Painting is the earliest, most primitive and exalted form of art. When we paint, time stops and we experience the results in an instant. Then, the hours of creative energy become suspended, as if in amber, far beyond our own lifetimes.
While oil painting as a medium offers endless possibilities, it remains the least understood and most inconsistently presented to someone who wants to learn. Beginners often avoid it because they think it involves harmful solvents (not true). Even the most experienced painters have large gaps in their knowledge leading most to fend for themselves. Most in depth oil painting instruction that even touches techniques are so rooted in tradition that they inadvertently shun the exciting world of contemporary art and the role that it plays in informing technique today.
Using a recorded curriculum and live sessions, you will encounter a vibrant community of peers and events that will enrich your practice.
As Featured in the New York Review of Books
OIL PAINTING FLUENCY & FLOW Curriculum & Concentration
This 10 week painting program is designed to provide participants with a fully fleshed out experiential and intellectual understanding of oil painting through assignments, lectures and a curriculum also devoted to the unique physical characteristics of the mediums materials. In addition to a foundation in oil painting, the course addresses how to paint more freely involved with painting, its history and role in contemporary art.
I. Painting Architecture
While many existing workshops focus on what is known as an alla prima method, meaning that paintings are made in one sitting, the techniques taught here involves taking advantage of the effects that can be achieved through creating a series of layers. In Oil Painting Fluency and Flow, students are taught the different constructions involved in painting architecture. Once the foundation of the painting is established and understood by the artist, the artist becomes free to create and articulate her/vision without fear.
II. Nature and History of Materials
One of the most daunting aspects of oil painting today is not standing in front of a canvas but rather in front of the shelves in the oil painting aisle of any art store. The information about materials is either opaque, scantilly taught or riddled with misconceptions including one that involves encouraging artists to use solvents. As painting has evolved over centuries, knowledge of these materials has been built upon, passed down, adapted, and in, some cases, lost. In Oil Painting Fluency and Flow, the student will learn the history and nature of pigments and how one of the biggest myths in painting, the use of solvents, has been perpetuated. Critically, the student will be empowered with the knowledge of how to maintain a solvent free practice that is best for the painter, painting and the environment, all critical components of consideration.
III. Art History and Contemporary Art
Painting is a language with a rich history where many aesthetics built and informed the other until, around the time of the Salon de refuses in the early twentieth century, there was an important break that led to an effusion of wild new impressionistic, modern and now contemporary art. As with any language, understanding the visual principles and ideas in the canon of art will only expand the vocabulary of the painter. Deep exposure not just to the classic paintings and painters commonly known, but also to artists painting today will expand the artists sphere of what’s possible for what they can eventually do in their own art should they seek to pursue and develop their own body of work in their own voice.
IV. The Creative Process as it specifically relates to Oil Painting
The creative process is often looked upon as a mystical magical act especially when it comes to painting. There’s this notion that just by standing in front of a blank canvas with a loaded brush will inspire a muse to rush through you. But each stage of the process has its own personality and requires the summoning of a different type of courage. Participants enrolled in this program will understand what these stages are and will learn to systematically apply them in order to enhance their skill and achieve proficiency and productivity far more inspiring than merely copying photographs. Painting is a wet liquid medium that demands to be listened to as well as spoken.
Each assignment takes into mind that some students in the class are beginners and others are advanced and are therefore structured in graduating layers of complexity to accommodate the range of experience.
JOIN A COMMUNITY OF ARTISTS
What took me by surprise, once I got a few of Kimberly’s tools under my belt, was that I became consumed with a gnawing, persistent, and constant desire to paint. “I really think of painting as the remedy for living,” she told me once, and this now feels true.
It is not enough to say that Kimberly’s course merely obliterated my writer’s block – it did that. It also gave me a thrilling new space for my energies – an infinite landscape of new ways to express myself and appreciate the world.
- Cintra Wilson, Author, Culture Critic
Where will this program be taught?
This program is conducted online using step by step video tutorials with live sessions over ten weeks. You can work at your own pace over the ten weeks.
How do the Live Sessions Work?
Live sessions are held on Zoom where you will be with a group other students and the instructor will give feedback on your work. You will also be invited to fireside chats and live events with other artists.
How does the community work?
When you join, you will be invited into a community platform which comes with the class and that is where you can can privately share your work and meet fellow students.
What if I'm a beginner?
There are both beginners in this class as well as experienced painters. Among them there are art professors who take this class to backfill knowledge even they didn't get as well as how to help them paint and teach how to paint solvent free. There are also doctors, scientists, writers and people from all walks of life who make the community very rich.
What If I don’t have an art studio?
Solvent free painting means you don't need one. The first assignment is working with you to set up a space where you can paint regularly. All you need is a small table, access to a sink, easel or wall.
What if I'm unhappy with this course?
I would never want you to be unhappy. If you let me know within seven days of enrollment, you can have a full refund.
Kimberly Brooks is a contemporary artist who exhibits internationally. She is the author of the upcoming book The New Oil Painting (Chronicle Books). Her work has been featured in numerous publications ranging from The LA Times, Vanity Fair, Modern Painters, and New American Paintings and many more. Prepandemic, Brooks taught workshops at other institutions including The Anderson Ranch Art Center, and the Otis School of Art and Design where she received the Franklyn Liegel Award for Teaching Excellence. Brooks also speaks about her work and the science of creativity to museums, Tedx, and Podcasts including the National Endowment for the Arts. You can learn more about her work at www.kimberlybrooks.com.
