Updated: Nov 13, 2021
There are so many oil painting supplies, that artists can use nowadays. Some of them are necessary, but some of them are optional. I will help you to make your own oil painting supply list according to your goals and I hope my recommendations will help you to save some money and encourage you to start painting. It is a mistake to think that you need all the supplies to start painting, don’t let this stop you from doing art. I remember my very first oil painting, that I painted on my laps because I didn’t have a chance to buy an easel. Was it messy and inconvenient? Yes, it was. But who knows, would I have become an artist at all if I hadn’t painted that artwork? I had a strong feeling in my heart, that pushed me to create. And I want you to listen to yours because it’s there for a reason. This article is mostly for beginners, but established artists may find something useful too. I share my knowledge only from my experience, that’s why you can make your adjustments according to your visions. I created two oil painting supply lists: a short list for artists on a budget and a full list of oil painting supplies.
Canvas (pre-primed, stretched canvas or canvas board)
Oil Paints (Palette of 6 paints will be enough)
Paint Solvent, Mediums (Turpentine, Linseed Oil, Retouch Varnish)
Paint Brushes (3 round paint brushes of different sizes will be enough)
Plastic Palette Knife (regular plastic knife)
Plastic or Paper Palette
Jars to hold your solvent and oil medium (a mug or empty plastic cup from yogurt can be used)
Paper or cloth rags (newspapers)
The way to clean your brushes (use Turpentine that you have left)
Canvas (premium quality pre-primed stretched canvas or raw canvas)
Gesso (if you choose raw canvas)
Oil Paints (whole palette that you need)
Paint Solvent, Mediums
Paint Brushes (different sizes and forms)
Metal Palette Knives
Stainless Steel Palette Cups (Paint & Solvent Cups)
Vine Charcoal Stick
Solvent to clean your brushes
There are many surfaces that you can use for oil painting (paper, wood, masonite boards, etc.), but canvas is the most common and the most suitable.
You can find two types of canvases: pre-primed and raw canvases. Also, you can buy a stretched canvas or you can make a canvas yourself. For centuries raw canvases are believed to be the best choice by professional artists. But from my experience, nowadays there are so many pre-primed, stretched canvases of high quality on a market, that it makes them leaders among others. If you choose this type of canvases, you don’t need to worry about any preparations at all, you can focus on creating art. Of course, if you are a professional artist and you enjoy making a canvas yourself or you can’t find the size of a canvas you need, you can see the beauty of this process and time spent won’t matter.
If you choose a raw canvas, you should coat it with Gesso with a big flat brush (two coats should be enough).
For beginners and artists on a budget, I recommend a pre-primed, stretched canvas or a canvas board. There are some affordable stretched canvases in the stores, that you can find. Don’t buy too expensive ones for your first artworks, let yourself experiment and explore the world of oil painting. Canvas boards do not have good archival quality as they tend to bend if not framed, but they are cheap and don’t take up much space in your workspace.
2. Oil Paints
Oil Paint is one of the main things, that you need for painting. There are so many brands and types of oil paints available in the stores nowadays, that you can easily be lost. The most important thing, that you should pay attention to, is the quality of oils. There are two types of qualities of oil paints: student quality and artist quality. The student quality paint is cheaper, but it has noticeably poorer performance because it contains fewer pigments and more fillers. So, when you choose an oil paint, don’t buy the cheapest one.
But you can save some money on the Palette choosing the colors wisely. If you are a beginner, I recommend starting with 6 colors, each one in 40ml tubes, except for white oil paint, that you need always more, so 60ml (and more) of white paint will be preferable. Having just a few colors will teach you how to mix the colors and make your own shades. When you choose oil paints for your palette, give the preference to less opaque colors, they will be easier to mix.
So, here is a starter palette for oil painting:
Titanium White (Titanium-Zinc is less opaque and yellowish than Titanium, because of added Zinc)