Starting an oil painting can be quite challenging, and for many years I used the same products, tips, and techniques I learned from the beginning. I did not venture off from these products. I wanted to share some basic tips, tools, and techniques that helped me along. I included a short description of each product, tool, and or technique along with a picture of it.
For beginning an oil painting these are the basic products I use:
Silicoil brush cleaning tank
Brawny paper towels
Paint tube wringer
When starting an oil painting, you do not have to go out and buy several color tubes. I only use 7 (seven) tubes of oil. The brand I use is Windsor Newton Artists Oil Colors. Buy a small tube at first. (Do not buy HUES)
These are the colors I use:
-Permanent Alizarin Crimson
-Cadmium Red Light
-Cadmium Yellow Light
I use a combination of bristle, flat, filbert and bright. For the background, I use the Bristle brushes only. All other parts to the painting, (Barbie, her plastic skin, hair, wardrobe), I use synthetics and sable. Synthetic sables are good for the first coat. A great synthetic brush is the line from Winsor & Newton Monarch Synthetic Brushes. For additional coats and technical parts, I like sables.
Winsor & Newton Monarch Sytnhetic Brushes
Princeton 7000 Kolinsky Sable Brushes
This brush is great for a final smooth blend. I do not use this brush for the technical parts, just the background and larger parts of the oil painting.
Next to brushes, I would say my palette knife is the second most important tool because I am constantly mixing colors. I suggest you start with a really good stainless steel towel-shaped palette knife. Make sure it has buoyancy.
A tempered safety glass palette is the best surface to mix colors and is ideal for paint mixing. The surface is non-porous, smooth and easy to clean. Oil paint can be cleaned off quickly and if it hardens, it can be scraped off with a metal scraper. Place a piece of white construction paper underneath the glass palette before you begin mixing colors.
For a medium, I use Refined Linseed Oil. I mix a little bit in the oil paint so the consistency is like mayonnaise.
SILICOIL BRUSH CLEANER TANK
Silicoil Brush Cleaner Tank is the best. It allows you to clean your brushes between new colors, leaving brushes clean. Fill your Silicoil Brush Cleaner Tank with Turpenoid, (right below the coils). Just swirl it around the coil and then blot your brush on your Brawny paper towel. Side note: clean out your Silicoil when you see color at the bottom. (Dump it in an old coffee can and then take it to one of those recycling places for old paint and solvents). Then add Turpenoid to your Silicoil.
Odorless Turpenoid is an excellent oil paint thinner and brush cleaner. Simply pour some Turpenoid in your Silicoil Brush Cleaner Tank (up to the coils). Replace as needed.
I use Brawny brand paper towels to blot my brush after I use the Silicoil Brush Cleaner Tank. I blot excess Turpenoid after I use the Silicoil Brush Tank Cleaner onto the folded paper towel. Brawny is the best because it does not have fibers in it.
PAINT TUBE WRINGER
A paint tube wringer is great for getting all of the color out of your paint tube so you don’t waste any oil paint. Simply start at the bottom and turn the crank to flatten the end. This tube wringer is also great for cosmetics and lotions.
FELS-NAPTHA LAUNDRY SOAP OR ZOTE LAUNDRY SOAP
I use these soaps to wash the brushes. Both of these soaps are great and you can find them at a grocery store. I have found the Zote Laundry Soap at the 99 cent dollar store. After I dip my brushes into the Silicoil and get the paint off, I take my brushes to the sink and I swirl each brush onto the soap bar and then I rub gently on the sides of a metal strainer. This process has worked the best for my brushes.
I use a metal strainer with a handle to clean and wash my paint brushes. You can buy a cheap metal strainer (used for pasta) at the 99 cent store. After dipping excess oil paint in the Silicoil brush tank, I place the soap in the center of the strainer. I swirl the brushes in the soap and rub the brush gently against the sides of the metal strainer. I repeat this a few times until the paint is washed off the brush. Then, I let the brushes air-dry overnight.
I use a palette scraper to clean off excess oil paint on my glass palette. This scraper is great for dried up oil paint on your glass palette. At the end of the day, I use the scraper so the glass palette will be clean and ready to use the next time. You can get this scraper at any hardware store.