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Oil Painting Fluency & Flow is a comprehensive workshop for new artists wanting to begin from the very beginning as well as experienced artists wanting to transform their practice away from solvents.

There is no shortcut to becoming a good, let alone a great painter. Instead, there are painting miles that you earn with each stroke of a brush, taking you on the journey to accessing the most creative part of yourself. 

The most common myths that prevent people from starting are that a) they need "talent", b) they need solvents and c) they need to learn in person. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Program Includes

Solvent Free Checklist-
Ideal Materials Review

Walk in an art store with confidence so you only get the minimum that you need to start a green fumeless painting practice. Learn about supplies that are not found in art stores which will also transform your practice.

Too many even experienced painters believe that harmful solvents are necessary which they’re not. Knowing about the materiality and magic of pigments and oils will make you a better artist.

Painting Architecture

Paintings are built layer by layer. A loose underpainting provides the backdrop for the often brighter and more detailed layers to come, similar to a polaroid developing, but immensely better.

Learn about the interplay between modern and contemporary approaches when it comes to building a painting.

Think in 3 Dimensions

Painting is not about creating lines and filling in the colors. Different approaches to building images will expand your fluency and vocabulary of image construction and translation.

Whether a portrait, a landscape or an abstract work, creating a sense of space on a two dimensional surface requires a different kind of thinking.

Nothing is Off Limits

Different painting eras and mediums offer insight and inspiration. While oil painting is a focal point of the instruction, pigments are the same regardless of medium and separating works of art exclusively to the binder that holds them together is fundamentally ridiculous.

Art is art. And we learn and draw inspiration from all cultures, time periods and all mediums.


Meeting with other artists regularly to check on progress and watch each other grow is transformational. We have a private forum where artists post their works in progress. Countless collaborations, friendships and bonds have been formed in this intimate space.

Artists in the program also receive invitations to private studio visits and live Zoom presentations with artists making waves in the art scene now with Q & As about their work and journeys as artists.

Work at Your Own Pace

If you choose focus on a particular assignment longer than one month, that is what this program is built for. If you want to speed right through it, then after the first twelve weeks you will also have access to the Advanced Painting Program which normally requires an application. You will work with a small cohort of painters and grow together through portraiture, landscape and more

"From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves."

  • Matisse as a young law student recovering from appendicitis and holding paints for the first time.

About Kimberly Brooks

Kimberly Brooks is a contemporary artist who exhibits internationally. She is the author of the best-selling book The New Oil Painting. For years Brooks taught at traditional in-person institutions The Anderson Ranch Art Center, and the Otis School of Art and Design until the pandemic. She seized on the moment to expand her instruction outside of her immediate geography by putting her much sought after curriculum online. She is also host of FirstPersonArtist.com . You can learn more about her and her work at her website


Enrollment Information

What You'll Learn

image of student work

The Anatomy of a


The first month starts with an overview of painting solvent free, intro to layering and a modified grisaille so that artists understand the anatomy of a shadow and can master creating form with light and dark. There is an in-depth overview of materials and how to paint solvent free in addition to both historical and contemporary layering methods.

The curriculum includes recorded interviews with other artists, private studio visits, and are always being added. All students are welcome to attend the live sessions which are optional but they occur 3x month on Zoom and they are able to ask questions and present their progress.

Glazing and Layering

Most people are taught to glaze using varnish, which is derived from resin crystals need solvents to dissolve them. But this is unnecessary when you can paint solvent free.

The second and third months have assignments involving glazing and a drapery and still life. Images are provided and sometimes students set up their own as demonstrated on the left. Many students used to take this class multiple times until the subscription model was created. 

image of student work

Building and Growing

After the first twelve weeks, the artist gains access to the Advanced Painting Curriculum which covers portraiture, landscape, tableau and abstraction. Become even more fluent with color, technique and creating art that is imaginative and less about direct copying of images. Through a series of assignments in graduating layers of complexity in subject matter and palette -- are designed to grow you as an artist.

If you are already an experienced painter and wish to apply, you can do so here.

