outstanding quality brushes I usually use for glazing, for finishing layers of painting; for flash and portraits.

I mostly use Mongoose brushes; Sables are too soft for my touch. These are my Bristle Brushes which I generally use for Underpainting and in methods that require the intensive work of a rigid brush – for Scumbling and Dry-Brush methods. Soft hair brushes cannot handle these methods. And finally, Synthetic brushes. I like to keep my best and favourite brushes for important work and I choose Synthetic for all unimportant odd jobs and exercises. They are disposable and, as you see, I have quite a lot of them. But honestly, no one needs so many brushes, they just sit in boxes for years.

How to clean your Brushes

If you paint on an everyday basis, there is no need to clean the brushes after each painting session. It’s enough to gently wipe off any excess paint from the brush with a piece of cloth; clean it in Linseed Oil until there’s no trace of any paint coming out; and immerse it into Linseed or Sunflower Oil till the next session. Brushes should lay in Oil, flat in a horizontal position, to avoid damaging brush bristles. Never store your brushes vertically in Oil or in any solvent. Before your next painting session, just wipe off the oil from the brush and it’s ready to be used.

When your brushes have been set aside for a long time, you should clean them properly. To do so, you can use Solvents or hand soap, but there are downsides to using them – solvents make Brush hair brittle, but soap can’t wash out the paint from the brush hair, and paint can gradually build-up in the ferrule, which can misshapen the Brush quite soon.

However, there is a special cleaner that can cope with such problems. I’ve been using it for the last two years and must admit it has a big advantage over solvents and soap. It is “The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver”. It completely removes not only fresh, but also hardened oil paint from the brush. From any brush – whether it is the finest Sable brush or Hog bristle brush, or synthetic brush. This cleaner helps prevent paint build-up in the ferrule and substantially extends the life of your brushes. It’s very simple to use: after you remove excess paint from the brush, wet it with water; swirl it in the cleaner and work it into a lather, then rinse the brush with clean water and repeat the process until the lather becomes white. Gently shape the brush head with your fingers and leave them to dry horizontally. When your brushes are dry, you can store them vertically, head-side-up.

Fan Brushes For Oil Painting

Old Masters Academy Online Course
Self-study, self-paced online video course
Lifetime membership
One-time payment: $487
Correspondence Course + Online Course
Personal 1-2-1 tutoring from the Academy teachers
Lifetime membership
One-time payment: $997

Oil painting is an art form that has been around for centuries. But you don’t need to be Monet or Degas to be able to use oil paints!

Luckily for you, oil painting is a skill that anyone can learn and these are some of the best online oil painting courses in 2021 to help you get started.

The following courses will teach you a whole range of painting techniques and methods. You’ll learn how to blend colors like a master, paint stunning landscapes, and create a still life worthy of any museum!


Top 11 FREE Best Online Oil Painting Courses & Classes 2021

1. Introduction to Oil Painting (Skillshare)

Up first on my list and an outstanding beginner-friendly course that would also be useful to any artist who wants to learn more about oil paints. Interior designer and abstract artist, Ashleigh Smith, will teach you the fundamentals of oil painting so you can start off on the right foot.

You will also learn about the oil paints that Ashleigh recommends from experience as well as the best paintbrushes to use for oil painting. Other topics covered include: Using the palette knife and getting different textures with it, what supplies you’ll need, and how to mix paint and add texture and layers.

There are 11 lessons and an hour and 15 minutes of course material in total, so it’s a great introduction to oil painting, and you’ll be motivated to keep learning.

Being hosted on Skillshare, students get access to this course and much other painting related courses for free when taking advantage of their 2-month trial!


  • Popular course! 1,064 students
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Accessible for free with the Skillshare 2-month free trial

2. Guide to Non-Toxic Oil Painting Methods (Skillshare)

This is another great oil painting course designed for beginners. In just 9 lessons that will take 55 minutes to work through you will learn valuable oil painting techniques that will allow you to grow as an artist.

Visual artist and educator, Adele Mcfarlane, covers topics such as the different oil paint types, how to prepare a painting surface, and how to set up a beginner color palette. Her course focuses on oil painting without the use of toxic paint thinners.

Students will also learn the best techniques for painting with water-soluble oil paints and for traditional oil paints, as well as how to clean up after using them. You will get to do a painting assignment at the end of the course and that will let you try out all of the new skills you have discovered!

Again, being hosted on Skillshare, users can try this course and 24,000+ others for free on their 2-month free trial!


