I don’t know about you, but I love watching Youtube videos. There are so many great artists out there, putting up videos for free and helping you and I to learn how to paint, or simply to enjoy watching them paint.
There are also some channels that are not so great. I personally don’t like videos that spend the first ten minutes talking about what they had for breakfast, or walking endlessly in search of a spot to paint. I like it when they get straight to the action. Perhaps I am just impatient, but I just want to see someone painting and teaching me something I didn’t know before. I want to get better, faster, as Chris Fornataro says.
Talking of which, he is the first on my list of six. This list is by no means the end of the story, but I want to introduce you to each one of them because they are my go-to favourite channels. Perhaps I can help you to home in on what I think are the best of the best. They are in no particular order – all of them are good! Some paint in oils, some in gouache, some en plein air, and some are helpful in whatever medium you work in. I hope you find them useful.
Click on their names to go to their YouTube channels.
Fast talking oil painter Chris Fornataro covers a multitude of techniques and ideas in these information packed videos. If you want to learn the basics of oil painting then you couldn’t do better than to start here.
I first came across Ian Roberts when I bought his book Mastering Composition about 7 or 8 years ago. Then last year I found his YouTube channel and immediately subscribed. His insights about composition and structure, tone and colour are so very helpful, and he uploads a video about once a week. These has helped me to rethink the way I paint. He is very easy to listen to and watch, and there is no waffle!
If you like watching people paint en plein air, then Michael Chamberlain is really worth a go. He lives near San Francisco and often paints the coastline or cityscapes in oils, and he is just easy to watch. You learn without realising you are learning. At times he does throw in a short section of surfing or eating burritos, but his videos are usually pithy and to the point. He makes me want to get the plein air kit and head outside!
Lena Rivo paints gorgeous gouache, acrylic and oil paintings, sometimes en plein air and sometimes in the studio. Usually there is no commentary, but I just like watching her paint and I love the end product. She is just very good at what she does.
If you have not yet come across James Gurney, then where have you been? He is the master of plein air gouache and casein painting. His videos are entertaining, informative and he is a master of the sketchbook. He can paint anything and make it look great – even the dullest of scenes become stunning in his hands. Look out for his creative opening title sequences!
This one is just for the fun of it. Philip Mould is an art dealer in London and a presenter on the TV programme Fake or Fortune where they find out if unknown paintings are in fact masterpieces. During lockdown he started to produce a series of YouTube videos about the paintings he has in his house, which may sound dull until you see them and hear his explanations about how they came to be painted and the stories behind them. He understands great art. He understands the why’s and how’s and who’s of painting. A joy to watch, to marvel at, and to be inspired by some of the great artists of the past. Delightful and charming. Relax, sit back and enjoy.
Please use the comments box here to let us know who are your favourite art YouTubers.
And finally, I have my own YouTube channel. Maybe not as grand as some of these others, but I’d love you to subscribe to it and see what I’m up to!