Observe nature, shapes, and color temperatures (warm and cool), and read books about oil painting. Although I don't think I've found any that contained everything about oil painting, all of them have a little bit of truth.
Thank you so much for responding and the advise! I think I have successfully painted an apple in class. It was quite an experience and I never thought I would be so exhilarated by painting fruit. But I am understanding how oils work in layers. I like it.
It's a beautiful scene without a doubt, but I feel like there should have been more. Why is she just standing there with a neutral look on her face? Why is there a breeze, but the trees seem to be entirely unaffected? Why is there little interaction between the background and the woman?
This has been done several times before. A landscape of simple, pure serenity. I gave three stars because I've never quite seen it like this. However, it still communicates very little to me.
Five stars, hands down. There's no wonkiness in the figure's form, your lighting is consistent (and quite well done), you show a spectacular understanding of human anatomy and how fabric interacts with it, and you handle your colors and the medium very well. The only thing I have to nitpick about this is her pose. It seems very stiff and rigid, which is odd considering the overall feel of the image. Her hands are balled into fists, and her arms are straight. It's also weird for me, because we can't see the other leg at all, and I can't really place it based on her pose.
The thing that really drew me in was how beautiful the flow of her dress was. If it weren't for that, this would be "just another picture." Like I said earlier, this communicates only perfect serenity. It's not commenting on anything, and it doesn't make me think.