  • Popular course: 1,137 students
  • Simple painting assignment that can be completed with either water-soluble oils or traditional oils
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Accessible for free with the Skillshare 2-month free trial
  • Uses all non-toxic materials

3. Demystifying Oil Painting: Up Your Portrait Game in 1 Hour! (Skillshare)

This course is geared towards intermediate students who already have some painting skills, but want to get better at painting portraits using oil paint. By the end of the course, you will attempt a 1-hour self-portrait, just like a real pro!

Flat Brushes For Oil Painting

In 7 quick lessons, painter and illustrator, Jia Sung, will help you increase your portrait painting game. She covers the basics of oil paint and the materials and methods you will need to use to create a successful portrait.

She also teaches you how painting from life will make you better at painting from photo reference and at using color more effectively.


  • Very low time commitment
  • Popular! 2,424 students
  • Intermediate level
  • Specific focus: portrait painting

4. Getting Started With Oil Paints (CreativeLive)

This CreativeLive course is taught by award-winning illustrator, Mary Jane Begin. Not only will she teach you the basics of oil painting, but she will also include several demonstrations that break down the process into simple steps. Follow along with her demos and watch as your technique improves before your eyes.

Core modules in this class will explain the different types of oil paints and how they work as well as which brushes and papers to use with those paints. You will then learn how to make simple marks and shapes to familiarize yourself with the medium and the low down on solvents, varnishes

She gives you the low down on color, solvents, varnishes, and palette knives. Throughout the course there are demos on topics like preparing a canvas for oil paints, creating thick impasto oil paint textures, and mixed media oil painting.

This course is one of the best online oil painting courses if you want to be guided through the process of creating an oil painting from start to finish! You can see my full CreativeLive review here for more details.


  • Bonus material: discount for Blick art supplies
  • Extensive content: 2h 44m, 13 lessons
  • Popular! 3,000 students
  • Great all-around course

5. Developing an Eye for Landscape Composition (Udemy)

Correctly composing a landscape can really make or break your painting. And professional artist and fine arts educator, Jill Poyerd, has just the course to help you make sure your landscape composition is on point. In this Udemy course, you’ll learn how to paint an eye-catching landscape that is true to reality.

Some of the supplies that are recommended for this course are a digital camera/smartphone, a printer, a pencil, 2 colored writing instruments, a black pen, and several sheets of blank paper. A computer photo editing tool could also come in handy.

Using the above supplies, Jill will teach you how to capture and break down your desired landscape into broad planes. You’ll learn how to identify the focal point in a landscape scene and determine how the lines in a landscape will lead the eye.

She walks you through the whole process from start to finish and clues you into some common Dos and Don’ts of landscape composition design. If you do mess up, which is highly likely while you are learning, Jill will show you how to reconstruct a troubled composition to increase success!


  • Very high 4.8-star rating
  • Extensive course content: 41 lectures, 3h44m
  • Specific focus: landscape composition
  • Course completion certificate
  • Lifetime access to course materials

6. Online Painting Course (Virtual Art Academy)

The virtual art academy courses are a great resource for painters. You get to choose which difficulty level classes you would like to take and which medium you want to work in! Options for mediums are oil painting, water-soluble oils, acrylic painting, watercolor, and more.

If you are new to oil painting then you’ll want to take the introductory class for beginners. A more experienced painter can choose to take the apprentice pro program. Either way, you will systematically learn to paint one step at a time, and see your paintings steadily improve.

This is a highly comprehensive option and it will take a serious time commitment to work through this course. There are over 190 online painting lessons that are broken down into 16 workshops, and that includes 350 focused assignments.

Overall, this is the best online oil painting courses for the committed artist who has the time and willpower to improve their skills!


  • With the painting lessons from Virtual Art Academy, you will be able to paint any subject in any medium, using any style you choose
  • Extensive course content
  • Suitable for different skill levels from beginner to advanced

7. The Traveling Artist: Introduction to Oil Painting (Skillshare)

Have you ever envisioned yourself standing on some remote beach in front of an easel, painting a serene seascape as accordion music plays in the background? Well, we can’t guarantee that will happen but we can guarantee that this course will teach you how to use oil paints to paint a landscape.

In just 9 brief lessons that total 33 minutes of instructional material, artist and traveler, Robyn Whale, will share her oil painting expertise. This course is for intermediate learners who already have some painting skills and are looking to refine their oil painting techniques.


This course focuses on painting from life and the instructor covers topics like the materials and supplies you will need; life drawing for oil painting; breaking in the canvas; mark-making in detail; selective painting; glazing; and correcting mistakes.

