10 Supplies You Need to Start Oil Painting

Are you wanting to get started with oil painting but you aren't sure what you need? Here are some basic supplies to help any beginner start oil painting!

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Here are 10 Supplies You Need to Start Oil Painting

1. Oil Paint

You are going to need paint, of course! There are lots of different kinds of oil paint out there but for a beginner I think starting with student quality paints is just fine. Artist grade paints have higher quality pigments, but can cost a lot of money. Student grade have lower pigment content but will save you some money when just starting out oil painting. I believe you can still create beautiful, amazing paintings with student grade oil paints.

The very basic colors you will want starting out will be a red, yellow, blue, black and white. However, if you want to round out your color palette a little more you can also pick up some greens and browns.

Be sure to get a large tube of Titanium White, as you will go through much more white than any other color!

2. Solvents

You will need a paint solvent to thin out and increase the fluidity of your paint, to clean the paint out of your brushes and to speed up drying time. You cannot just use water to do this! There are several different solvents you can use like turpentine and mineral spirits. Turpentine has a strong smell so you might want to use odorless Turpenoid instead. My personal favorite solvent is Gamsol by Gamblin. It is odorless and less toxic than most solvents. Also, you will want to purchase a metal or glass jar to hold your solvents.

One last thing I feel I need to mention about solvents. They can be highly flammable and even paper towels or rags covered in turpentine can self-ignite. Please take the time to learn proper cleaning methods.

3. Oil Mediums

There are many different oil mediums you can use. Again, since you cannot use water with oil paints, you will want a medium to help thin out your paints and increase fluidity. But unlike solvents, oil mediums will help keep a nice consistency and texture. Generally, you will want to paint "fat over lean". Starting your painting with washes thinned down with solvent and working up each paint layer with more oil medium and less solvent. Your final layer of paint should be the fattiest, thus "fat over lean".

Another important aspect of oil mediums is drying time. Oil paintings can take a very long time to dry so you may want a medium to help speed up the drying process. Or you might want to slow down drying to be able to work on a painting over a longer period of time. Check out the description or label on the back of different mediums to see what it does and pick the best one that works for you. However, in general a very common medium to use would be Linseed Oil.

4. Brushes

You do not need a lot of brushes to get started in oil painting. Try a few different sizes and shapes to see what works best with your painting style. Stiffer, natural bushes like hogs hair work nicely. Do not use soft brushes made for watercolor paintings for example. Pick out one large brush for covering the canvas quickly with paint like for laying down a background or filling a large area. Then go for a few medium sized brushes and some small ones for details.

Paint brushes come in different shapes like round, flat or filbert. Try out the each shape to create different brush strokes in your paintings. You will quickly learn what is your favorite to work with. (My favorite is filbert!)

5. Palette

Any palette at your local art supply store will work. If could be plastic, wood, disposable palette pages or glass. I like to use glass as it is very easy to scrape the old, dry paint off with a razor blade. Make sure that it is large enough to hold your paint with room for mixing colors.

6. Canvas

There are different surfaces you can use to paint on however, canvas is the most common. Primed, stretched canvases are easy to come by at any art store and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

7. Easel

You may want an easel to hold up your canvas to get a better angle or perspective while you are painting but it is not necessary. A table top will do! If you go this route, be sure to protect your surfaces as oil paint can be very messy!

8. Drawing Tools

To sketch out your image before you begin painting, have a drawing utensil handy like a common graphite lead pencil, charcoal pencil or coloring pencil.

9. Jars and Containers

As I mentioned before, you will need a metal or glass jar with a lid to cold your solvent. You may also want more more jars or containers to hold your oil mediums and brushes.

10. Rags or Paper Towels

Have rags or paper towels with you to clean up an messes or to wipe off any mistakes. Oil paint dries slowly so if you splatter some green paint on the canvas where it's not suppose to be or mess up painting that hand (hands are hard!), wipe it off and start again!