When you are first starting out in oil painting on canvas, you shouldn’t go overboard on supplies. It’s best to start with the basics. When you become more experienced, you can then try out different supplies until you find the items you are most comfortable working with.
Some of the supplies you will need are the following:
Oil Painting Brushes – Brushes come in various sizes and shapes from flats to bright to rounds. They are also available at various prices. Brushes are something you should definitely spend a bit extra on and shoot for quality. You don’t want cheap brushes. Cheap brushes are a huge headache mainly because they shed hair and lose their shape quicker than quality brushes. The types of brushes you purchase really depend on the type of painting you plan on doing: landscapes, portraits, impasto work, etc., all call for certain types of brushes. You will only learn this over time as you become more experienced and develop your own style. For starters, purchase a few flats of various sizes, a few small rounds for detailed work and a fan for blending. Make sure to also purchase a good brush cleaner and preserver.
Oil Paints – Oil paints also vary in price and quality. There are some very good paints on the market today. There are different grades of paint. There are student grade paints and professional grades. Some experts advise you to work with the professional grades, as the colors are more brilliant than student grade paints. I guess its ok in the beginning to purchase a lesser quality for learning and experimentation. Artist color choices vary. Some prefer a limited palette of only a few colors, while others prefer to have a variety of different colors at their disposal.
Oil Painting Mediums – Medium preference varies greatly from artist to artist. I think every artist has his or her own mixtures and formulas like linseed and poppy oil. There are other mediums available but I recommend that you try your own mediums and recommendations from artists until you find something that produces the results you are after.
Canvas and Other Supports – The popular support that many artists work with is cotton canvas, but there are other supports available. Some other choices are linen canvas, boards and canvas paper for instance. You could also buy rolled canvas and stretch your own if desired. This again is something you have to experiment with until you find a support that works best with your style of painting. I recommend starting with a few smaller to medium sized canvases.
Palette – Palettes are made from various materials including glass, wood, plastic, and even paper.
Easels – Easels are also available in various sizes and price ranges. You will need a good stable easel to paint on; otherwise, your canvas will wobble around when you paint. This can be quite frustrating. You also need to decide whether you will be painting primarily in your studio or if you are an outdoor painter. If you are painting outdoors you should consider purchasing a French easel.