Beginning: choosing art supplies

posted in: Materials | 0

I realized i love oil paints after trying out watercolors, pastels, gouache and acrylics.

Weird enough – mostly i love the smell and the consistency. One can keep modeling the brush strokes till he gets the needed result, which can not be achieved with other mediums. Acrylics will dry really quick. I mean too quick for my personality. You have to literally be exact with every stroke. Oil allows longer drying time thus gives  you the flexibility to start a painting and then come back to it the next day and continue straight where you left off. Plus i love the thick consistency of oil.

Modeling paste





When painting with my 6 yo daughter i sometimes add modeling paste to acrylics and that creates the feeling of oils:







In the end the choice is all about personal preferences. I ended up with oils and love it so far!



I create my paintings with an underwash. In order to do that i need thinners, which is mostly all bad chemicals and should be used outside of ones house I believe: odorless mineral spirits, turpentine, turpenoid natural etc. All of them are toxic. So I try to avoid them by combining regular oils and water mixable ones (artisan series of Winson and Newton). It works out ok, but I am not sure you can actually do that 🙂

Water-mixable oil paint (Artisan series)
Water-mixable oil paint (Artisan series)
So I start with water mixable (thin them with water) at first layer
Regular oil paint s
Regular oil paint s
Regular oil paint s

and then use regular ones when I do not need it thinned and can use the regular thickness.

I sometimes add linseed oil to thin the paint a little to follow the “fat over lean” principal. 
Sometimes the regular oil can hardly stick to the earlier water mixable so I am still looking for a better solution. 
It is all very complicated and what I read re this is that no artist has the right way and each chooses his own style and materials and mediums etc. So far I haven’t found any non toxic solvents.. If you do please let me know!


I wash my brushes with regular dish soap. I use seventh generation one as it is chemicals free.





Regarding brushes: i have all types of them. I prefer ones with pretty stiff natural bristles. For the beginning you need several brushes of each size depending on what you are going to paint. I went with synthetic and natural of several sizes:








Palette knives


I love using palette knives and found the regular set of palette knives from Amazon to be handy:


For now they work well.








Construction lamp



I realized the painting room needs lots of light. I ended up using this regular lamp from Home Depot left from  a recent remodeling project:


It gives me some good day-like light during evenings or gloomy days.







Aluminium tripod




I bought an entry-level art tripod from Amazon for as low as $20 and so far like it:

If i had to buy it again i would have chosen something more heavy duty as this one is so lightweight that sometimes the bigger painting tend to lean or even fall during the painting process.






When it comes to materials, on which to paint, i decided to go with stretched canvases. I love the feeling, the texture of the material. I bought a package of canvas panels from Amazon, which gave me a $1 a piece – pretty good deal. My daughter loves using them as well.

Roll of canvas - gesso primed on one side
Roll of canvas – gesso primed on one side


As for the stretched canvases, i ended up ordering frames from a relative, who has a construction shop, and buying a piece of canvas at a local fabric outlet for cheap. Those rolls of canvas are of pretty good quality and are essentially cotton primed with gesso. I suppose those are an entry-level materials but that is specifically all i need as i am just starting to learn. All i need to do is measure out exact dimensions i need for a desired frame, cut it out and stretch with a staple gun and a hammer. I have a separate post on how to stretch a canvas on  a wood frame.


I found a really good youtube video on how to stretch a canvas over a solid wood frame :))) My 4 year old helps me to stretch my canvases  – so it not only gives me cheap and high quality stretched canvasses but also is lots of fun!

Custom made wood frame 20*30
Custom made wood frame 20*30

Roll of canvas - gesso primed on one side





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *