Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Painting 101: Basic Supplies for the Beginning Painter

Non-“Art” Essentials

·      Old rag or paper towels – for brush/knife cleaning
·      Easel or flat surface to work on
·      Paper bags, old sheet, or drop cloth to cover any area that you want to ensure does not get “painted” by mistake
·      Good light source – large window, lamp, or strong overhead light – I use a basic three light lamp that I got at Target for $20, it works great for lighting my work area

Painting Tools
·      1 ½ inch brush
·      ½ inch brush
·      Mid-sized fan brush
·      Small stencil brush
·      Liner brush
·      Small to medium round paintbrushes (what you typically think of as a painting artist's brush)
·      Small to medium Palette knife

Synthetic or Animal Brushes

While I would not suggest using a basic assorted pack of paintbrushes typically designed for children, I have tried and used both synthetic and animal-hair paintbrushes when painting. Synthetic brushes don’t seem to hold up as long, but can be a cost-effective option for a beginning painter. Go to the painting aisle in your local art supply store, and check out their artist brushes there. I suggest finding a price point that you are comfortable with, and go with that. Look for a very fine edge for the fan and larger brushes, even distribution of the bristles, nothing bent or damaged, and a nice point for the liner and round brushes. I have the most experience using brushes from Daniel Smith (animal hair) which lasted me over two years, before I recently began replacing them, but these of course are expensive and may not be for every budget. Please be sure that whatever brushes you decide to use are designed for oil paint. Check back to this blog, for a more comprehensive review of brushes in the future.

Paint Colors!

I use Daniel Smith paints in all of my paintings and they often have great deals on shipping from their website, link below. I also want to let you all know that I am not affiliated with Daniel Smith or their products in anyway, and I do not receive any monetary compensation for this review whatsoever. I really have found their paints to be amazing to work with, and would like to point other painters in their direction because of this fact alone. I am still using their paint two years after purchasing, and they have yet to dry out and mix perfectly well – if you can see the color in your head then you can get to happen on the palette, magic! The 37ml size will last you at least a year or more, depending of course on how much you paint. In my “Cloudy River painting time-lapse video, I only utilized the 8 basic colors listed below. I just went on to the Daniel Smith website, at the date of the post, and complied these paints (37ml size) into one shopping art—the total cost: $125.54, including shipping. These colors are the foundation to any beginning palette and have worked well for most of my painting needs to this point.

Titanium White
Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue
Ultramarine Blue Deep
Burnt Umber
Lemon Yellow
Cobalt Blue
Yellow Ochre
Permanent Green

I would also like to suggest a few more colors below to expand your palette, but the colors listed above are the only ones I employed in Cloudy River. These of course will increase the price, but will enable you to paint fall scenes and sunsets landscape paintings with the Crimson and Sienna. The Green and Umber expand your summer and spring and fall landscape-painting palette.  

Alizarin Crimson
Burnt Sienna
Sap Green
Raw Umber

Finally, I would purchase the entire first paint color list if you a beginner painter, and then expand to a wider selection as an intermediate-advanced.


This topic could be a whole post to itself, but for now I will keep this fairly brief. To start out, purchase a pack of the 8x8 Canvas Boards at your local arts supply store. You can see this type of canvas near the start my Cloudy River, Time-Lapse Painting Video. This size is small enough so that you can cover the canvas quickly and complete a painting under two hours. You may also want to try the 11x14 and 12x16 inch canvases, but these will of course take longer to finish. I find that as I increase in canvas size - up the standard size list, I typically add an extra hour or two to complete the painting. Recently, I did an 18 x 24 inch that took me six hours to finish. I would not go larger than 12 x 16 inch to start and recommend smaller canvas sizes to begin. I will not recommend any brands here, just go with what is cost effective for now, especially if you are just starting out, because these are essentially practice paintings, we don’t need to purchases really high-end material just yet.

Most of all – just have fun!!!

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