This program exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I loved that the lectures incorporated subjects beyond the kind of tutorials one can easily find on YouTube. Brooks talks about imposter syndrome, the creative process, how to be an artist, spontaneity vs. planning, etc.--all crucial topics. The lectures also covered how to make a painting from start to finish, something that is hard to find elsewhere. I also loved how the lectures incorporated the instructor’s and other artists' work, sometimes exposing me to artists I had never seen before. The weekly live critique sessions were really beyond my expectations. I felt a real sense of community and sharing and a connection to the "real" art world which included videos shared of exhibitions, fairs, and studio visits.
-Kara C. Olympia, WA
I knew that I was signing up to learn oil painting technique, but really had no idea I would be getting so much more. Besides being a phenomenal artist, Kimberly knows how to teach! She is a warm, funny, and gregarious person who draws you in and makes you feel welcome. She has created an environment that encourages students to be so supportive of one another. I really value her critiques, suggestions, and insider tips. She has a seemingly endless supply of examples of contemporary and traditional artists in her head to draw upon at a moment's notice. The course material is presented logically and thoroughly, and is peppered with videos, studio visits, and images that lend interest and context to the lectures. The assignments are interesting and challenging. I feel so lucky to have found this course.
- Carrie Markley., Sculptor
I am returning to painting after several years of absence and I found this class to be the perfect way to jump back into the craft. Kimberly is a highly accomplished instructor and each of her lectures were engaging and full of useful information. I also appreciated the clarity and pacing of assignments and the enthusiasm of the students. There is so much more to be gained through this wonderful class that I have decided to continue at the advanced level.
- Samuelle R., Sculptor, Los Angeles
Most importantly I learned that on-line education works for painting. I was skeptical after taking years of in-person classes, and I was happy to discover that it truly works (and one could argue better than in-person for various reasons I don't have the time to itemize). Especially during the CV19 pandemic, taking this course was a blessing for me and my practice. I am an intermediate level painter. I have been focused on painting for the last 3 years. This sprung forth from a 30 plus year hiatus following a dozen years of sporadically painting in my youth.
- Eric S. Artist, Former CEO
I’ve been painting in oils for 20 years; have an MFA in painting; and am a professor teaching various 2D media–including oil painting. I was taught oil painting in undergraduate and graduate school.
Most of my oil painting education comes through personal experience with oils, oil-based mediums, and related media such as One Shot Enamels. I sought out the program by Kimberly Brooks because it’s the first time I’ve encountered anyone teaching oil painting in a virtually toxin-free way.
As a teacher/mentor, Kimberly is warm, hilarious, incisive, inclusive, and enthusiastic about her material, painting, art history, and the contemporary art world. She has influenced me to reclaim my fearlessness. Learning about the history of paint in immense detail was riveting and eye opening.
- Amy S., Michigan
As a mixed media artist I am more familiar with drawing materials and a beginner in the medium of oil paint.
Kimberly’s unique online course has been more impactful to me than any class I’ve taken in person. She makes you feel like you are right at the heart of the art world, in dialogue with both contemporary painters and the ever present old masters. Although her course is rich with technical insights, Kimberly doesn’t deliver this information in isolation of artistic and compositional considerations. Refreshingly she merges both dynamics with the engaging imagery of a storyteller.
It was easy to forget that Kimberly was practically on the opposite side of the world from me. She has a warm personality and makes you feel that you’ve been talking about art together for years. She is filled with an energy and enthusiasm for creativity that is as infectious as her enquiring mind. You’ll also be delighted by her sense of humour and with.
- Alison B., Sydney, Australia
Kimberly Brooks is both an incredible painter and painting instructor. During each class, I thoroughly enjoy her perspective, stories about her own past, and enthusiastic love of the craft.
She is so generous with her knowledge about the materials. She is able to breakdown the palettes from our favorite historical painters and easily connect the dots to create our own masterpieces.
I also really appreciate her knowledge of other contemporary artists, and the art industry at large. Through her live-streamed studio visits and own experiences, she shares insight on how to stand out in a crowded field. I feel like my knowledge about the contemporary art scene went from 0-60 throughout the course.
What I found most important was her information on safe practices and encouragement to remove toxins from oil painting. Like her, I often felt very sick after painting which made me give it up many times. By following her instructions and recommendations, I no longer use any toxic solvents and I can now spend the time needed to find my flow.
Taking her course is not just a flash-in-the-pan experience. It is joining a network of other artists both locally and globally. It makes you look at your work objectively while having the encouragement of a coach on your sidelines.
- Abbey G., Los Angeles
Painting is a language and the ultimate goal for any artists regardless of where they start is fluency and flow. Whether you’re a beginner, or an experienced artist, this program offers the most multifaceted view of oil painting, not just technique but also the world of ideas, history, creativity and what is happening in contemporary art.
Undertaking a class like this is a special experience. If you would like to talk further to see if it is right for you, I have made myself available certain times of the week to speak to prospective students and would love to hear from you.