Discover the Best Oil Painting Classes in Chicago
Oil painting is done with oil paints, which are made of powdered pigments and drying oil. The first uses of oil colors can be traced back to the 7th century CE to a cave in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. It wasn’t until the 11th century that Europeans began painting with oil colors, and not until the 15th century that easel painting with oil colors was popularized. This technique is now highly respected within the fine arts. This is not only because oil paints produce such beautiful artworks, but because some of the most famous painters in the world–like Leonardo da Vinci and Peter Paul Rubens–worked with oil paints.
Drying oil is added to powder pigments as a binder, creating oil paint. The type of oil that is used will affect the color of the paint, so if you decide to start oil painting, be prepared to experiment. Oil paints are thicker and heavier than other mediums, like watercolor, so they take a long time to dry. The slow-drying process, however, allows painters time to fix mistakes and add to their paintings while the paint is still wet.
Traditional oil paints require the use of solvents to both thin the paint and clean your brushes. Be sure to read up on using oil paints safely or take a class where an expert instructor can inform you about oil paints and walk you through using solvents safely.
Why You Should Learn Oil Painting in Chicago
Oil painting can be picked up by anyone, regardless of their painting experience level. Although oil paints appear intimidating, they’re considered an easier medium than others by painters. The slow drying time of oil paints makes it an ideal medium if you’re prone to mistakes.
The slow drying time of oil paints makes oil painting an exercise in patience. When oil painting, you need to build up layers upon layers of color. This will require a great deal of patience and time from you. These repeated actions can help improve your attention to detail and ability to focus as well.
Painting is commonly used as a means of regulating the emotions of adults and children. Painting as a therapeutic activity has been shown to alleviate stress, depression, and anxiety. It also boosts confidence and self-esteem. Painting requires you to use your imagination and explore your creativity. When this results in finished artwork, it can cause you to feel proud of yourself and accomplished.
Oil painting is highly respected by artists. The medium has acquired a prestigious character thanks to the famous pieces that were created using oil paints, like Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Working toward making an oil painting can be highly rewarding when you consider the masterpieces oil paints have been used to create in the past. Whether you’re dabbling in oil painting as a hobby or if you’re seriously pursuing a project in the hopes of displaying or selling it, you’ll end up creating a work of art that has the potential to last hundreds of years.
In-Person Oil Painting Classes & Schools in Chicago
There are in-person oil painting classes offered in and around the Chicago area that you can sign up for today. Expert instructors will lead you through the basics of oil painting and starting a piece in beginner-level classes. If you have experience using oil paints or have worked your way through beginner-level classes, you can sign up for an intermediate or advanced-level class that will expand on oil painting techniques. These classes are a great way to get hands-on experience using oil paints and socialize while doing so.
The Chicago Botanic Garden, located in Glencoe, offers an introduction to composition and color in nature. In their class, Capturing the Colors of Summer, you’ll have the option of creating small paintings using oil paints, gouache, acrylics, or watercolors.
The Evanston Art Center in Evanston, Illinois offers several oil painting classes. If you’re new to oil painting, you might be interested in signing up for their introductory oil painting class. An instructor will guide you through the basics of oil painting, including color theory, mixing, using multiple mediums, and application techniques. New students will be following along with the course syllabus while returning students work on individual projects. This class requires you to bring an 18” x 24” piece of drawing paper and charcoal to the first class.
If you’re interested in portraitures, sign up for Painting the Portrait in Oils. Over the course of five weeks, you’ll be trained in concepts that are integral to painting portraits using oil paints. Your instructor will spend time explaining anatomy, structure, paint handling, and more.
The Evanston Art Center also hosts a mixed-experience class, The Night Watch: Painting with Oils. Beginner-level students will learn oil painting basics. There will be an emphasis on learning the composition and properties of paint. Intermediate and advanced-level painters will receive assignments focused on challenging techniques, like glazing, layering, and using palette knives.
Virtual Oil Painting Classes & Schools
In-person oil painting classes allow you to gain hands-on experience under the close guidance of an instructor. However, these classes may not be available in your area, or the commute might not fit your schedule. Luckily, there are virtual oil painting classes that you can take instead. Virtual oil painting classes are taught remotely and are focused on painting techniques for a variety of skill levels.
Pastimes for a Lifetime’s class, Online Oil Pastel 101, will provide you with a basic understanding of using oil paints, color theory, and color mixing. Because this is an online class, you’ll need to procure the materials on the supply list provided by the instructor before your class.
Intermediate oil painters are welcome to sign up for the Richmond Art Center’s class, Abstract Painting, where they’ll work on an original abstract painting. Instruction for this class is also available in Spanish.
If you’re struggling with ideas for your painting, join the Evanston Art Center’s oil painting discussion and critique class. You’ll be able to share your ideas, concerns, and works in progress with your instructor and fellow artists.
Private Group Oil Painting Classes in Chicago
Are you interested in scheduling a private oil painting class as a team-building activity for your business or organization? CourseHorse has private group oil painting classes that they can deliver to you.
You can contact CourseHorse through the contact form on their website to learn about the oil painting classes they can offer your group. You’ll be able to discuss group size, customization options, and the project that will be worked on during the class. If you’re unsure of the size of the group you’ll be booking for, CourseHorse will allow you to book using the minimum group size and update your headcount later.
CourseHorse also offers acrylic and watercolor group classes that you can ask them about booking as well. CourseHorse does not charge booking fees and allows free cancellations up to two weeks before your class. It’s recommended that you take their classes using Zoom, however, they can also accommodate WebEx, Google Meets, and Microsoft Teams.