Good morning, friends, artists, aspiring artists,
Today, I’ll be sharing about the art supplies you’ll need to get started oil painting. Keep in mind, these are the art materials and mediums that I use to oil paint, but you can always go and explore other options.
I typically buy all of my supplies at Michaels. Why I haven’t joined the rewards membership program, I have no idea. Anyways, below you will find photos of my own materials to help you get started!
You, of course, will need to buy your canvas and art easel. I always buy the white canvases, a 16×24 is a good size to start off, but you can go smaller for practice.
Michaels usually has a great sale on canvases as well; I typically stock up when they’re 3 for 1 or 70% off.
Next, these are the brushes and sponges I use to create a simple blended background (which I will include a step-by-step guide on how to create in another post, this is merely the art supplies). I use acrylic paint for the background and oils for the actual subject matter. Don’t paint oil over acrylics!
Second, you will need acrylic paint (Grumacher pictured above). You, of course, don’t need this brand of acrylic, other options are available. Also note, you certainly don’t need to paint an acrylic background, but it takes a lot less time to dry versus an oil background, speaking from experience, especially for those artists that just want to start painting quickly. Try using a fan to help it dry quicker, too.
Third, you’ll need the essential tools, such as your palette knives, brushes, and containers. Be sure to use only glass containers to hold your supplies, because they will be messy and dirtied with toxic materials, so you don’t want to use plastic, ever, for oil painting.
I actually do use coffee cups to hold all of my palette knives, one for my new palette knives, one for my dirty palette knives. You can find palette knives at Michael’s in the Fine Arts section.
Now, the brushes. I buy Windsor and Newton Filbert brushes to oil paint. I also buy acrylic brushes just in case; sometimes they work better for the finer details you want to blend very well in your oil painting, versus the harder structure in oil brushes.
Fourth, you’ll need the oil painting mediums and thinners. Don’t let these mediums intimidate you. They’re actually fairly easy to use.
You can find all of these products at Michaels. I’m going to relay all of these materials in simple terms:
Turpentine – (pictured on the very left, also known as Paint Thinner) is used to block in subject matter, to clean brushes, and to create washed out backgrounds. For me, I use it only two ways: 1. I’ll mix a tad bit with my oil paints to create a wash background, which is really just a base layer to paint over with a final layer to add tone (I’ll talk about that later in another post.) OR 2. I pour in a little into a mason jar, as seen in the photo, and I place my dirtied brushes into it before cleaning in the Glass Brush Washer found here.
Glass Brush Washer – I didn’t picture the Glass Brush Washer because mine is dirty, but be sure to pour in the second product pictured above, the Mona Lisa Brush Cleaner/Conditioner. This really has saved my brushes. You simply rub your brushes over the wire guard inside.
Liquin – This medium is like gold for me. I use it in every single one of my oil paintings, and honestly, I couldn’t create my oil paintings without it because it reduces the oil paint into a more creamier substance, allows a little gloss, and makes the paint dry a lot quicker. It’s one of my favorite mediums, ever. You can find small or larger bottles of this at Michaels.
Mason Jars – You will need these babies, period. Where do I place my dirty brushes? Where do I place my clean brushes? Where do I pour my turpentine? Yes, all in these mason jars. They come with metal lids which are perfect to seal the toxicity from inheriting the air. I get these from Michaels or Hobby Lobby, too. Note: I’d also buy smaller little vacuum sealed glass jars to hold your linseed or Liquin in. I find those little jars at Michaels, too.
Linseed Oil – This is a beautiful prolonging medium. This is pretty much the opposite of our Liquin medium because it works as an extender and makes your oil painting dry even slower. So, I’d refrain from using multiple drying mediums on a single painting (especially for beginners), because I think it’s better for practice in order to truly catch the flow of a specific medium. That’s been my experience. I use Linseed oil to create a thinner, slicker medium to work with, and to extend the drying time to keep working on the same section the next day (it will still be wet even 12 hours later, versus Liquin which will be somewhat already dry).
I also have another jar of a fast drying medium, pictured below that I use and works like a charm to make your subject dry quicker.
Fifth, you’ll need to keep your little studio space clean, so be sure to have small wash cloths and towels handy. Sometimes, after I’ve splashed my dirty brush back and forth inside the Mason Jar of turpentine or the Glass Brush Cleaner filled with brush cleaner and conditioner, I use towels to wipe my brushes before placing them in a clean mason jar.
Sixth, be sure to wear an art apron!
Lastly, the oh so lovely oil paints! I have always used Winsor & Newton’s Oil Colour paints. They’ve never failed me and they work beautifully with any medium I desire.
Now, using oil paints may take more time, simply because of the drying process and detail, but if you’re an artist who loves to explore, you may find yourself falling in love with oils.
Now, I know oil paints can be expensive, in fact, most art materials can be for oil painting, but Michaels is very gracious with their coupons. In fact, I’ve never gone without using their 40% off coupons. Be sure you subscribe to their newsletter because you’ll need to use the coupons you get in your email.
I love the process of oil painting, yes, even the mess. There’s nothing more fun than getting a little messy; sometimes you may find yourself wiping your brow or your apron with your brush.
It’s OK to look a little painterly. Enjoy the process! So, there you have it, fellow artists. This is the list of art supplies I use to start painting and I hope it helped guide you. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!
Happy painting and feel welcome to subscribe in order to get my next update,