Acrylic Painting Made Easy with Joe A. Oakes

We’ll start with discussions on valuable art principles and move on to demonstrations of important painting techniques. Any painting style and subject matter can be used for this approach. Learn all of this in a fun, relaxed environment that will help experienced artists grow and beginners be inspired. Oil and pastel painters also welcome.

Thursdays, January 17–February 7, 5:30 p.m.–8 p.m.

Second session added! Thursdays, February 21–March 14, 5:30 p.m.–8 p.m.

4-class session: $144 (RAM Individual Members and above $129.60)


This Supplies List is NOT mandatory. The materials listed here are what I use and are just a starting point. Although it’s helpful in the explanation and demonstration of techniques when everyone is using the same supplies, you are welcome to bring and use any supplies you already have.

Reference material: Students should have several printed images of scenes to use as reference. Depending on the format of the class or workshop, a variety of subject matter is acceptable. Images should have been taken by the student, but other images cut from magazines, newspapers, etc., are also acceptable. It is recommended that you do not use images only available on a phone or images of paintings by other artists. A sketchbook with drawings from your images would also be helpful.

Paint: I use a palette of eight colors: Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Hansa yellow Light, Red Rose Deep, Alizarin Crimson Permanent, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Teal, Payne’s Gray, and Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide (for underpainting). There are several brands to choose from: Holbein, Da Vinci, M. Graham, Sennelier, Etc. If you use student grade or inexpensive brands, you just won’t be happy with the results. Also, these inexpensive brands do not have the same pigment load as professional brands. Additionally, if you have already established a color palette for yourself, feel free to use those colors.

Brushes: A wide selection of brushes can be found locally and online in all price ranges. If you are new to painting and/or are trying to keep costs down, I suggest Princeton Snap! Or Robert Simmons – Simply Simmons brushes. I mostly use the Princeton brand and recommend only long handle brushes! You’ll want to get one of each: #10 or #12 natural bristle flat or bright, #6 natural bristle filbert, #6 synthetic round brush, #4 Synthetic round brush, and #2 liner.

Additional items:

  • Freezer paper or 9”x12” pad of palette paper
  • Tabletop easel
  • Stretched canvas – 11”x14” for 1-day workshop, 16”x20” or larger for classes.
  • Water misting bottle
  • Palette knife
  • Water container, preferably plastic
  • Vine charcoal
  • Paper towels

About Joe A. Oakes


“Each painting is an emotional response to color... real or imagined but always felt.”

All of us, in varying degrees, have become blind to the colors of our world. The mind dictates the color of things without true observation. Giving those colors back to each of us through painting is my goal.

Taking the time to see the least obvious colors in everything is the start. Then I make those colors bigger, bolder, and brighter so they become the star. That is the spark needed to awaken our desire to know color better and enjoy it in our everyday lives.


Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1964, Joe A. Oakes was raised in the city’s surrounding suburbs. However, it wasn’t until the artist moved to Southern California in 1992 that he found the mountain scenes he had been painting since childhood.

Oakes’s need to create grew with the encouragement and support received from family, teachers, and peers. He experimented with media such as oil, acrylic, pastel, and colored pencil, but his favorite was just a simple pencil and pad of paper. Winning school awards and accolades became common during these school years. His first college experience in 1985 was a short-lived attempt at an accelerated commercial art degree program. Oakes entered college again in 1992 and completed his education, receiving a BFA from CSU Fullerton in 1997.

Settling into a career and home, and starting a family, just didn’t leave much time for drawing or painting. But in his mind, he knew one day he would fulfill his dream of being an artist. In 2009, changes to both his personal and professional life created an opportunity to work toward that dream. He began creating small paintings, in pastel at first then moving to acrylics and oils.

In 2010, an opportunity to teach painting at the local senior center presented itself. This was the catalyst that not only improved his artwork but met an unknown desire. The desire was to share something he loves and to inspire others to paint and create. Oakes has not looked back and has received numerous awards and recognition for his art. He continues to teach and exhibit throughout California and the southwest.

Selected Awards

2016 Honorable Mention – Juried Small Works of Art Show, Brandon Gallery, Fallbrook, CA

2012 Second Place – Judged Show, The Arts Colony, Corona, CA

2011 Distinguished Artist Award – City of La Quinta, La Quinta, CA

2011 Honorable Mention – Juried Exhibition, National Orange Show, San Bernardino, CA

2011 Honorable Mention – Juried Show, Fallbrook Art Center, Fallbrook, CA

2011 Finalist – Richeson 75 Landscape Competition & Exhibit, Kimberly, WI

2009 President's Award – Group Exhibition, Corona Art Association, Corona, CA 

2007 Honorable Mention – Online Competition, USPA, Orange County, CA