The course project is to paint an oil painting that is inspired by a landscape or a seascape. Soon your home will be filled with masterpieces of your own creation!


  • Popular! 1,022 students
  • Intermediate level
  • Comes with supplemental resources: how to clean your brushes guide, list of raw materials and supplies
  • Specific focus: landscape painting

8. How to Paint From Beginner to Master (Udemy)

Professional artist and illustrator Joseph Patric Daniels is here to share his oil painting knowledge with you. His course consists of 21 informative video lectures and 4 hours of course material that includes lots of step by step demos and examples. It’s perfect for the visual learner!

This course has a strong focus on color and how to use color in oil painting. Some of the topics covered are how to mix a 10 value greyscale; shading and how to make a gradient in every value with paint; and how to use color charts to mix any color imaginable.

Joseph will also touch on portrait painting and teach you how to combine colors to get the perfect flesh tone. You’ll learn how you should complete and varnish an oil painting and how to best light and photograph the subject that you want to paint.


This is the best online oil painting course if you want to learn how to create colors that are true to reality in your paintings!


  • High 4.6-star rating
  • Very popular course: 4,614 students
  • Strongly focused on color

9. Jerry Sartarama: Free Art Lessons – Oil Painting (Jerry Sartarama)

This is one of the best options on this list simply due to the fact that it is completely free! Some other pros are that it’s for all levels from budding artist to expert and you will get access to lectures and demonstrations by professional artists.

On the Jerry Sartarama website, you’ll find free video tutorials that vary in length depending on the topic. And there are A LOT of topics! Some tutorials cover specific techniques like color mixing; blocking; drawing shapes; and bringing attention to focal points.

Other techniques covered are painting upside down; painting with palette knives; darkening and lightening bright colors; and proportions for portrait painting. You can also learn how to paint specific objects or effects that might be tricky to figure out on your own.

For example, you can watch videos on how to paint clouds, fabric, liquid in a glass, sun rays, sunsets, ocean waves and many more. One tutorial even teaches you how to sign an oil painting so you can get that final flourish just right!


  • Suited to all levels
  • Free!
  • Self-paced learning and no fixed time commitment

10. Oil Painting Master Series (Udemy)

This Udemy course is best suited to students who already have some art supplies and some painting experience. The materials you will need are bristle brushes, oil paints, a palette, a canvas, a masonite panel, oil medium (solvent), painting knives, rags, and gesso (optional).

That may seem like a lot, but those are items that you will want to collect anyways if you are serious about pursuing oil painting. In this course you will learn the useful skill of stretching your own canvas. Once you do that, you will definitely feel like a real artist!

After you stretch your canvas you will get to learn other important skills like applying gesso, preparing a panel, and preparing a palette. Then the instructor will teach you about brushes; blending oil paint on the canvas; underpainting; and indirect and direct painting.

He will also teach you how to paint cloth and clouds and how to do a portrait study from life. Additionally, you will learn how to paint Alla Prima; how to paint a still life using a painting knife, and how to paint in the impressionist style.

This course will really take your oil painting skills up a notch! And it’s one of the best online oil painting courses for the intermediate-advanced learner.

Oil Painting Brushes Sizes


  • High 4.1-star rating
  • Popular! 2,568 students
  • Extensive course content: 19 lectures, 3h17m
  • Comes with 17 downloadable resources
  • Course completion certificate

11. Beginning Oil Painting: A Simple Approach for Rapid Success (Udemy)

Before even putting a brush to canvas there are a lot of things you can do to contribute to the success of your painting. Things like figuring out what paint colors and tools you’ll need; how to care for your brushes; and how to prepare your canvas. This Udemy course will teach you all of that and more!

You’ll learn how to gather reference for your painting, both photographically and by direct observation, and how to compose your reference to make your painting interesting. And this is also one of the best online oil painting courses to take if you want to be able to accurately and repeatably mix color.

You’ll cover crucial topics such as mixing primary and secondary colors; complementary colors; mixing black, brown, and grey; and saturating and de-saturating color. This course includes a lot of great assignments that will give you the chance to practice your technique and apply your skills to the canvas!

Best Brushes For Oil Painting


Oil Painting Brushes Online India

  • High 4.8-star rating!
  • Course includes resources: a lesson on how to photograph your paintings for use on the web or in print; a copy of my e-book, “My Approach to Painting the
  • Landscape in Oils”
  • For all levels especially beginner painters or painters who want to get more comfortable with oil paint
  • Course completion certificate