NEW BOOK: The New Oil Painting available for Pre-order

Preorder Now

The New Oil Painting
Your Essential Guide to
Materials and Safe Practices
By Kimberly Brooks
5 x 7 in, 208 pp, Paperback, Illustrations and Photos throughout
ISBN 978-1-4521-8479-1, $16.95

Media Contact: Diane Levinson
212.354.8840 x 248

Artist Kimberly Brooks Creates Essential Oil Painting Guide.

Oil painting has captivated artists for centuries, but too many would be painters feel hesitant to try it, daunted by complex setups or the thought of using harsh chemicals. All of that changes now. In The New Oil Painting, popular Los Angeles–based artist Kimberly Brooks walks readers through every aspect, including how to paint without solvents.

With humor, clarity and color images & illustrations, Brooks illuminates oil painting fundamentals, including which materials you actually need, how to set up your painting space, and—most revolutionary of all—how to completely eliminate harmful solvents from your practice and replace them with safer, healthier, and more environmentally friendly alternatives. Peppered with stories of history, science and her own personal experience, the book features helpful diagrams throughout illustrating various techniques and tools, plus advice on the golden rules of color mixing , how to read a paint tube, and thinking in three dimensions. This a reference manual and a survival guide friendly and encouraging handbook is the new go-to for newcomers and experienced oil painters alike.

About the Author
Kimberly Brooks is a contemporary American painter known for her work in portraiture, history and landscape. Her paintings have been exhibited and featured internationally, and the subject of several books. Brooks has spoken about her work and the science of creativity to museums, at TEDx, and for various arts and culture podcasts. As a writer, Brooks is a regular contributor to First Person Artist. Brooks teaches at Otis College of Art and Design and the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and via her acclaimed online art program. Brooks lives and works in Los Angeles.

About Chronicle Books
Founded in 1967 in San Francisco, Chronicle Books is one of the world’s most admired publishers and distributors of illustrated books, gifts, and games for all ages. Its highly acclaimed list spans art, photography, food, lifestyle, pop culture, humor, self-help, wellness, children’s books, and stationery, among other categories. Chronicle is the home of numerous award-winning authors, bestselling series, and trend-setting titles. Chronicle Books is committed to partnering with artists and writers who represent the diversity of our world and to maintaining an inclusive and equitable working environment for its employees and business partners. For more information visit

Happy New Year & A Total Eclipse

Last year for a greeting I picked an ominously dark painting. Just in case it had some kind of preternatural effect, allow me to offer this sketch for “Arrival” instead. It is from a show called Technicolor Summer, and the painting reflected, among other things, how every time I, from LA, reunited with my family from San Francisco, I would be in a sun dress and they would be in black turtlenecks, and how metaphorically it always represented two different versions of reality colliding into each other, more evident in the underpainting.

As I write this, Los Angeles is experiencing a surge upon a surge and Angelenos have the same spooky look in their eyes that the New Yorkers had in March except that we’re perhaps more weary. So much time spent alone, painting, sitting by the fire, reading, writing. I wonder if, now that mother nature has collectively sent us to our rooms, we will finally put the phone down and be more present the next time we’re together.

We’re now all Anne Dillard in her essay entitled and describing a “Total Eclipse“.

2002 Total Eclipse Animated GIF

Please read the whole thing but this is an excerpt.

I turned back to the sun. It was going. The sun was going, and the world was wrong. The grasses were wrong; they were platinum. Their every detail of stem, head, and blade shone lightless and artificially distinct as an art photographer’s platinum print. This color has never been seen on Earth. The hues were metallic; their finish was matte. The hillside was a 19th-century tinted photograph from which the tints had faded. All the people you see in the photograph, distinct and detailed as their faces look, are now dead. The sky was navy blue. My hands were silver. All the distant hills’ grasses were finespun metal which the wind laid down. I was watching a faded color print of a movie filmed in the Middle Ages; I was standing in it, by some mistake. I was standing in a movie of hillside grasses filmed in the Middle Ages. I missed my own century, the people I knew, and the real light of day….A thin ring of light marked its place. There was no sound. The eyes dried, the arteries drained, the lungs hushed. There was no world. We were the world’s dead people rotating and orbiting around and around, embedded in the planet’s crust, while the Earth rolled down. Our minds were light-years distant, forgetful of almost everything. Only an extraordinary act of will could recall to us our former, living selves and our contexts in matter and time. – Annie Dillard’s Total Eclipse, The Atlantic)

Yeah, we’re living in a faded color print of a movie filmed in the Middle Ages, all right. I remember reading about the 1918 Spanish Flu, a teensy footnote in history class. Like a total eclipse, the footnote or photograph just doesn’t do it justice.

