1. Oil paint:
Obviously the first thing you’ll need is oil paint, and lots of it. For
beginners, I’d suggest Winsor & Newton oil paint. It’s a less
expensive brand of oil paint, but the quality is fine. As far as colors
go, here’s a list of the must-haves:
Titanium White, Ivory Black, Cadmium Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Pthalo Blue, Cadmium
Yellow Light, and Cadmium Yellow. Buy each of these colors in 200 ml
tubes except for Pthalo Blue—Pthalo’s pretty powerful so you probably
won’t need as much as you do with the others.
Technically those are
all the colors you need, but you should also get a few greens and browns
until you learn more about mixing colors. Pick up some Permanent Green
Light, Viridian, Burnt Umber, and Burnt Sienna to round out your
2. Proper painting brushes: All you really need is a
few natural bristle brushes in different sizes. I‘d suggest six: two
small, two medium, and two large.
3. Turpentine (AKA paint
thinner): Unlike watercolors or acrylics you can’t clean up oil paints
with water. Instead, you’ll need to use turpentine or mineral spirits to
get the paint out of your brushes (and off your skin).
Newspaper: Newspaper is handy to have around when you clean your paint
brushes at the end of the day, but it’s also good to use WHILE you’re
painting. Because it’s important to clean your brush every time you
start painting a new section or switch colors—and that‘ll happen a lot
in every painting. There’s no need to use turpentine for a full
cleaning, just grab some newspaper (cut 4 inch squares ahead of time if
you feel like it) and quickly squeeze all the paint out of the bristles.
That’ll keep your colors from contaminating each other throughout the
5. Linseed stand oil: As you’re mixing
colors you’ll find they’re easier to mix when you add a little painter’s
medium. I usually pour out a few tablespoons of medium every time I sit
down to paint. You won’t need much—just dab your brush into the medium
before mixing colors. Medium is made by combining linseed stand oil with
6. A charcoal pencil: Before putting any paint
down, I’d suggest sketching out whatever it is you’ll be painting.
Charcoal works pretty good on the texture of canvas (better than
graphite, anyway) and it doesn't have to be perfect, just an outline
drawing so you can see your composition ahead of time.
“palette”: When it comes to palettes, you don’t have to be fancy. For a
while I used a big piece of glass. To clean it, I just took a flat razor
blade and scraped all the old paint off. Palette can be cleaned using
8. Comfortable, messy clothes: If your clothes don’t
start out messy they’ll get that way soon. Every painter needs a few
painting outfits that they can get paint on, but make sure they’re
9. A painter’s easel: Every oil painter needs
an easel but you may not need an expensive one right at first. At the
very least an easel should be adjustable to your height (whether you
like to sit or stand) and securely hold your paintings, whatever size
they may be.
10. Canvas (or other painting surface): Canvas is
great for painting on but if you’re just starting out, why not use
paper? At least to practice on and get a feel for the paint. If you do
use paper (or wood, or masonite, or any other surface) you should
probably coat it with Gesso first, using a big house brush. When you’re
ready to buy canvases, get a pre-primed canvas and you won’t have to
worry about any preparation at all.
That’s the list! Good luck and happy painting!