Welcome to Painting4.com/blog! Share your art experiences & knowledge such as art galleries, museum, computer graphics, education, decorative painting, airbrushing, design art, drawing, international artists.

Oil Painting for Beginners – Tools and Materials

June 21st, 2016 8:31 am

Basic oil painting tools and materials for beginners

Which oil painting tools and art materials do you really need to get started? When you first start to paint in oils, one common mistake often made is to buy too many tools and materials too quickly.

Why is this a ‘mistake’? There are two reasons. The first is that it can get very expensive as you’ll find a huge range of oil paint, solvents, oils, palettes, brushes, palette knives and all manner of things tempting you to splash the cash. But then, you might say, “I can well afford it, so now what’s the problem?”

The problem is that it’s better to start with a limited range of oil paints, a few well-chosen brushes, a home-made, large palette, and the minimum of inexpensive materials in large quantities so that you can experiment and really work at mixing colours, exploring textures and trying out techniques.

Once you’ve mastered oil painting and oil painting techniques, you can develop your own style and by then you’ll know which colours, which brushes, which canvases you are really going to use, and you can then go ahead and buy them.

This is in answer to the question asked by GA Anderson

What are the basic supplies needed to take up oil painting as a hobby?

Art Easels

You might be surprised to find that I’m going to start with an easel. I consider the easel to be the main art tool. Invest in a really good, solid, adjustable easel and it will last you your whole life.

An easel is expensive, but an expenditure well worth making. You can always buy second hand as a good easel is made to last.

I’m going to suggest three types of easel: a radial easel, a desk easel and a travel easel.

Radial Easel

This is the easel that I have and the one you should get if you have space to put it and you are fit enough to stand. This type of easel is the sort professional artists use and the sort you’ll find in art schools. It allow you to work on various sizes of supports and you can adjust it up and down, forwards and backwards.

You can move towards your work and then stand back to see what you have actually done. You can also draw with your whole arm and also place the support, (board or canvas), in the same plane as your subject.

This easel will fold up if necessary.

Studio easel

Although the radial easel is a studio easel, I have called the American easel a studio easel for the sake of clarity. These easels are stable and substantial. They will accommodate large works and are adjustable.

Desk easel

Get a desk easel only if you are not able to stand for long enough periods of time. The advantages of a desk easel are small size and ease of storage, but you will not be able to draw freely with your whole arm. Your movement will be limited and you won’t be able to stand back to see what you’ve actually done.

Travel easel / French easel / Sketching easel

Use these if you don’t have space for a studio easel, or use them for their real purpose, ainting outdoors. They are also known as box easels, (if they have a box incorporated into the structure for paint and brushes, or ‘plein air’ easels, (French for outside!).

These easels are not really heavy enough, or stable enough for professional work in the studio, but they’re good for taking out and about and better than nothing.

A table and a few odds and ends

You need a table. Ideally a nice, big table that you can keep exclusively for painting, so you don’t have to tidy away your things all the time.

Save bits of old clothing etc for rags so that you can clean your palette and brushes. You can use kitchen paper but it’s not as good.

Keep a supply of old bottles and jam jars for your white spirit.

Canvas, stretchers and other supports

Now you have your easel you’ll need something to put on it! For oil painting there are three main supports: canvas, board or paper.

Canvas

Canvas of varying textures and thicknesses are supported by a wooden stretcher, or can be glued onto a board. They are then primed with paint. This is what I’d choose to use for ‘real’ paintings. You can reuse a canvas but you lose the intial texture. You can take the canvas off the stretch and turn it the other way round, but then you lose the initial tension.

Board

For students who want something cheap and easy to practice on, I suggest buying hard board and priming it with an ordinary household emulsion / acrylic paint. Boards are also good if you want a smooth surface, but if this is going to be a masterpiece destined for the art galleries of the world, you need to buy a more up-market primer.

You can also buy commercially produced textured boards. I personally don’t like these, but I suppose it’s everyone to their own taste.

Paper

You can buy paper specially prepared for oil painting, and some have the same horrid texture as the affore-mentioned boards. You can also prime your own paper with good old household emulsion paint, but you’ll have to stretch it first.

Drawing Boards

If you work on paper you’ll need a board to support it. You can just use a piece of plywood from the building merchants or you can buy a special board. I have one of each.

