Painting Supplies for Beginners

11 Essential Oil Painting Supplies for Beginners

Artisans Gallery - Three Color Blocks

Have you ever wanted to try oil painting but didn't know where to start? This will guide you through the essential oil painting supplies you may need to get started for a new fantastic artistic journey.

Oil painting can seem confusing and even scary at first especially when it comes to supplies. Besides just the paint you need to stock up on things like turpentine and mineral spirits. Once you can understand the role that each plays, you can start painting with a good understanding of how each supply is a part of the painting process.


Artisans Gallery - Oil Paints

You will need oil paint, obviously. In regards to the type and colors there are a few different options:

When you're first starting there are kits one can purchase which are stocked with all the colors you will need.

When you become comfortable mixing colors, you can start with the bare minimum and by individual tubes of white, black, red, blue, and yellow paints. 200 ml tubes are good sized to start with.


Titanium white, ivory black, cadmium red, permanent alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow light and cadmium yellow.

Not Vital, But Good to Have:

A small tube of phthalo blue is also useful and a very powerful color so probably won't need a large tube. A couple of greens, such as viridian and some earthy browns such as burnt sienna, burnt ochre, raw sienna and raw ochre are also nice to have.

Make sure you are buying oil paint rather than water-soluble paint. Water-soluble oil paint is a great product but that's not what we are talking about here.


Artisans Gallery - Paint Brushes for Begginers

You don't need to break the bank and by every single type of brush especially when you're just getting started. Once you begin you will learn quickly what shapes and sizes of brush you will gravitate towards and what effects you hope to achieve.

For a starter, select one or two small, medium and large round brushes.

Turpentine or Mineral Spirits,

When you use oil paint, you don't clean your brush and water but you clean them with a paint thinning solution. Turpentine is a catchall phrase for the substance but mixtures of odorless mineral spirits are a common substitute.

Jar for Cleaning Brushes

You will need a vessel to store your turpentine or mineral spirits for cleaning your brushes as you paint. There is a jar with a coil inside called a silicoil which is ideal for cleaning brushes. You fill it with turpentine or a mineral spirit mixture and rub the bristles of the brush against the coil to remove excess paint. These jars you can buy in art supply stores.

Linseed Oil or Oil Medium

Beginners get confused about the difference between linseed oil and turpentine and mineral spirits. Like mineral spirits, linseed oil will dilute oil paint. However, its oil base makes it a softer medium to use to thin your oil paint to attain the ideal consistency without losing the paints texture. You would use linseed oil like you would use water to thin watercolor paint.

Newsprint or Rags

These are important for cleaning your brush and drying the bristles after you dipped it in the cleaning solution. Cloth is great but depending on how much you change colors you may want to use plain newsprint.


Artisans Gallery - Palette

This is the term used for the surface upon which you mix your paint. It can be a large piece of glass or ceramic or even a disposable book with pages sold at art supply stores. Make sure it's large enough and you have plenty of room to mix colors and spread out on the palette without feeling crowded.

Painting Surface

Artisans Gallery - Oil Painting Paper

When you are ready to paint and oil, you need something to paint on. It doesn't have to be canvas as most people think. As long as the surface is treated with gesso, which acts as a primer because it keeps the paint from deteriorating service beneath, you can paint on just about any surface, from thick paper to wood.


Artisans Gallery - Charcoal Pencil.png

Some painters do their sketch in paint directly on the work surface but others prefer pencil. Since oil paint is opaque, you can use a soft, broad tip pencil such as a charcoal pencil.


Artisans Gallery - Easel

Some but not all artists work with an easel. It is not required but it can help you from hunching while you paint. If you're just beginning start basic. Try to find a used easel or invest in a small tabletop easel for minimal investment. Painting with a starter easel can inform you of your preferences so when you decide to buy a good one you know what you are looking for.

Painting Clothes

It's inevitable that you will probably get paint on yourself so don't wear anything that you don't want to start looking artistic when you're painting with oils.