It has been eight months. Here’s to leaving this strange year behind us. I miss each and every one of you, even the ones I don’t know and have never met. I hope you’re well and safe. We will get through this.

Here’s to a better 2021.



PRESS: Obsessed with Oil Painting: The New York Review of Books

“Julie” Oil on Linen, Cintra Wilson 2020

My Quarantine: Obsessed with Oil PaintingBy Cintra Wilson

As featured in The New York Review of Books

There are many things one may learn by being in quarantine, not including that very special ennui that makes you daydream about finding a Halliburton case full of street drugs, or getting hit with a cricket bat by someone in a gimp suit.

For the most part, I have barely noticed the California shelter-in-place order, because, thanks to my childhood friend, the artist Kimberly Brooks, I have been in a gleefully self-imposed quarantine since late last year.

My first contact with Kimberly came in high school, when I was a lowly freshman and she was a sophomore. She was the Queen Bee: the prettiest, bossiest It-Girl in several Bay Area school districts. With no formal introduction, she grabbed me by the collar of my jacket and dragged me into the girls’ restroom. 

“We need to talk about that makeup!” she hollered, in a warm, drill-sergeant way, smashing a wet paper towel into my eye-socket. I hadn’t known anything was wrong with my makeup. I had one brown eyeliner to my name. “See? This is how you do your makeup!” She backed me up against the bathroom wall, and resting her forearm on my cheek, applied liquid eyeliner behind my lash-lines.

I liked the makeover. It was a thrilling, enjoyable kind of bullying, which I later described to her dad as being “assaulted by royalty.” We have been friends ever since.

Kimberly contacted me in October of last year to love-bully me into taking a new eight-week painting class she’d developed in an online format (which turned out to be a prescient choice). I had made a few messes with a brush before, but never actually painted anything in oil that didn’t eventually turn out a gray-brown dog’s breakfast. I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it another whirl.

“I’m going to teach you everything they never tell you in art school,” she told me. 

Cintra WilsonDomestic Violence, 2019

I learned to build paintings architecturally, to think about them three-dimensionally, to start painting from the background forward, among many other things. I did my first painting in late November. It was lightyears better than any other messes I had ever made on canvas.

By the time the eight-week course was over, I was the wretch I am now: an unhinged woman vehemently obsessed with oil painting who wrestles with it like a feral person for hours every day. I had earth-moving revelations as I graduated from using makeup brushes to real sable, and switched from canvas to linen panels. My formerly adorable kitchen now looks as though Francis Bacon had assaulted a pope in it. I know things about linseed oil its own mother doesn’t know.

Deep into the wee small hours, I devour paintings online, discovering things like Russian Realism and tweeting out pictures of my two favorite subjects: birch trees and cuts of meat. I don’t know why I love them, I just do. Boxes from Jerry’s Art-O-Rama pile up on my doorstep.

After the eight-week course, I begged to be enrolled in Kimberly’s six-month bootcamp—a class in which you undergo all of the preparations necessary for an actual art show. In short, a relentless bender of what has become my drug of choice.

I’m in the middle of it now. I don’t even remember when the shelter in place order actually started.

Cintra WilsonGarden & Gun, 2020

Since I am a beginner, I try to compensate for what I lack in ten thousand actual studio hours with content I find amusing. Kimberly, who is a lavish and elegant painter with a very sultry Post-Impressionist style, is always supportive but doesn’t always entirely agree that I need to paint Mr. Spock in pearls, or Voltaire in X-Ray specs, or robots watching naked women sleeping, or roller derby scuffles in the style of Fritz Scholder. But she respects that this stuff is in me and it’s going to come out, for good or ill. (The roller derby is currently on my re-gesso pile, since it is truly hideous.)

Much to my delight, she still channels my aesthetic energies in new directions in much the same bossy way she did in high school:

“Stop painting that. Back away from it! You don’t want eyeglasses on the Indian nurse; there’s already too much going on with the lobsters and animal print. Everything will be fine. Paint something else now.”

