Finding out what substrate to paint on can be daunting, but with some knowledge, any artist can make informed choices. Photo by Piper Talladay

Oil painting surfaces are one of the biggest questions asked by students.

There are so many different types of surfaces we can paint on, from canvas to glass. Because of the wide variety of materials available, it can be difficult to know if the surface you’ve chosen is a suitable and lasting oil painting surface.

Oil painting done directly onto most surfaces will eventually rot the surface, so it is essential to prime your oil painting surface before you begin. Primer protects the substrate, whether canvas, board, wood, an illustration board, from the corrosive effects of oil paint.

But if…

There are so many different art supplies out there, but for beginning artists, there are only 5 important things you need to have! Photo by Natalie Runyon

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the huge variety of oil painting art supplies found at art supply stores.

A beginner artist might wonder which colors to start with and how many tubes of paint to buy? What kind of brushes do they need to buy? Do they need linseed oil? And what about canvas?

There are really only five basic art supplies you need to start painting. So keep ready to learn what art supplies a new artist needs in order to start oil painting!

It is simple, but important, to care for your synthetic oil painting brushes. Photo by Natalie Runyon

Knowing how to clean oil paint brushes is an important lesson to learn early on as an artist. Brushes are our tools used to create paintings, and it is both cost-effective and in our painting’s best interests to care for them well!

Unless you clean oil paint brushes often and properly, paint can easily accumulate and dry near the base of the brush near the ferrule causing damage to the bristles. If your brush stays dirty and is damaged you’ll end up with an imprecise tool to paint with.

By properly caring for your tools as an artist and knowing…

Choosing the right paintbrush is an important part of learning how to paint. Photo by Natalie Runyon.

As any beginner artist knows, choosing the right paintbrush can be tricky. With hundreds of styles and sizes, finding the right brush for your painting can be confusing and even frustrating.

Do you need a bigger brush? A softer brush? Is it about personal preference or should you be using a specific brush for a specific technique?

Utilizing the right size and style tool for the area where you are painting is an important choice.

While good tools don’t make good paintings, the right tools can help you to do better work.

Fortunately, there are a few easy things to…

You can make a living creating paintings that you love! Credit: Art Academy graduate Kathleen Fritz.

Most artists dream of being able to support themselves with their artwork, but it often seems impossible. When we think of a successful artist who lives off of their work, we think of big names in bigger galleries with even bigger price tags. For an artist looking to simply start making an income off of their work, the prospect of selling art can seem intimidating and impossible.

But the reality of selling art is quite different from what you might think.

Most successful artists aren’t selling paintings to museums or sitting in the top galleries in the world. In fact…

A master copy of the painting “Still Life with a Late Ming Ginger Jar” by Willem Kalf, painted by Evolve student Jan M.

Long before he became a master of illustration and portraiture, Evolve Founder and artist Kevin Murphy spent his childhood and teenage years copying a painting from one artist or another. Fantasy and bodybuilding magazines were ripped up and reimagined to make original artwork.

This experience of borrowing from other artists was an important education. Eventually, a fascination with other artists’ work led to a remarkable career in illustration. However, none of this could have come about if copying painting from another artist had not inspired his own, original work.

Copying a painting is a powerful learning tool for beginning artists…

Having a hard time being efficient and productive as an artist? Combat this with these three tips to boost your artistic efficiency. Credit: Evolve Artist

Making quality art can take time, but have you ever found yourself wishing you could finish paintings, get more done, and become overall more productive in your artistic process?

Some artists may challenge the idea that efficiency has a place in the creative world. However, artists who wish to sell work regularly understand the need for productivity in their studio.

Whether in finishing a painting, starting a painting, or creating a better workflow, productivity has a place in art. There are three key principles to becoming a more productive artist. …

If you’re considering going to school for art, this article is for you…

Is art school the right choice for you? Read on to find out! Credit: Muhammad Raufan Yusup

Many students ask us, “Is going to art school or college worth the cost?”.

Receiving a higher education has become a normal route in the path to achieving a desired career. We go to university or college to gain an education and to enrich our lives. But we also go in order to get a job that will make us a living.

So is art school worth it for creatives?

Statistically, art schools across the world have a fairly abysmal success rate, with only about 10% of…

There’s a lot of choices…make sure you choose what’s right for you!

Cups of linseed oil and alkyd lined up at the Hillsborough Art Academy. Credit: Evolve Artist

Maybe you just recently started oil painting, or you have been at it for a while, but you have most likely heard teachers or other artists talk about oil painting mediums. And no, we don’t mean the Medium article you’re reading now!

A medium is a vehicle that’s used to thin the paint and change the drying process. Different types of mediums impart different qualities, some dry paint quicker some make it stay wet longer.

All oil paint has some form of medium in it already. Oil binds…

Let’s be honest. Painting fruit gets boring after a while…

Still life composition by Evolve student Sheila J.

Still life painting has been a popular artistic venture for centuries. However, when it comes to creating a successful composition, many beginner artists fall flat or run out of options.

Along with painting skills, artists must have an understanding of visual balance to create an appealing still life composition.

Visual balance and composition refer to the structure of a still life, from color and value to the path the viewer’s eye takes as they look at the painting.

Painting a still life from direct observation is a vastly important skill…

Evolve Artist

Teaching art students how to get the technical skills they need to become working artists. Learn more at

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