Oil painting is an excellent medium for creative expression, but beginners may not know where to start. It’s a very involved hobby, and it can be expensive as well. You can invest in several useful tools, but you may feel less overwhelmed if you’re able to narrow it down to the basics. We’ve put together a short yet comprehensive list of oil painting supplies for beginners.
The most essential tool, obviously, is the paint itself. You’ll get the best results from high-quality, nontoxic paints, so you may have to spend a few extra dollars. To get more bang for your buck, you could also purchase pigments to make your own paint. Some of the essential colors to start out with include:
- Titanium white
- Ivory black
- Cadmium red
- Cadmium yellow
- Phthalo blue
- Burnt umber
You want to invest in quality brushes so that the bristles don’t stick in the paint or alter the texture of your painting. Play around to discover the styles that work best for you and consider a few of the popular options listed below:
- A large flat brush to fill large surfaces
- Filbert brushes in different sizes
- Round brushes in different styles
When you start experimenting with paint, you’re bound to go through a few trials and errors before deciding on your preferred style. Taking this into consideration, you don’t need to immediately invest in expensive canvases. Consider buying flat canvases that come in bundles to start and work your way up from there.
4. A Painting Surface
Artists use easels so that their paintings are at eye level—looking down on your work instead of straight at it will affect the composition. That being said, you don’t immediately have to purchase an easel. You could use a music stand for smaller paintings or even tape your canvas to the wall until you’re ready to make the investment.
Turpentine is an inexpensive solvent that will thin your paint to help it spread more efficiently. You can use as much as you need, but you ideally want to be conservative to start and build up from there. You can also use this to wash your brushes in between colors and uses.
For the sake of the environment, you don’t want to use paper towels to clean your brushes. As an alternative, collect some old rags to have on hand. If you don’t have any at home, purchase a few hand towels from your local thrift store.
7. A Palette
Palettes are very personal tools for painters, and you can find them in a variety of shapes and prices. They can cost as little as a dollar or as much as a couple hundred. With oil paints, a palette with a lid may be ideal so that you can save any unused paint for later.