Cintra WilsonThe Epidemic, 2020

We seem to disagree most about robots. I painted a landscape and was either going to paint a robot in it or the words “VIRGIN SUEDE” over it in an Ed Ruscha/Wayne White style, as that is what the landscape suggested to me. She recommended the text, because there’s apparently a whole movement of robot paintings I knew nothing about, and it might be tricky if I was mistaken for being affiliated with it. She looks out for us students with this kind of insider savvy.

I painted the robot in the landscape anyway. Even if she was right, my landscape needed a robot, dammit. What is art anyway, if not a form of organized defiance? Virgin Suede will be my next canvas.

Kimberly is essentially still making me wash my mascara off so she can terrorize my freshman self into having better eyes. She calls me one of her baby vampires—I’m one of several students her courses have changed into compulsive painters. All I know is: none of this mania shows any sign of abating. Even when I’m allowed to leave the house again, I’ll still be here, sharpening my fangs.

Cintra WilsonThe Loch Ness Robot, 2020


Kimberly Brooks is a contemporary artist living in Los Angeles who devoted 2019 to pouring and recording twenty five years of knowledge and practice into an extensive painting curriculum which she has been teaching to students around the world since June of last year.

EXHIBITION: Steven Zevitas Gallery

April 24 – May 31, 2020

Herman Aguirre | Michael Alvarez | Chris Ballantyne | Gina Beavers | Bradley Biancardi | Sam Bornstein | Kimberly Brooks | Anne Buckwalter | Mahari Chabwera | Genevieve Cohn | Daniel B Dias | John Dilg | Ashley Doggett | Amir H. Fallah | Kareem-Anthony Ferreira | Josias Figueirido | Matthew F Fisher | Emily Furr | Angelina Gualdoni | Kyle Hackett | Andrea Joyce Heimer | Kirk Henriques | Anthony Iacono | Alex Jackson | Alex Kanevsky | Alyssa Klauer | Laura Krifka | Talia Levitt | Eddie Martinez | Lilian Martinez | Sarah McEneaney | Ludovic Nkoth | Na’ye Perez | Nicholas Perry | Lee Piechocki | Umar Rashid | Samantha Rosenwald | Michael Royce | Maja Ruznic | Laura Sanders | Jordan Seaberry | Alexandria Smith | Jered Sprecher | Anastasiya Tarasenko | Ann Toebbe | Anna Valdez | Emma Webster | Emily Weiner | Eric Yahnker

The COVID-19 crisis has changed all of our lives in ways that we could scarcely have imagined only two months ago. The art world, which is a fragile ecosystem even in good times, has been devastated, and all of invested in its well-being are searching for viable paths forward. 

In 1994, I founded New American Paintings magazine as way to connect artists and those with a potential interest in their work. In those pre-internet days, it offered wide-spread exposure to hundreds of artists who had few options for reaching a wider public. Over the years, the publication has grown and we now count thousands of working artists as New American Paintings alumni. Many of them have gone on the receive international acclaim: Nina Akunyili Crosby, Eddie Martinez, Robin Francesca Williams and Amy Sherald, among them.

Over the past two months, we have been using the publication’s various resources to do everything we can to help support struggling artists and the galleries and other organizations that support their efforts. A month ago, we began reaching out to New American Paintings alumni with the idea of organizing a virtual exhibition of their work that would help support arts relief. The interest in being included in All Dressed Up With Nowhere to Go was overwhelming. So much so, that we ultimately curated the show to include 47 artists. Participating artists have been given the option of donating 25% of the proceeds to the New York Foundation for the Arts, or a charity of their choice; they also had the option of keeping the 25% for themselves. I am pleased to say that the included artists selected to make charitable donations.

All Dressed Up With Nowhere to Go features artists from a range of backgrounds and aesthetic viewpoints. Some, such as Sarah McEneaney and John Dilg, were first featured in New American Paintings more than twenty years ago; others are current MFA candidates at the beginning of their careers. All of them have distinct practices that are deserving of attention.

We hope that you enjoy the exhibition. From all of us at New American Paintings and Steven Zevitas Gallery, we hope that you stay safe and healthy.

Steven Zevitas
New American Paintings

PODCAST: with Erika B. Hesse

I am excited to share this episode with you because it is packed with such great content! Kimberly Brooks is a Renaissance Women who is a painter, researcher, writer, teacher and all around wonderful mind.

In this episode, we talk about David Hockney and his use of technology, the history of technology in painting, the book her father wrote “Art & Physics” and how she edited it during her teenage years. We also discuss her studio practice, work, color and how she became the founding editor of the Huffington Post Arts section.

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