The following list of resources is for anyone interested in learning to paint at a college level without paying expensive tuition. It’s also the third post in my series on getting an art education for free. (Here are the first and second.)
Many of these painting resources cover the same general topics, but each one handles them in their own way. I think that one of the best things about painting is that there are many “right” ways to do it, and the links below offer a wide range of perspectives on what those right ways are.
Free books on painting
These first four books on painting are all freely available online. Some may contain copyrighted images (which won’t be displayed) but the text is all there. If you’re looking for an inexpensive “textbook” on painting, start here.
1. Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kandinsky.
2. Landscape Painting by Birge Harrison.
3. Lectures on Landscape by John Ruskin.
4. The Practice of Oil Painting by Solomon J. Solomon.
Other “how to paint” books for under $11
While not free, each of the following books can be purchased very cheaply, either online or in used bookstores.
1. Hawthorne On Painting collected by Mrs. Charles W. Hawthorne.
2. Oil Painting Techniques and Materials by Harold Speed.
3. Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting by John F. Carlson.
Articles on painting from around the web
These articles offer a more contemporary perspective on painting, and all of them are freely available online – just follow the links.
1. Stages of a Glazed Oil Portrait by Bruce Skillicorn.
2. Why Classical and Contemporary Paintings Look So Different by Gamblin.
3. Oil Painting Techniques and Palettes by Gamblin.
4. The full archive of Gamblin Studio Notes
5. Short articles on several painting topics by Ralph Larmann.
6. Paint Some Life Into Your Skin Tones by Dani Jones (digital painting).
Podcasts about paintings
These podcasts allow you to listen in on art discussions amongst museum curators and art historians.
1. Podcasts from the Art Renewal Center – artists and paintings discussed.
2. Philadelphia Museum of Art – several podcasts on current and past exhibitions.
3. The Art Institute of Chicago – audio and video podcasts on a variety of topics.
Painting videos and demonstrations
You can also get a feel for the methods and process of painting with these videos:
1. Dave the Painting Guy – watch David Darrow paint.
2. The Getty Museum’s Video Gallery – several short videos on a variety of topics.
Famous painters and their work
Studying great painters from the past is a good idea too. Start with these three painters or search Google for more.
1. John Singer Sargent Gallery
2. Vincent van Gogh Gallery
3. Rembrandt Gallery
Additional painting resources
The internet is full of blogs that offer painting tutorials and insight on a regular basis. Here are two that I know of:
1. Empty Easel’s own treasury of painting tutorials
If there’s something you’d like to add, let us know.
To suggest a painting resource that should be included in this post, please submit it via EmptyEasel’s contact form. We’ll add as many as we can.
And make sure to check back in a month for my next list of resources, or sign up for EmptyEasel’s free newsletter to get notified when it’s published.
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