6 Oil Painting Essentials
Updated: Jun 7, 2021
This list is for artists who want to start oil painting but aren’t sure of what paint supplies to buy. All of these items can be found at a local art supply store or online at Amazon and are absolutely necessary for beginners.
1) Oil Paint
Obviously, the first thing you’ll need is oil paint and lots of it. For beginners, I’d suggest Winsor and Newton Winton Oil paint. It’s a less expensive brand of oil paint, but the quality is fine. As far as colors go, here’s a list of the must‑haves: Titanium White, Ivory Black, Cadmium Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Pthalo Blue, Cadmium Yellow Light, and Cadmium Yellow. Technically those are all the colors you need, but you should also get a few greens and browns until you learn more about colour mixing. Pick up some Permanent Green Light, Viridian, Burnt Umber, and Burnt Sienna to round out your palette
If you’re just starting out, trust me, you won’t need a ton of different paintbrushes.
I‘d suggest six total in a range of sizes: two size 2 brushes, two size 6 brushes, and two size 12 brushes. One of each pair should be a flat brush (with a squared‑off brush tip) and the other should be a filbert brush (with a slightly rounded tip). If you're someone who wants to detail out a painting then a size 00 brush would be a good purchase.
3) TURPENTINE OIL
Unlike watercolors or acrylics, you can’t clean up oil paints with water. Instead, you’ll need to use turpentine or mineral spirits to get the paint out of your brushes (and off your skin).
My personal favorite is distilled turpentine oil from Winsor and Newton. But you can use cheaper alternatives like Camlin as well.
This one might be optional but I know I wouldn’t paint without it. As you’re mixing colors you’ll find they’re easier to mix when you add a little painter’s medium. I usually pour out a few tablespoons of medium every time I sit down to paint. Liquin Original is my absolute favorite since I prefer my oil paints to have a faster drying time. One can even opt for Linseed Oil if you're someone who wants to slow down the drying time.
5) A PALETTE
When it comes to palettes, you don't have to be fancy. You can easily use any sheet of glass lying around but make sure to polish it's edges before using one. I use a sheet of acrylic glass to mix my paints. To clean it I just take one of my palette knifes and scrape of the paint and wipe of the remaining residue with some turpentine oil and kitchen roll. I would recommend not opting for wooden palettes as wood usually absorbs the oil from the paints which inevitably becomes harder to clean.
6) PAINTING SURFACE
Canvases are great for painting on, but if you're just starting out why not use oil painting paper? At least to practice on and get a feel for the paint.
If you do use paper (or wooden panels) make sure to coat it with Gesso first, using a big flat brush. This will give you a solid long lasting surface that your oil paint can adhere to.
When you decide to buy canvases, get a pre‑primed stretched canvas and you won't have to worry about any preparation all all! I mostly use stretched canvases from Camlin, India.