Christine Lashley - Art Classes & Workshops

Oil Painting Supplies
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Supply List for Studio or Plein Air Oils

Lashley's oil demo at a recent workshop

Go To Dick Blick Sample Cart: Fresh Style Oils (Traditional oils)

Go To Dick Blick Sample Cart: Fresh Style Oils (Water-mixable oils)

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Solvent-free Painting: Water-mixable Oils and Traditional Oils

WHY SOLVENT FREE? I can't use solvent, due to chemical sensitivity. I use a direct paint method (alla-prima) or progressive layers. Water-soluble oils and traditional oils are both 'real' oils. I paint with both types of paint in a solvent-free method: a light wash of water-mixable to tone the canvas, draw and block in (using Transparent Oxide Red, Cobra), and then switch to traditional paints using a knife and/or brush.

You can paint with all water-mixable paints, or, like I do, a mix of both. Water-mixable dries a little bit faster so it makes a great underpainting. It's also handy for travel. Overall I find that I enjoy the super buttery quality and high pigment content of M. Graham traditional oils. I've tried many paint brands and these seem to suit my methods best. I do have a few other colors from different brands on my palette.

To clean my brushes while painting I can use walnut oil, but I often just use a 'light, medium and dark' brush and switch freely between colors without cleaning. For a full cleaning after use, I use Turpeniod Natural and Master's Brush Soap. You can also put brushes in the freezer for the next paint session. Freezing slows the oxidation of the paint drying. Pinch off most excess paint with a rag (leave paint residue in the brush), wrap in a plastic bag and freeze. Brushes stay useable for about 2 weeks. Freezing does not harm the paint or your brushes. 

My solvent free method is easy to do, and much better for your health and the environment.


Supplies and Paints:

ABOUT YOUR MATERIALS: There are many choices of supplies. You may already have some materials. Buy the best supplies you can afford. Use 'artist grade' paints. 'Student' paints have filler in them and you do not get as much pigment. 

EASEL - For outdoor classes or workshops you will need an easel. Good options: a french half or full easel, or a pochade box (see below for details and sources), display easels can be OK also, but you will need a tray or tiny table for your paints, or hold your palette in your hand. 

PAINT - See lists below for full water-mixable oil list or traditional oil list. If you want to use my paints exactly, I use the traditional oil list (this includes one tube of water-mixable paint to draw and tone the canvas).

MEDIUM - Walnut oil and Gamblin Solvent-Free Gel. 

PALETTE - The best is an acrylic or wood palette for class, or tempered glass for the studio. Paper disposable palettes can be flimsy and wick oil out of the paint, but they are handy for class. Pochade boxes have a built-in palette, you can cut plexi to fit in a wood pochade box and caulk the edges to seal (I have this). 

WHAT TO PAINT ON - Many choices... You can paint on paper, panels, or canvas. Paper must be prepared with gesso first to prevent the oils from seeping into the paper and ruining it. Jerry's Artorama (web art store) has 'Creative Mark' or 'Centurion' pre-streched canvas and linen panels that are high-quality at a decent price. Any store or web site will sell 'student' grade panels, these are cheap cardboard, not well primed, are not archival, and warp and are not recommended. Fredrix panels are not recommended. RayMar is a favorite choice of professional artists, get the 'feather' weight cotton panels for travel. Wind River panels are a luxurious panel. I get AC14. Students often ask what is the cheapest (but best) option for studies... Centurion panels; or cut canvas (get real canvas fabric that is already primed, not paper board), then tape to a board and mount later if you like the painting. You can also scrape off and repaint your panels, thus saving money.

BRUSHES - Traditional oil brushes made with natural hairs are fine for regular oils (ie: china or boar-bristle, sable, etc.). But these get too floppy with water-mixable oils, and then they can't carry and mix paint. Get synthetic brushes for water-mixable oils. Silver Brush Bristlon is a fantastic brush. I use flats mostly, size: 2, 4, 6, 8 (it is nice to have 2 each). Brushes should be in good condition: no caked paint, and have an edge (not splayed or bent). Rosemary brushes are also excellent but a bit softer. I use mostly Bristlon and Rosemary brushes. 

OTHER - Paper towels, or rags. Baby wipes. Plastic bag for trash/used rags. Smock or apron. Sketch pad for quick studies or notes. Palette knife. Small cup with lid for walnut oil. Small container for water. Easel or pochade box. Hat. 

OPTIONAL - Umbrella. Chair. Drybox or canvas carrier for wet panels. You will want some Kmar Varnish (semi-gloss) in a spray canister for when your painting fully dries (sometimes this can take a few months, or longer). Varnish protects art from dust and grime and will unify the texture of your paint surface (makes dark colors rich and glossy again).


Same basic material as above list. NO SOLVENTS in my class please. To clean brushes you can use Turpeniod Natural and then Master's Brush Cleaner.  

PAINTS - Colors are sold in medium (37ml), and also white in large (150ml). The ** colors are very important, and can be used as a limited palette, then the * colors are nice to have... then others can be purchased as desired. I use M. Graham paints, except as noted.  

Yellow: **Cadmium Yellow Light; *Cadmium Yellow Medium 
Red: *Quinacridone Red, *Madder Lake (Cobra only, or Permanent Alizarin in other brands), **Azo Coral (equals permanent red lt. in other brands) 
Blue: **French Ultramarine Blue; Cerulean Blue; Thalo Blue; **Cobalt Blue, Cobalt Teal (Michael Harding)
Orange: (mix)
Green: Permanent Green Light (Rembrant)
Brown: **Transparent Oxide Red (Cobra water-mixable), yes for traditional oil sets, you will need this or Burnt Sienna in water-mixable, I also use a traditional tube of this color in M. Graham
Other: *Quinacridone Violet (I use MAX water-mix Thio Violet)
White: **Titatium White (large size)

WATER-MIXABLE PAINT LIST (Optional list for all water-mixable oil painting)

PAINTS - Colors are sold in medium (37ml), and also white in large (150ml). The ** colors are very important, and can be used as a limited palette, then the * colors are nice to have... then others can be purchased as desired. I recommend Duo (Holbein), Cobra (Royal Talens) or Max (Grumbacher) paints. List below is for Cobra colors with other brands noted. These paints will clean with soap and water or Masters Brush cleaner.

Yellow: **Cadmium Yellow Light (Duo) or Cad Yellow Lt. Hue; *Cadmium Yellow Medium (Duo) (note: in Duo get Cad Yellow - not hue, Cobra colors in Cad are too pale and watery)
Red: Cadmium Red Light (note: Duo get Cad. Red - not hue) **Pyrol Red Lt. (Cobra),  *Cool Red such as: Madder Lake (Cobra only) or Rose Madder (Duo only) 
Blue: **Ultramarine Blue (Max or Duo, do not get Cobra brand in this color); *Cerulean Blue (Duo); Pthalo Blue;
Orange: (mix)
Green: (mix), Sap Green (Duo)
Brown: **Transparent Oxide Red (Cobra)... if you can't find this Burnt Sienna in other brands will work for this color, you don't need both
Other:  **Thio Violet (Max)
White: **Titanium White (large size, Duo)


Supplies: ; ; ... see pre-made 'basket' list link at top of page.


My Pochade: I mostly use the EasyL "Lite". It is a great easel (pochade box, panel carrier, and tripod). The optional metal brush holder tray is great to have.

Other Paint Boxes I've have and like: Open M, Coulter box, Strada Micro

A good cheap box that comes with a built in glass palette for mixing is Sienna Plein Air box. Note there is a Large or Medium box. See which size is best for you. In class the M box will be fine (supports up to 15" vertical), but if you know you like to paint large, then the L might be a better box (supports up to 17" vertical).

Also for little studies on your lap or a table, the cute, very portable "Thumb box" pochade is great for 6 x 8" (horizontal) or 8 x 10" (vertical) studies.

Wet panel carrier if not included with your easel or pochade box (often these are built on the back). RayMar sells good panel Dry Boxes.