You are never to young or old to start painting if you have the desire. I was gifted with creative and artistic abilities in many forms of Art, not just oil painting or watercolor painting. If you want to paint and have patience while learning the techniques and learn what your painting instruments can do for you, then you will turn out paintings that you will be proud of and want to share with others. Whether it is in the basement, garage, outside on the patio, find a place to set up to paint and let your imagination go. This article is just about the basics of what you will need if you are just starting out to paint. If there is enough interest then there will be other articles about painting, not only with oil paints but also in watercolor paint. I love them both the same. Totally different supplies and techniques.
Lets start by getting together what you will need before you start to paint:
You will need something to paint on: a cloth Canvas, and they come in a variety of sizes. I would suggest starting with a smaller but comfortable size (16×20) that isn’t too small and isn’t too large. You can also buy them in bulk, already primed, or you can also stretch your own canvas if you want.
Next you will need a easel to paint on: Easel’s come in different forms: tabletop, standing, aluminum, wood….if you are truly interested in taking up painting as a hobby I would suggest paying good money for a sturdy one that fits your needs when you paint. Don’t buy a tabletop if you plan on doing larger paintings. Standing easels are a good so that you can stand back and look at the painting, it will also be about the same angle and height as it would when hung on the wall.
Paint Brushes: choosing the correct Paint Brush is very important and can make a significant difference in the quality of your finished work. Make sure you buy paint brushes for oil paints. The length of the brush should be longer due to most oil painters stand up when they are painting. If you are going to do a lot of small detail it is best to buy a sable hair brush and it doesn’t show the brush strokes as bad. You will want to also buy Artist Grade paint brushes and not the cheap hog-hair brushes. Your results will show the quality of brush you used. There are many types of brushes; filbert, round, fan, liner, 1″, 2″….etc. You will also want to make sure you take care of your brushes when cleaning and storing them. Use a odorless thinner, you can also buy conditioner for your brushes. Store them flat or at least in a place that will keep the bristles from becoming distorted.
Paint (Oils): Oil Paints come in a variety of manufacturer’s. I use Bob Ross paints and supplies. I find his paint is creamy and easy to work with. I suggest getting one of his Beginner or Master kits for starting out. Paint is very expensive and as you learn you will find that you will not use quite as much paint as you did in the beginning. It really takes very little. These kits will also give you the basic colors you will need because there a lot of color pigments out there to choose from. Buy the paint according to what you want to paint. You will not want to buy floral paint if you are going to paint landscape.
Odorless Thinner for paint: Odorless Thinner if you have painted before you know the smell of turpentine or solvents. This will do the job well and has a low smell.
Pallet Knives to paint with: Pallet Knives these are a must especially when you go to apply snow or shading on your mountains or cutting in water lines. There are different sizes and shapes so buy according to what you will be painting.
Pallet: there are different types of pallets to hold your paint. There are disposable sheets that you just throw away when your done with the painting or there are plastic and wooded ones. I usually put too much paint on my pallet and I just put some plastic wrap or aluminum foil over the paints and throw in the freezer. The paints will set up and become hard to work with if you leave them out.
Liquid Mediums & Gesso for painting: Mediums & Gesso these items will really help you in your painting. The liquid mediums help the paint to go on easier and help in blending. Use the Liquid white to prep your canvas and you will be amazed, use very little, it can also be used to thin down your titanium white paint when you go to put in water or snow on your mountains or mix a little with paint for highlighting, say trees. It helps the paint stick. Liquid clear is great for black or grey canvases, it does the same thing except there is no color. The Gesso’s (water-based) are use to prime the canvas. DO NOT use your good brushes to prime your canvas. I use those cheap sponge brushes and just discard when finished. Then let the canvas completely dry before working with it. This usually comes in white, black and grey.
Misc. Items to use when to paint: You willl need plenty of papertowels, a paint brush cleaning can with a screen in the bottom of it, drop cloth if you don’t want to get paint and thinner all over everything, and clothes you don’t care about. To get ideas and learn other’s techniques on oil painting , you can watch programs on TV (usually OPB in Oregon), the internet ( YouTube), purchase painting videos, or take a beginner’s class at the local college or art supply store.
Well I hope this helps in pursuit of a enjoyable, fun, and relaxing experience for you as you create works of Art in your new found love of painting with oils. Happy Painting.