oil painting supplies: beautiful, rich oil paintings are the standard of fine art

  • The old masters used oil painting supplies for their classic paintings.

Get your supplies ready before you start painting. Good supplies don't make a good artist, but they sure make painting easier and more fun.

Select your paint, the colors, the surface you will paint on, the brushes you will use and items for cleanup.

questions about oil painting supplies?

A beautiful painting by Carol May done with oil painting suppliesOil painting of "Koi Feeding"

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what are the best oil paints?

  • Winsor & Newton paints have been the classic standard of oil painting supplies since 1830.

Winsor (a chemist) partnered with Newton, (an artist) to produce high quality paints that are chemically sound and beautiful, as well.

They are easy to use right out of the tube. They do not require the addition of any other mediums or thinners.

artist oils

  • Water-mixable oil paints are popular today for environmentally conscience people.

The paints are thinned with water, instead of solvents like turpentine or mineral spirits.

After painting, it is easy to clean up with only water.

water mixable

what is the best paint for students?

  • Winton paints, made by Winsor & Newton are considered the best student paints available.

They have the highest pigment load of all the student paints.

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

They certainly are good for student learning and practice.

student oils

what are alkyd paints?

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

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

"Beauty and Joy" a beautiful butterfly painting by Carol May done with oil painting materialsAlkyd Painting "Beauty and Joy"

Alkyd 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. Alkyd paints may be used for underpainting or for an entire painting.

Griffin Alkyds by Winsor & Newton have been my "oil painting supplies" since the 1980s, instead of the traditional slow drying oil paints.

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.

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

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.

paper palette

A paper palette is great. When you are finished painting, just roll it up and dispose it, very handy.

what do I paint on?

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

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.

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.



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

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

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.

canvas panels

what brushes are best for oil painting?

hog hair brushes

Oil painting supplies 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.

hog hair brushes

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 and they make blending easy.

You normally would have to thin the paint to use with soft brushes.

synthetic brushes

how do i clean my brushes?

  • You may need a solvent to thin your paints for painting. Also, use it to clean your brushes between colors and when you finish painting for the day.

You may use a brush cleaner after painting to clean and preserve your brushes.

do i need turpentine for painting?

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

Gamsol odorless mineral spirits is considered safest for in the studio.

Gamsol odorless mineral spirits for in the studio.

Keep your solvent in a covered container when not in use.

Clean and preserve your brushes with Master's Brush Cleaner.

your oil painting checklist

  • Quality paint
  • Something to paint on
  • Brushes
  • Palette
  • Thinner and brush cleaner

Good light and ventilation in your painting area

These oil painting supplies have produced a lot of good paintings for artists over the years.

they will work for you, too!

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