Have you wanted to start oil painting but it feels overwhelming?
That’s what I thought when I started too, but today I’m emailing you a basic supply set-up so you can get started. I’m a big believer that you should purchase things conservatively, then add when you start to realize what your deficits are.
This is what I would buy to begin:
Something to mix paint on
This could be as fancy as a glass-topped taboret, or it could just be a few paper plates stacked together. There are also some cool “disposable palettes”. They look like paper in a sketchbook, but they have wax on the back so the oil doesn’t seep through. I take them on Plein-air adventures!
I point people to Winton (by Windsor & Newton) student oils when they are starting. They make a fine paint at an affordable price! If you want high-end paint, I love Vasari. More expensive paint is almost pure pigment, and if you continue in your oil painting endeavors, you may want to try some of these out.
I would buy titanium white, yellow ochre, cad yellow light, cad red light, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, raw sienna, burnt umber, and sap green. If a color says “hue” after it, it simply means there’s not as much pigment in the paint. I still keep a cerulean blue hue in my arsenal because it makes a great sky color and is plenty strong for me.
A palette knife
A cheap plastic one will do, but this is important so you don’t ruin your brushes.
A container with solvent
Oil paints don’t wash off with water, and they CANNOT be dumped down your drain. Therefore, you need a container to hold a paint solvent. You’ll want to find one with coils or a screen to rub your brush against.
Because most homes aren’t equipped to handle the fumes of regular paint solvents, I buy Gamsol. It doesn’t make me feel ill. If health is your top concern, you can use vegetable oil to clean your brushes. I had one professor in college that did that, even though we had serious air systems to pull toxic fumes outside of the art building!
Cheap brushes stink. They fall apart and you get bristles stuck everywhere in your painting. This is where I’d spend a little more. Buy fewer, better brushes. I prefer Windsor & Newton (size 4,6,and 8) or Rosemary Co. (size 10, 12, 14, and 16) long flat brushes made of natural hog hair.
When you are learning, buy a big stack of canvas boards. The cool thing about oil painting is that once a painting dries, you can go over it again, so you need never throw anything away!
That should get you started!
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