From the Ground Up: A Process-Based Approach to Oil Painting

A successful painting is not about the end product – it’s about the process. A deliberate, thoughtful approach that balances planning with experimental curiosity puts the focus on how you are painting, rather than what you are painting. Paradoxically, by putting your focus on a thoughtful process rather than the outcome, the end product tends to be more successful.

In this immersive oil painting workshop, you will build a painting from the ground up. Steps in the process will include value studies, considerations for canvas preparations, underpainting, colour pre-mixing, first pass, and second pass. You will learn about oil painting supplies and materials, how to paint an imprimatura, the importance of dedication to the process rather than the outcome, creating a convincing sense of volume and form through paint application and colour temperature relationships, and colour mixing techniques – all with a modified direct painting (alla prima) approach. The style of painting will be representational but not photo-realistic, allowing for a painterly feel. You will learn how to follow the reference as a guide more than an ideal.

A full materials list is provided for both full course purchases, or single lesson purchases.

Lesson Previews

nicole sleeth
Play Video

Introduction To The Course

Welcome to From the Ground Up!  Please note that while the video can be watched for free, this lesson includes a full materials list available with the purchase of any single lesson, or the full course.

online oil painting course
Play Video

Learn how to start your oil painting with a strong foundation by transferring your drawing.

nicole sleeth painting materials
Play Video

Important considerations for your oil painting materials.

what is an imprimatura
Play Video

This timelapsed imprimatura video, fully narrated, explains how to build a solid underpainting.

nicole sleeth atelier
Play Video

All about colour theory!  Learn how to assess colour, how to see temperature, and create a sense of colour harmony in your work.

how to mix colour for paint
Play Video

Learn how how to accurately match colour while pre-mixing your palette.

oil painting lesson first pass
Play Video

Time to start the first pass!  This lesson walks you through first pass considerations while building on your preparatory work.

value hierarchy and colour temperature
Play Video

Learn the secret to making skin tones realistic and creating a stronger sense of form.

oil painting lessons the second pass
Play Video

Learn how to move away from the reference and complete your oil painting in the second pass stage.

What You'll Learn

Purchase "From the Ground Up: A Process-Based Approach to Oil Painting" Course