Course requirements

  • a wall and nearby table
  • ability to purchase basic or needed art supplies
  • Access to a computer, iPad or cell phone if attending live sessions
  • If you are unhappy with your purchase you can have a total refund within seven days.
  • Acrylic painters also welcome

Student Spotlight: Abbey Golden

When I met Abbey at Otis in the spring of 2019 she was working as a graphic designer wanting to get back into painting. She also wanted to learn how to paint with oil solvent-free. My instruction focuses on that and developing a deep awareness of movements within contemporary art and develop each artist’s voice. Abbey took Oil Painting Fluency and Flow multiple times, and then the Masterclass: Build A Body of Work where so many of these works were created. 

A huge congratulation on her first solo exhibition "The Golden Age of Fluidity" which is now featured on the Artsy with Lauren Powell Projects.

Abbey's Testimonial

"Kimberly Brooks is an incredible painter and instructor...She breaks down the palettes from our favorite historical painters and easily connect the dots to create our own masterpieces.Through her live-streamed studio visits and own experiences, she shares insight on how to stand out in a crowded field. 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….

Studying with Brooks 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."

More Testimonials

-Kara C. Olympia, WA

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.

Carrie M., Sculptor, MI

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.

Allison Michaela, Australia

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.

Astrid C. New York, NY

I came into the class after vowing to never paint in oil again because of my chronic migraines. I had just finished an uninspired commission, and was exhausted, dispirited, and sick with COVID (it turned out). After 25 years of oil painting I felt creatively spent. I was telling all this to a painter friend who asked offhandedly “do use a lot of solvents?” (I used OMS like a water colorist). She suggested the book The New Oil Painting. I read it in one sitting and then saw that you gave workshops.

The lectures and live sessions have been transformative and reinvigorates my passion for art-making. Your unique voice in teaching, and your approach to working with the materials gives me permission to explore with a kind of knowledge that was previously hidden to me. I feel as though I’m in some kind of hidden alchemical mystery school.

This is, hands down, the most informative program I’ve taken in oil painting. The amount of material covered in the lectures is incredible generous as is the time you give to each student in the live sessions and in your office hours. I watch the lectures on color and painting architecture over and over. Other classes I’ve taken are more geared toward plein air painting or the business side of art, which is fine but not where I’m at.

"Learning to See"

A defining moment of my childhood was reading the classic book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”. It taught me how to draw by teaching me how to see. Objects became lines instead of what the mind’s logic was telling me. After reading it I couldn’t stop drawing.  

This class is the equivalent for the elusive art of oil painting. I learned to “see” paintings. To see in forms instead of just lines. To see in three dimensions. To see in layers. Most importantly, I began to see my own potential as a painter if I continued the journey. That is something money can rarely buy.

  • Anne H. LA

This program is absolutely amazing, like a very strong foundation that you can build your wildest oil painting practice on. It is everything you wanted to know about oil painting but were afraid to ask, um varnishing anyone, glazing? Kimberly generously shares all the knowledge she built over the years, so you don’t have to spend years making mistakes to gain it. Surfaces, materials, brushes, tips on how to build up a painting, history of pigments - all covered. Interviews with working contemporary artists are inspiring and energizing, it makes “being an artist” very tangible and real. Plus live sessions with critiques - just love it.

It is really puzzling that the fundamental pillars of oil painting are no longer taught well. I don’t know if I had been very unlucky but a number of painting courses I took in college taught me very little. I’ve had a couple of books on oil painting but none of them addressed safety at all, which led me to painting in my bedroom with jar of turpentine open for days - I slept breathing it in! Never again.

Lenna F., OR

Laura P., NY

“The more you have going on the more you will learn about the civilization that exists within you” - KB. 

I now rely less on copying my source material and more on working out larger paintings with smaller maquettes.  Also, working on several paintings at the same time is crucial to allowing one’s creativity to flow. 

Kimberly’s lessons on the architecture of a painting have forever changed the way I work, think about and view works of art.  I have been painting 8-10 years and from this class I have learned so much practical information that I can actually use.  My experience of NYC art schools is really that you are on your own to figure things out.

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Get the best-selling companion to this workshop by Kimberly Brooks born from all the handouts she delivered to students over many years.

The New Oil Painting

“This is no ordinary how-to-paint book. Instead, artist Brooks assumes readers have mastered the rudiments of the art and focuses on the composition of materials required for painting, such as solvents like turpentine (which, in her opinion, are to be avoided) as well as everything else comprising the paint environment.” Starred Booklist review.

Regularly in the top 10 best-selling books for oil painting on Amazon