11.12.2007 at 05:51 |  

By Simon GoodwinPublished: 11/8/2007

How to Oil Paint - Oil Painting Supplies
When you start oil painting it is incredibly difficult to know what equipment you should buy. We all walk into our local art shop and spend a fortune on new paints, brushes and canvas. This quick article was written to give my view on what you need as a hobby artist
When you are learning how to oil paint, it can be easy to spend a fortune on equipment. This really is not necessary. Most magazines, books and videos I have read or seen always say that you should buy the best equipment you can. Which is fine if you can afford it, personally I am a working man with a mortgage and bills to pay. Most people have a budget and I would like to share with you how I managed to balance the bills and my hobby.
Canvas: Canvases can be bought obviously at art and craft shops, but have a look around, I recently bought some smaller canvases at the local pound shop (small shop where all items cost one pound sterling in the UK). Oh and if you do use an art shop on a regular basis ask them if they will give you some Student discount, I asked and they gave me 20% on everything I purchase. You can also paint on plywood, MDF board, and even hardboard. If you buy from a large DIY store they even have the facilities to cut it to size for you. All of these surfaces must be prepared properly, you will need to rub them down with fine sandpaper and then apply the base coats.
Basecoats: A lot of artists use Gesso which is a chalk based white liquid. Gesso has been used for centuries by painters. The downside is it's quite expensive! Personally I use Acrylic primer/undercoat. Available from decorators stores, it's water-based and dries very quickly. I usually put six coats on, gently rubbing down with sandpaper to remove any nibs in between coats. When you go to your local shop simply ask for acrylic white undercoat, and you should find it costs around $5 for a largish pot.
Oil Paints The oil paints I use are sold in 38ml , and I generally buy student's quality paint. They are about £3.00 a tube sometimes a little bit more depending on the color. I have found Daler-Rowney to be quite a good compromise in terms of pigment and price. Artists quality oil paint can reach as high as £12.00 a tube. This is because the pigments they use are purer. However for hobby purposes you would not really notice the difference. I have only ever bought the top quality paints for specific jobs or for comissions.
If I was buying a set of paints from scratch the ones I would be looking for initially are:
Lamp Black
Titanium White
Flake Yellow (or Cadmium Yellow)
Ultramarine Blue
Alizarin Crimson
Burnt Umber
Raw Sienna
Yellow Ochre
These would probably be sufficient for most painting you will need to do.
I have purchased expensive brushes and middle price ranged brushes and to be quite honest have found no difference in use. Over the years I have collected dozens of brushes but at best only ever use about six to complete a painting, and one of those is a fan brush used for softening edges. Where possible buy student or midpriced brushes they will be more than sufficient in quality terms.
Pallets are sold in varies shapes and sizes oblong, round, and kidney shaped, in numerous materials plastic, wood etc, I've tried them all and while the kidney shaped ones do look very arty, in daily use I find them heavy and cumbersome. The problem with proper palletes is you also have to spend half an hour cleaning them. Now I don't know about you but I cant be bothered, I have a life and a limited amount of time to spend painting. I don't want to spend my time cleaning and scraping. So my personal choice is to use plastic throwaway white plates, the type used at parties. The white helps me to see the exact colour I'm mixing and when I have finished I throw them away, easy huh?
Pure Artist Turpentine is made from pine trees and is sold in small bottles in art shops. It's roughly £3.00 for a small bottle. In the past thinners was used for thinning out your paint, and to make it dry quicker. However nowadays there are better substances for this job. I will discuss these below. Instead I buy turps substitute for a £1 a bottle, I mostly use this to clean my brushes not to thin my paint. You can buy turps substitute from your local DIY or hobby shop
Mediums - And I'm not talking Doris Stokes
Mediums are used to thin oil paint and make some lovely glazes, the medium I use is Liquin Original, it's great in use and also helps the paint to dry quicker. Available from art shops in small and large bottles (brilliant stuff), and much less expensive than buying pure turps. This should get you started on your first paintings, always remember to clean your brushes properly, and take your time, it doesn't matter if it takes six months to do your first picture!
Posted by jt


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