Christine Lashley - Fine Artist

Oil Painting Supplies
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Supplies for Studio or On-location

Lashley's oil demo at a recent workshop

GETTING STARTED: Here is a comprehensive list for those who want to know more about painting on location and if you want to invest in more items for a workshop or in the future. Supply list is for workshop painting on-location, or classroom.

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

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

Go To: Resources and Web Store Links

Water-mixable Oils Vs. Traditional Oils

I get asked so often what the difference is between the water-soluble oils and the traditional oils. I paint with both types of oil paint (water-mixable and traditional). One big difference is that the water-mixable dries faster (about half the drying time of traditional oils). But, once the painting is dry there is hardly any difference visually or archivally. 

Overall I find that I enjoy the super buttery quality of M. Graham traditional oils, but I still use the water-mixables to start the drawing (first layer). For more information on how my no-solvent painting works you can read my OPA blog post on water-mixable oils.


NOTE ON TRADITIONAL OIL: Yes, I do like traditional oils. But I can't use solvent, due to chemical sensitivity. To avoid using solvent, I have been using M. Graham traditional oils (made with walnut oil) for several years. I love them. I have tried many other traditional brands too (most made with linseed oil). M. Graham paints are extra buttery, some would say almost greasy. An added bonus is that they are made in the USA.

To continue to avoid solvent, I don't clean my brushes. Instead, my used brushes are put in the freezer for the next paint session. Freezing stops the oxidation of the paint drying, so this is an easy solution. This is best if you are painting at least once a week. To prepare for freezing, pinch off excess blobs of paint with a rag (leave paint residue in the brush), wrap in a plastic bag and freeze. You brushes will also thank you by retaining their edge, and not splitting from excess washing. Take brushes out of the freezer and you can continue to paint. 

On occasion I will clean my brushes and this can easily be done with Master's brush cleaner.


For Water-Mixable Paints:

ABOUT YOUR MATERIALS: There are several major paint manufacturers of water-mixable oil paints: Grumbacher (Max - nice, great colors, but can be stiff, caps of tubes can crack and break over time), Holbien (Duo - creamy, nice, a bit more expensive) and Winsor & Newton (Artisan - can be smelly, contain 'hue' colors, and I think less pigment load, inferior), and Royal Talens (Cobra - newer brand, nice and buttery, yet some colors are 'off' such as too-pale cadmium yellows and a too-vivid French Ultramarine, has both small and jumbo tubes of colors). Newer brands have come on the market: such as Weber (sOil), Lukas (Berlin), and Reeves, I have not tried these as the other brands listed above have been around longer and are varied degrees of 'artist grade' so I prefer them. Brands say they can mix with other brands and some even go as far as saying you can mix with acrylic or watercolor. I would be cautious of this mixed media approach, yet think the mixing of oils with oils is fine. I would rate Max, Duo and Cobra as superior. A good book for an overview of water mixable oils is: Painting with Water-Soluble Oils by Sean Dye. (Note: several paints will not be in this book as they are newer.)

PALETTE - There are several choices for palettes you can buy. Wood palette or plexiglas, (for the studio: a sheet of heavy-grade glass that has the edges finished. You can have a glass shop do this, or instead use lots of tape. Or buy a palette of tempered glass). You can also use tin-foil taped to cardboard for a disposable option. Pochade boxes have a built-in palette, some artists like to cut plexi to fit in their pochade box (I have this).

EASEL - For outdoor classes you will need an easel. Good options: a french half or full easel, or a pochade box (see below for source), metal easels can be OK also, but you will probably need a tray or tiny table for your paints, etc. Artists with strong arms can just use a metal easel and hold their palette.

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. For quick paper studies (non-archival) Thunderbolt Kraft 80# paper is useful. A great support (especially for travel) is multimedia Artboard ( "Pintura" panels are archival and rather inexpensive. Cardboard panels are not archival, but ok for student work. Dick Blick sells some basic panels. They work great with the water-mixable oils and have some 'tooth'. Jerry's Artorama (web art store) has 'Creative Mark' or 'Centurion' pre-streched canvas that is high-quality at a decent price. Any store or web site will sell 'student' grade panels, these can also be used but are not archival. RayMar is a favorite choice of professional artists, get the 'feather' weight panels for travel.

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. Synthetic brushes are the way to go with the water-mixable oils. Silver Brush Bristlon is a fantastic brush. Get a sampling of styles and sizes to know your preference. I use flats more than rounds, filberts or brights. Suggestion: Flats size: 2, 4, 6, 8 (it is nice to have 2 each in these sizes for the studio).

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. Tin cup 'palette cup' with lid for water mixable linseed oil. Small wide-mouthed container for water (a glass jam jar works for the studio). For location: a bottom half of a small plastic water bottle for your water 'solvent'... (cut the bottle in half with a bread knife, and use the lower half - easy and lightweight). Easel or pochade box. Hat.

OPTIONAL - Pochade box and tripod. Umbrella. Chair. Drybox or canvas carrier for wet panels. You will want some Kmar Varnish in a spray canister for when your painting fully dries (sometimes this can take a few weeks, or longer). Varnish protects art from dust and grime and will unify the texture of your paint surface.

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 have used MAX / Grumbacher colors, but now mostly Duo/Holbein and Cobra, any brand can be purchased (but Cobra's Cad. yellows are not great). Some brands such as Grumbacher have introductory sets. List below is for Cobra colors with other brands noted.

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 is best); 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: ; ;

Pochade: I recommend the EasyL "Lite" but with some reservations, I have what used to be the Versa (the name has changed to Lite). It is a great easel (pochade box, panel carrier, and tripod), and I have had the old one for many years. The optional metal brush holder tray is great to have. The new 'improved' box has hidden elements that get loose sometimes, this is my only reservation about the new box. It is fairly expensive.

Open M boxes are very popular with professional painters, but are expensive. Coulter boxes and a few new brands have been coming on the market. 

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 ones.

Click here to go to online color charts in a water-soluble web forum

For Traditional Oil Paints:

Same basic material as above list, but instead use traditional oils. NO SOLVENTS in my class please, I teach ways to not use solvent for painting in class. Keep your solvent at home. To clean brushes you can use solvent (at home), Murphey's soap, or Master's Brush Cleaner. I highly recommend Weber Turpenoid Natural which is a great non-toxic brush cleaner. If you need a jar for solvent get a metal 'brush washer' jug, or silcoil system brush cleaner jar and Gamsol. 

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. Graham paint are extremely buttery (and pigment-loaded), which I adore, some might find them greasy. I've tried many brands: Rembrandt, Vasari, Old Holland, Blockx, and Gamblin are all OK, (paint has so many variables however, so please ask me if you have questions on brands). If shopping in another brand do not get 'hue'.

Yellow: **Cadmium Yellow Light; *Cadmium Yellow Medium 
Red: *Quinacridone Red, *Madder Lake (Cobra), **Azo Coral (M. Graham only) 
Blue: **French Ultramarine Blue; *Cerulean Blue; *Thalo Blue; *Cobalt Blue
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)