Walter Gabrielson Painter

An Oil Painting Tutorial

Welcome to my blog!

My purpose is to pass on painful lessons I have learned in forty years of representational oil painting.  Arttalk is cheap and art credibility is more poverty-stricken so let me lay out some bonafides:  I have taught painting, drawing, color and design and printmaking at a California State University for fifteen years, I was once a printer of lithographs at the Tamarind workshop in LA, working with some major American painters.  I have been on my own now for some twenty years with forty or so one-person and group shows, sales of paintings across the country, many reviews and medium fame.  Better to judge for yourself, go to my site at and take a look.


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In the image making dodge one basically has three choices, (1) To paint an image in a representational manner  which is variations on realism, or to (2) create an image which is non-objective or abstract, using fundamental design elements as shapes, lines etc., or (3) something in the middle of the former two concepts which might be abstractions which have a “reality” about them .  My experience has been with all three possibilities, but I have through time gone from abstraction to representational.  Everyone will make their choices in this matter and all are valid.  I am going to focus primarily on how to make a representational painting because that is what I know best and feel the most strongly about. I also think it is the most difficult to master.



This kind of painting requires skills.  Mostly elementary drawing, but a good understanding of color and composition also.  They are all learnable.  It is like music, first you have to learn to play an instrument before you can make music.  If you can draw already, fine.  If you can’t , start now!  It is not impossible but it is the price tag entering

This incredibly rich territory.  You have the entire world of reality as your basic source, and you can modify this reality however you desire to create interpretations and to concoct STORIES!!  Yes, each painting is a small story.  I call them short short stories.


Well, are you ready?

Lesson 1 - The Idea, Coming Up With an Idea,

Lesson 2 - What About Stories?

Lesson 3 - Giving form to an idea