Art Supply: Oil Painting

Art Supply: Oil Painting

Oil painting is such an expressive, relaxing and therapeutic pastime that there’s no wonder more and more people are deciding to give it a go. You will need a few essentials before you start, you can either treat yourself to a “beginners kit” (or put it on your Christmas list) or alternatively you can pick out the stuff you’ll need for yourself.

Paint brushes are probably the first thing you’ll think of. Now then, there are two kind of ways to go here, first of all, if you invest in some really top quality brushes and look after them properly they’ll last you for years, alternatively, if you’re not sure whether this is just another phase you’re going through and you want to get started as cheaply as possible, you could buy some cheap brushes and replace them with better ones later on if necessary.  However much you want to pay, you need a variety of shapes and sizes of brushes:

  • a medium sized fan brush
  • medium and larger flat tipped brushes
  • medium and larger round tipped brushes
  • long tip brush
  • pointed tip brush

Mineral spirits and glass jars (with lids) for cleaning. You can use any jar really, as long as it’s big enough (spaghetti jars are just the job). Now then, the best way to do this is to have two jars, half fill one of the jars with spirits (or a mixture of water and spirits) and use it for cleaning your brushes and thinning down paint. When you’ve finished painting for the day, simply put the lid on the jar and leave it. The next day (after 8 hours or so) you’ll find that most of the paint has sunk to the bottom of the spirit, so you can simply pour the “almost clean” spirit into the second jar and throw away the dirty bit in the bottom. At the end of this session, do the same again and then you can transfer it to the other jar again next time – it’s so simple it’s brilliant.

Pallets are a necessity even when you first try your hand at oil painting, but expensive pallets aren’t. You can simply use corrugated cardboard in the beginning, although some paint will seep into the card and it will dry out a bit quicker, alternatively use cheap plastic containers (save your old ice cream tubs) or a pack of purpose made disposable pallets. 

Paints (I bet you thought we’d never get to paint didn’t you?) is similar to brushes, you can pay a lot for it, or you can pay a lot less. It’s usually bought in plastic tubes with extremely exotic names which have very little to do with the actual color inside. There should be a sample of the color on the tube though, somewhere (maybe the lid). You’ll need a pretty large tube of white, a pretty large tube of black and smaller tubes of a variety of other colors (you mix your own shades darling, that’s what it’s all about). Try some of these favorites:

  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Raw Umber
  • Light French Ultramarine
  • Alizarin Crimson

That should get you going for starters!

Cloths and Cover Ups – the one thing which you must remember about oil paints is that it won’t come out – it won’t come out of your carpet and it certainly won’t come out of your clothes. Shower curtains are better on the floor than sheets which won’t protect from any major spillage, and if you don’t feel ready for an artists smock yet, at least cover yourself up with an overall of some sort.

Art Supply: Pencil Drawings

What Art Supplies Do I Need For Pencil Drawings?

“I can’t draw”. How many times have you heard people say that, but you might be surprised at the number of people who find that they actually can draw, once they set their mind to it, what they really mean is that they didn’t know that they could draw.  Starting to draw is just like anything else, you need to practice and you need to learn. Many people have never even picked up a pencil since they were at school and are often surprised at how much they can improve with practice and what a really relaxing and satisfying pastime drawing really can be.

Art Supplies Needed for Pencil Drawings

Pencil drawings are often the best place to start if you’re not sure whether it’s really for you or not. You don’t need much equipment and you won’t make too much mess (no paintbrushes to clean). Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pencils – a pencil is not just a pencil you know, they are not all the same, some are hard and some are soft, and some are perfect for drawing. You need to get a bit of a selection going here, try starting with 2H, HB, 2B, 4B and 6B – that should cover it. By the way, pencils aren’t made of lead anymore, they’re made of graphite these days. Now then, one more thing about your pencils, you will find that blunt or rounded pencils are great for some effects, and for others you need a needle sharp point. So, that leads nicely on to the next thing you’ll need,
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Erasers – we all make mistakes but with pencil, it doesn’t have to be permanent! Just erase it and start again – brilliant!
  • Paper – there are different grades and sizes of paper, you’re probably best to just set yourself off with a nice sketch pad but make sure that the pages are easily removed, just in case you want to frame one of your masterpieces.
  • Smudger – sometimes you want to create that smudgy effect, so you’ll need something to smudge with – stands to reason.
  • Drawing board – if you have a drawing board which has lines and graph type dimensions, it really can help you to keep your drawing in perspective. That’s a handy hint isn’t it?
  • Table with cover – put a piece of plastic or something similar over your best bit of polished dining table before you start.
  • Light – you need to be able to see what you’re doing, and a good portion of daylight (or daylight bulbs) are the best way to do that. You don’t have to splash out on an artists studio just yet, sitting by the window might help.