Oil Painting Supplies for Beginners
Updated: 01 Mar 2021
Below is a review for oil painting supply and materials.
While the obvious supplies will be oil paints, paintbrushes and something to paint on, there are other useful products that support the painting process.
Latex gloves are a convenient option for painters who want their hands paint-free.
Painters who do not like to paint with gloves can use them for mixing colors, a process that can sometimes get messy.
When washing oil painting brushes, latex gloves can be used to protect the hand while rubbing the brush on it (see below).
Some gloves are lightly powdered to prevent sweating. With these gloves, it is not recommended touching the canvas in order not to leave powder on it.
How to Use an Oil Paint Tube
It is always recommended pressing the back of the tube in order to take out paint and to proceed, as the tube is getting empty.
Pressing the middle of the tube will push some paint backwards, making it difficult to take out paint smoothly.
Oil paint can sometimes be inserted back into the tube by tapping the back of the tube on the work surface.
How to Reuse Oil Paint
After finishing a painting session, sometimes there will be paint left on the palette.
The paint can be stored in a freezer compartment in order to stop its hardening process and reuse it later.
Oil paints will remain usable for several weeks or more, depending on how well they are sealed.
A plastic box, glassware, aluminum foil, disposable plastic plate wrapped in plastic wrap or any other way, will keep the paint usable, as long as the sealing is airtight.
Keep in mind:
Some pigments are toxic and should be wrapped properly and kept away from food!
How to Wash Paintbrushes
Painters sensitive to odors from thinners, and concern about the toxicity of these materials, can use dish soap and water.
Wash the brushes several times, until no paint is coming out of them.
Then, dry gently with a towel and store with the bristles up, to keep their shape.
Paper towels are great for cleaning paintbrushes and palette knives while painting, or to open and close oil paint tubes in a clean way.
Another option is to use a cloth.
In addition, you can use them (gently) to remove excessive paint from the canvas.
A palette is a board for organizing and mixing oil paints.
Palette for oil paints can be made of wood, plastic and other hard materials. A glass palette or a specially designed glass table is easy to clean.
My favorite is a disposable palette made of impermeable, non-absorbent paper.
Old magazines can be used as a disposable palette.
Disposable paper palettes come in different sizes and with different amount of pages.
Arrange and mix oil paints on a disposable paper. At the end of a painting session, tear off the disposable page, and throw it (without having to clean it).
Canvas for Oil Painting
It is recommended to use high quality cotton canvas. There are linen canvases that are quite expensive.
Some prefer to hang oil paintings without a frame.
For that reason, it is important to buy a canvas without pins that connect the fabric to the wood on the sides of the frame, but on the back of the frame (where they cannot be seen).
Canvases can be painted on their sides for hanging without a frame.
After a painting session, you can mix the remaining oil paints (that are left on the palette).
Use this mixture to paint the sides of your canvas.
Paper Pads for Oil Paint
Supply for oil painting is NOT cheap. Unlike paper for pencil drawing, each canvas is quite expensive.
One solution is paper pads designed for oil paint. These paper sheets are NOT of high quality, and not aimed for finished paintings.
However, paper for oil paint is great for training, especially for beginners.
Another great use for them, is for creating color palettes or color charts.
Ideas for Paintings
Copyright law protects photographs, drawings, comics and images that you can find on the Internet.
In order to use images to get ideas for paintings or to draw them from observation, use royalty-free images.
Quite a few websites provide free images for use by artists or anybody else.
How and Where to Sign a Painting
It is customary to sign on finished artworks. This can be done using a synthetic round brush or synthetic liner brush.
In addition to a signature, contact details, such as phone number, website address or e-mail address, can be added on the back of the canvas.
Technical details like canvas dimensions and a date, can be added too.
For more info on paintbrushes, visit my guide for oil painting brush types.
Techniques for Oil Painting
Oil painting is a particularly forgiving medium. If something in the painting does not work out, it is possible to wipe it with a paper towel or a cloth. Another solution is to paint over it once the lower layer of oil paint hardens.
Unlike other mediums, oil paints are very easy to mix and therefore create a huge amount of colors and shades.
With a limited palette of 5 colors (red, blue, yellow, brown and white), you can mix almost all colors and shades.
Wet on wet or alla prima is a technique in which painting on top of a fresh layer of paint and thus the layers can be mixed with one another.
Wet on dry means waiting for the bottom layer to harden, and only then paint a new layer on top of it.
Divide and conquer is a perception that in a complex painting, it is better to work on small parts of it, and make the task less complicated.
Techniques or painting styles are a matter of personal preference.
From time to time (when painting), remember to move back from the canvas in order to see the big picture.
Where to Go Next?
Once you have some painting materials, it is time to learn how to mix oil paints.
For painting realism, visit my tutorial on how to paint in a realistic style.
To learn more about painting, visit my recommended YouTube painting instructors.