10 painting tips for beginners

Here are some tips I've used to improve my painting skills.

My painting titled 'Chaining Day' Oil on canvas

My painting titled 'Chaining Day' Oil on canvas

I’ve been professionally painting for three years now. Before dabbling in oil paints, I was only ever experienced with acrylic paints in secondary school and thus credited myself with little painting ability, at best. It wasn’t until I took the following steps myself that my love for oil paints positively prevailed.


  1. Your subject should be something which resonates with you; if you paint with passion, you will paint well.
  2. Experiment with various painting mediums such as acrylics, oils, gouache and watercolours. Then pick one medium to master in order to progress efficiently.
  3. Research your chosen medium before delving into the deep end. Watch YouTube videos, read art books, find blogs on the essentials, ask artists on social media for their preferred materials and brands and never be afraid to ask them for tips or advice. Remember that most of us began with very little knowledge ourselves.
  4. Find a large, clear area to work in — be it on the floor or kitchen table. All your materials need to be out in view and easily accessible until your piece is finished.
  5. Invest in high quality brushes as the cheap brush heads will only shed their hairs as you are painting, breaking your concentration and leading to unnecessary frustration.
  6. Get into the habit of cleaning your brushes after every session. Don’t be lazy with this part, you will only regret it later! Particularly when it comes to oil painting — always clean your brushes with turps when you’ve finished for the day.
  7. Paint in YOUR own style. This will be unique to you as an individual and will imprint your work with authenticity.
  8. Post your work on social media, sharing as often as possible. Works in progress are often favoured over completed work, so be sure to include them. Instagram is the best place to post your artwork for further motivation from encouraging comments. Don’t forget to add the correct hashtags pertaining to your work.
  9. Work at your own pace and don’t get caught up in internet hype. Follower counts are not a reflection of your artistic worth. Let your work speak for itself.
  10. Practice, practice, practice. It’s the only way to improve. It may well take years for you to see any improvement (as is the case with most professional artists) and others will probably notice it before you do, but I promise you that it will all be worth it in the end.

If you wish to ask any painting questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me on any of my socials @rhymesandoils. I’d be more than happy to help! Please tag me in any work you’ve created after digesting these tips, I would love to see what you’ve created.

(This blog is also available on Medium)