The Good Oil: Solvent-free Oil Painting Techniques

When: Tues 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Dates: 1 March – 5 April 2022
Duration: 6 Online Classes
Cost: $190

Even in the 21st Century, oil colours have the highest colour concentration and light refraction of all artists’ colours. This brilliance, along with their malleable character and slow drying times, makes oil colour superior for many painting techniques where glazing, blending, or working-back is called for.

In these exciting online tutorials, I combine historical solvent-free oil painting techniques with modern mediums and approaches, to show how to create oil paintings quickly, safely, and with all the vibrancy oil colour has to offer.

With lessons from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, my online tutorials present oil painting as a fume-free, systematic process, with solvent-free clean-up. Impressionism teaches quick methods for alla prima painting, and modern mediums allow for fast glazing techniques and thin solvent-free veils of colour, all resulting in oil paintings of depth and ease.

“Huge amount of really helpful material on the exact things I needed to know – theory and practice.”
S Weston (2022)


Session 1 Finding the Good Oil
Course introduction: an overview of historic developments in oil painting, from its introduction by Jan van Eyck 600 years ago, to contemporary techniques of painters such as Callum Innes. See how borrowing from these different approaches can create a modern method that is solvent-free, stable, quick, and brilliant! Instruction on ground preparation for Session 2.

Session 2 Light and Dark
On prepared grounds, compose 2-3 underpaintings using chiaroscuro – the balance of light and dark. Through the making of this study, discuss the importance of working from dark to light, the effect of colour temperatures, the usefulness of exaggeration, and choose whether this is the beginning of a quick or prolonged painting process.

Session 3 What colours when?
To begin colouring up underpaintings, we need to understand the nature of our oil colours. Their material characteristics denote their suitability for specific techniques, i.e. glazing, scumbling, and their relative ability to “make space” in a painting. Using a few colours, begin the colouring process, with each underpainting taking a different route towards completion.

Session 4 Are we there yet?
While Titian boasted of 50 layers of paint, some commentators by the late 19th C considered 3 layers sufficient, and by the early 20th C Henri Matisse was creating wonders with hardly 1! Work on completing paintings with increased colour complexity and a deeper look at application techniques – considering the moment to stop.

Session 5 Quick Fix
Painting alla prima (all at once) requires careful planning, a critical eye, and some deft application. From the Impressionists catching the light, to Gerhard Richter catching photographs, we discuss how to set up for quick, single session painting techniques for the best painting outcome.

Session 6 Finishing
When is a painting finished? What can we do with an unsuccessful painting? What are the issues with a successful one? How can we incorporate oil paint into mixed media works? Evan has some answers! Also discuss the issue of varnishing – the types and applications, when and how.


Central Art Space, Lake Hawea 2021

Central Art Space, Lake Hawea 2021

I really enjoy teaching, "adding to the kete".

Hamming it up with Tania Lewis-Rickard to the ANZAAE Conference 2020

Working with Secondary School Art Teachers is so much fun - they just want to make!
Teaching senior high school art students

Teaching Senior High School Art Students

Some of the most rewarding work is with senior high school art students.
Developing and running the Gordon Harris Workshops

Developing and running the Gordon Harris Workshops

Developing and running the Gordon Harris Workshops gets me out into the many diverse art groups around the country, teaching a wide range of materials and techniques, from liquid acrylics to monoprinting.


Paul Nache logo

Paul Nache

Summer 2022

Hastings City Art Gallery

Hastings City Art Gallery



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