Oil Paint

You don’t need to buy top quality oil paint unless you are a professional who expects their work to be hung in the Louvre. Student quality if fine for beginners. I also think that it is best to start with a limited palette of colours – white, blue, red and yellow. This will get you used to mixing your own colours. You might need a couple of reds to get a good orange and a good purple. As you work you can gradually add the colours you need. For example, I like a Viridian green which I can’t mix easily – very strong and biting. I also like a bright, saturated pink such as magenta.

I suggest you get a Titanium white, a cadmium yellow, a cadmium red, a crimson lake and an ultramarine.

Don’t buy black if you are just starting out. Beginners use black to deepen colours and this often creates muddy colours. Grey’s made with black are often dead. Mix your own darks and greys.

Oil and thinner

You will need lindseed oil to mix glazes and thin the paint, turpentine to thin the paint and you need white spirit to clean your palette and brushes. Buy the white spirit from the DIY section of your local supermarket or building suppliers. You can also use ordinary white spirit instead of turpentine to thin the paint. I’d just use that for students and beginners.

Pallets and palette knives

You can buy posh wooden palettes in ‘arty’ shapes with thumb holes and the rest, but I like to use pieces of hardboard. I like a nice big palette and I don’t like to have it too clean, (as you can see from my pictures). This is partly because I’m slovenly, but mostly because I like to retain a memory of my mixed colours.

I think you need a nice, big board so you can mix your colours without being cramped and restricted. About 500cm square would be my ideal.

Palette knives

You need a palette knife to clean your palette, but also to apply paint, depending on your style. I like a flat, or straight palette knife, but you might also like to choose a diamond knife. You could get a set so that you have the choice.

Brushes for oil paint

For beginners I think sets of brushes are a good idea. I use sable, nylon/synthetic and hogs hair. I find the first two interchangable, but the latter are good when you want a stiffer brush.

You’ll need a range of brushes from small, soft brushes with a fine tip for detailed work or fine lines, and wider brushes to get paint onto the canvas. You’ll need round brushes and flat ones. Get a range of reasonably priced brushes until you have established your style and needs.

Every artist is different

These are just my ideas, but other artists have different ideas about how to set themselves up and which materials they like. Here are a couple of other artists who share their working methods with you.

Hand Painted Canvas Wall Portrait

September 28th, 2015 4:13 am

A hand painted canvas wall portrait brings to life a special memory that you have shared with your loved ones. As you admire the beauty of a high quality portrait, you will never fail to remember the moments that you wish to relive. Even when you are no longer with a family member or friend featured in the portrait, you can always look back and imagine the fondest memories that you shared together. This is what a high end portrait does – it preserves your treasured memories with the ones you love even after years have passed.

A Top Quality Portrait is an Important Investment
Perhaps you have thought of hiring a professional who can produce a quality portrait of your family or friends. This is a better option instead of relying on someone who does not have the expertise and skill in creating an outstanding portrait that is worth your time and money. Only an experienced photographer understands what it takes to create the finest portrait that will last for years. These professionals know how to apply ingenuity, as well as the latest techniques, in producing a wonderful work of art. You can tell the major difference between a mediocre portrait and a masterpiece crafted by a true genius in photography.

Outdoor Photography Vs. Studio Work
Nature brings great appeal to any photos, and you will realize this fact as you flip through the pages of a magazine that feature beautiful landscapes or images of nature. There is an atmosphere of vibrancy and serenity in various sceneries such as mountains, lakes, or gardens. You may want to consider having these impressive scenes as the backdrop for your portrait. Instead of choosing studio work, you may opt to go for outdoor photography. You will appreciate the tranquility of these scenes that exude a traditional and warm appeal. Combined with the exquisite setting and natural light outdoors, you can be sure that the portrait will appear enchanting and breathtaking.

Hiring A Professional Outdoor Photographer
It makes sense to hire only the top-rated and reputable photographer who has the artistry and skill in creating the finest hand painted canvas wall portrait. Why go for an inexperienced photographer when you can always rely on the professional work of experts? It is not a wise decision to work with those who may offer a cheap price for the portrait, yet sacrificing the quality results. Only a talented photographer knows how to apply the right amount of light, angles, and color combination that make a remarkable portrait. These professionals also coordinate with their clients, so they will know how to produce the best portrait that will exceed expectations.
You should make it a point to check sample works of photographers that you plan to hire. Make sure that you discuss your ideas regarding the backdrop or setting for the portrait. You will be amazed with the skill and brilliant ideas of professional photographers. These experts can ensure you of a quality portrait that will never fall below your standards.