Oil Paint Brands
I used to use a lot of student grade paint (Van Gogh, etc) and many of these can be pretty good, but lately I’ve been upgrading and using brands like Gamblin, Rembrandt, Winsor Newton, Utrecht, Williamsburg, etc. I have tried so many brands over the years I have lots of different brands on my palette—It also depends on what color I’m using.—Ice Blue for example is made specifically by Shiva.
Oil Paint Colors
- In general I use a simple or “limited palette”—almost always I use 2 yellows, 2 reds, 2 blues and white. My top three pigments are: permanent rose (maybe my favorite pigment), indian yellow, and ultramarine blue. Note these are all transparent pigments which I like.
- I often add lemon yellow or cadmium yellow light or Winsor Yellow, cadmium red light, pthalo blue, and phthalo green (or phthalo blue green/turquoise).
- I love cadmium colors but do use "hues" or substitute colors such as the Winsor Yellow to keep my palette as healthy as possible.
- Colors I add once in a while (depending on the subject) would be magenta, ivory black, alizarin crimson, cadmium orange or transparent orange, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, transparent red oxide.
- Very rarely do I use earth colors. But I like to keep my options open and I do like to try new colors--it's one of the joys of being an artist!
- White—I try many whites but keep returning to Permalba but sometimes I like the strength and coverage of pure Titanium White
- Important color note: Read your tubes carefully and get to know your pigments. If I'm out of the "Magenta" I like what I really need is PR122. Certain paint colors like "magenta" can vary greatly by brand. Pigment info sites like Handprint and Art is Creation can help you identify and locate certain brands and pigments.
I used to use mostly filberts but now I used a lot of flats. I prefer easy to clean synthetic brushes like Winsor Newton Monarchs and Princeton 6300. And lately have been using Rosemary and Silver Brush Bristlon synthetics (prefered by daily painter Carol Marine).
I also use a variety of painting knives but my favs are the comfy ones with rubber handles that are diamond shapes--I prefer a sharper pointed tip.
I usually use a covered palette box (12x 16) with either gray palette paper or lately I’ve been using a sheet of gray palette paper under a sheet of tempered glass which I order online in a size that fits my covered palette box (the one with the blue lid.) I just wish the floppy lids would stay flat.
I paint on many surfaces. When I'm working in the "opaque over transparent" technique I like Ampersand Gesso Panels. But I also like linen panels. In general, I like the stiffness of a panel but like many artists for my larger paintings I tend to use gallery wrap canvas. I try a variety of brands—usually what’s on sale.
My Medium and Brush Cleaner
My studio is attached to my home and I teach many students each week so I feel strongly about using the most eco-friendly, non toxic products I can find such as walnut oil, linseed oil, Gamblin solvent free mediums and my favorite brush wash: Winsor Newton non toxic brush cleaner. I don’t use any mineral spirits, turps, Liquin, etc.
I'm not a huge fan of gloves so I always use a barrier cream--some I like are Glove in a Bottle and more recently Skin Safer--the peppermint scent is great.
I use two crank easels in the studio—one older Mabef and my newer Renaissance. I'm mostly a studio painter but also have (just in case) a variety of plein air easels--a Coulter, a Strada, and an Open M. Easel hording anyone?
Is a cherry red Harbor Freight rolling tool cart (love it but next time I'd get one with more drawers). For supplies/storage I also have some rolling Ikea kitchen cart as well as several Ikea narrow "ledge style" shelves which can easily hold lots of panels without taking up much space.