Beginners Oil Painting Supply List

Oil painting supplies can be expensive, but the quality can directly impact your work. For example, you can purchase a student pack of paintbrushes and frustrate yourself because you cannot produce the mark you want. Or you can invest in one or two good paintbrushes that you take excellent care of; they will produce for you continuously. The same goes for inexpensive painting surfaces – unless you apply an additional level of gesso, the inexpensive ones will soak up your paint.  

I work with a minimal palette of paint – this will save on your initial investment and force you to learn to mix colors. And your painting will have an excellent harmony.  

Surfaces – 

  • Ampersand Gesso Boards – flat or cradled. 5×7, 8 x 10, or 9 x 12.
  • For purely practice paintings, you can use Canvas painting pads. These are nice because you can cut them out and place them in your sketchbook next to the notes you took from the lesson.  
  • You can also make your boards with birch wood and gesso, but that’s another post. 

Brushes – 

  • Filbert brushes are very popular, but I go back to flats. I like that they can cover a large surface with paint and be used on their sides for a long thin line.  
  • Robert Simmons – I really like this line of synthetic bristle brushes. It can hold a lot of paint and is soft enough for a light touch: size 2 and 6 filberts.
  • Dynasty Synthetic – Synthetic brush that I go back to repeatedly. These are made for watercolor, but I love them: size 2 and 6 flat. 

Palette Knife – For mixing and applying paint.

Palette Scraper – For cleanup.

Paint – I use a minimal palette. Unlike pastels, you don’t need a lot of different colors for oil painting. With this limited palette, you can mix everything you need. I generally use Gamblin and DaVinci paint.

  • Titanium White 
  • Cadmium Yellow Deep
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Cadmium Orange – you can mix this color, but I use it often enough to purchase it.
  • Cadmium Red Medium
  • Transparent Earth Red
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Phthalo Blue
  • Ivory Black

Medium – I love the Daniel Smith medium. I don’t use it for the first layers. However, it is excellent at making the paint move and flow, and it helps the paint dry faster. Plus, you can use it as a wash for later layers.

Palette – Glass palette. So easy to mix paint on and clean up. You can cover it with saran wrap and store your paint in the freezer. It will stay fresh for your next session.

Easel – It does not have to be expensive, but I recommend standing while painting at an upright easel. 

The Extras:

Orderless Gamsol by Gamblin to clean your brushes. 

A Container for your Gamsol – I like ones that include a bottom with a metal coil or screen.

Varnish – After your painting is dry, you will want to protect it with a coat of gloss varnish. I like Gamblin Gamvar Gloss Varnish.

Murphy’s oil soap – for soaking dirty brushes.

Simple Green – works great to clean a dirty palette.

Paper towels – I prefer the blue shop paper towels. I purchase them at Costco.

Gloves – I prefer not to get paint and solvents on my skin. I purchase these at Costco as well. 

I purchase most of my painting supplies from Blick Art Stores. I find they carry most of what I need and delivery is pretty quick. They also offer free shipping if you purchase a certain amount. If you click this link, it will take you to my list of Supplies for Beginning Oil Painters on the Blick website.

Beginners Oil Painting Supplies

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