oil painting materials

you want to start oil painting!

The old masters used oil painting materials for their classic paintings. Oil paintings are still considered the standard for fine art paintings.

  • There is nothing like a rich, beautiful oil painting.
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your oil painting materials

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what are the best oil paints?

  • The best paints are professional artist's paints. They are highly pigmented paints that produce the rich, beautiful colors like the old masters.

They are the top of the line in oil painting materials.

Winsor & Newton
Artists' Oil set

Gamblin Oil
Paint set

 Water Mixable
Oil set

Winsor & Newton paints from England are the classic standard for oil painting materials.

Gamblin paints are considered the safest paints available today for health conscious people.

Water-mixable oil paints are popular today. The paints are thinned with water, instead of solvents.

what is the best oil paint for beginners?

Student paints contain less pigment than the artists' paints, so they are less expensive.

They certainly are good for student learning and practice.

  • Winton Oil Paints made by Winsor & Newton have the highest pigment load of all the student paints.

Winton paints are considered the best student paints available.

And they are reasonably priced.

Winton Oil paint Set

what are alkyd paints?

Oil paint pigments are combined with linseed oil. They take a long drying time. They dry at various speeds depending on the colors and the weather.

Alkyd paints use the same pigments as other paints. The pigments are combined with alkyd resin.

The colors all dry at the same rate with a lovely soft sheen. They dry completely over night or within 24 hours maximum.

They look like and handle just like oil paints.

Alkyds may be used for underpainting or for an entire painting.

Read about - "Paint for the Impatient"

Alkyd Painting

Griffin Alkyds by Winsor & Newton have been my "oil paints" for many years instead of the traditional slow drying oil paints.

Winsor & Newton have been the standard of excellence in artist's paints since the early 1800s.

They make great paints!

Winsor & Newton
Griffin Alkyds

Winsor Newton Griffin Alkyds

You may want to start with a set of Gamblin Fastmatte Alkyd Oil Colors.

Gamblin is an American paint company noted for their environmentally friendly products.

This set of fast drying alkyd paint includes seven selected colors, plus white

Gamblin Fastmatte
Alkyd Oil Colors

what colors do i need to start oil painting?

A good place to start choosing colors is with the three primary colors; red, yellow and blue.

A warm and cool version of the three primary colors will give you mixing capabilities for any color you want in your paintings.

  • Red - Cadmium Red Light and Alizarin Crimson
  • Yellow - Cadmium Yellow Light and Yellow Ochre
  • Blue - Ultramarine Blue and Thalo Blue

You will also need to add a large tube of white to your oil painting art supplies.

  • Titanium White is the recommended white for mixing and general painting.

what do I paint on?

  • It makes good sense to use the traditional oil painting materials.

Paintings done with either canvas or hardboard panels will last for years. You can hand them down to your children and grandchildren.


Stretched canvas has a wonderful give and feel when you are painting on it.

Canvases come primed with gesso and ready for painting. Check the label and make sure it says the canvas is suitable for oil painting.

Gallery-wrap canvases are popular. You paint the edges of the canvas that wrap around the stretcher bars. Then the painting may be displayed without a frame.

stretched canvas


Hardboard panels don't take up as much space in storage.

"Ad" Ampersand Gessobord panels have been archivally prepared and are ready to paint on.

Their smooth surface is suitable for fine details and glazing. Yet they are sturdy enough for palette knife work and heavy paint applications.

canvas boards and paper

"Ad" Canvas panels are inexpensive and good for practice and student work. The panels may warp after a period of time.

Paper may be used for sketches and student work. Use a heavy paper like watercolor paper and prime with gesso to keep the paint from soaking into the paper.

what brushes are best for oil painting?

hog hair brushes

Oil painting materials should include the traditional hog hair brushes. They are sturdy enough to move the oil paint around.

They are good for expressive paintings where you want the brush strokes to show.

soft brushes

Soft synthetic brushes or animal hair brushes are good for smoother paintings like portraits.

Their soft brush strokes don't leave ridges that show.

White Hog Bristle
brush Set

red sable
brush set

do i need turpentine for painting?

You will need a solvent to thin your paints for painting and to clean the brushes between colors.

Turpentine is the traditional solvent used for oil painting. Modern artist use odorless turpentine or mineral spirits

  • Gamsol made by Gamblin, an odorless mineral spirits is considered the safest for painting in the studio.
  • Keep your solvent in a covered container and keep it covered when you are not using it.
  • When your painting is done, clean and preserve your brushes with Master's Brush Cleaner.

"Ad" Disposable paper palettes are very handy. After painting, just roll up the used palette and dispose it.

"Ad" Graphite transfer paper is handy for transferring your drawings to the painting surface.

gamsol odorless
mineral spirits

Stainless Steel
Brush Washer

The Masters
Brush Cleaner

what do i need to do an oil painting?

  • A good quality oil paint
  • Stretched canvas or hardboard panels
  • Brushes
  • Palette
  • Drawing materials and graphite transfer paper
  • Solvent in a covered container
  • A brush cleaner
  • Rags or paper towels for clean-up

Good light and ventilation in your painting area

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These oil painting materials have produced a lot of good paintings over the years.

they will work for you, too!

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