5- tips on getting started with oil paints

I had quite a few people inquire about using oil paints when they came to visit my studio for Portland Open Studios, so I thought on Thursdays I would do some helpful tips on how to get started.  I have taken a couple of college classes in art but the majority of the information I have learned on my own.  Also these are just tips that work for me, there are a million ways to use oil paints. I know when I first started using oil paints I would go into the art store and see a lot of stuff and I was intimidated.  It took me awhile to figure out what to use and what works for a starting point. I will start with a supply list, oil paints are expensive so it's easier to buy gradually and then know what to upgrade later.

Top 5 supplies you need to get started.
1.  Turpenoid- used to thin out your oil paints and clean your brushes.  Also you can use Gamsol by Gambin.  You don't have to buy a huge container of it to start out with.  I still don't buy the huge containers, but the medium ones.
2.   Refined Linseed Oil or a Walnut Oil used to increase flow of your oil paints. There are a lot of different types of oil that you can use instead but linseed/walnut is just a good basic starting off point.
3.  Pack of Oil Paints- they have those starter packs at any art supply store.  I would suggest like a Winsor Newton starter pack because it's a little bit better quality of paints and they sell it at Michaels and you can use a 40% off coupon.  I think it's great to buy a really good quality of oil paints however when you are just starting out get a decent set not the most expensive set. Also oil paints last much much longer then acrylic paints.  A tube of oil can last me months.. like 6 months or longer.  I think I go through white paint maybe every 2-3 months and I buy the regular sized tubes of paint. :)Buy a starter set- it's the best bang for your buck.
4.  Brushes- I prefer a round synthetic 90 cent brush from my local art supply store, but the main thing is get brushes that the hair doesn't fall out of the brush.  I prefer a soft brush because I get a smooth finish but get whatever feels comfortable for you to play around with the paint with.  Also read the signs that say use with oil paint.  :)
5.  Little Plastic Cups- They are about a $1-2 dollars but plastic are fine to start out with but you can always upgrade to the metal cups later. This is to hold your linseed oil/turpenoid.  Some people use jars but I prefer the cups.

Good luck! Let me know if anyone has questions on supplies.  Don't be intimidated!. :)   

1 comment

melina bee said...

a great resource I'd like to recommend is Ralph Mayer's The Artist's Handbook, it does a good, almost scientific job of explaining techniques and materials