Thursday, July 18, 2013

Oil Painting Supplies

I was like a kid in a candy store when it came time to purchase supplies for my two week painting course on Nantucket!

SUPPLY LIST provided by the professor

Brushes: bristle flat and round, assorted I spent a solid half hour standing in front of the brushes at the Blick store near Fenway. At least twice a sales associate asked if I needed help. (of course not, I could figure it out! eh) I bought three sizes each of rounds, filberts and brights. I also got a fan brush because Bob Ross always had one! After the two weeks, I realized that I stuck to the brights and rounds, so I will need to purchase more of a selection. After some reading before leaving, I also bought some cheap, one inch wide brushes for washes and a foam roller. I used both.

Metal palette knives, assorted Our professor is loyal to one and only one palette knife. He does not use a brush in his own work. I tried, but they are not my favorite thing. I purchased one for mixing and two for painting, one rounded and one angular, both Blick brand.

Transporting stretched canvas
10-15 gessoed surfaces for painting (minimum 12" x12", maximum any size you can easily carry), choice of stretched canvas, masonite panel or gessoboard The majority of my painting surfaces we bought at Michaels. I kinda hate that fact (since I used to work there and know how marked up things can be), but there was no way I could lug that many canvases on the train home from Blick. I did buy a few from Riverside Art which is a store I would go to in college. It is really out of the way so the trip was more for nostalgia. I bought fifteen and only used eight. I painted slowly the first week, sticking to canvas boards. The second week I used stretched canvas and enjoyed the bigger sizes and the texture of the surface.

Bottle of Glkyd or Galkyd Light oil painting medium
Container of Gamsol odorless mineral spirits
For both of these, I was really happy to have a brand recommendation. I have nothing to compare to, but I liked both. The Galkyd helps with the drying time and while I think I painted with thin layers, I didn't have an issue waiting for paint to dry. However the medium did congeal a couple of times, I am guessing from heat and humidity.

2 small jars with lids I am really happy that I read a book about oil painting before I left, or I would have been totally clueless what these were for! The painting medium and mineral spirits of course.

cotton rags Did you know you can buy bags of these at Lowes? I'll take old undershirts from here on out, but I was happy to know they were available.

wood or paper pad palette I didn't know what I would like best, so I bought both. That's the point of the class to me. I didn't like the wood, but would consider purchasing one with some sort of more washable/less staining varnish or coating. 

6B pencil and small drawing pad for sketches and lecture notes The book I read said never to sketch in pencil. I brought charcoal and drew on my canvas with both pencil and charcoal. I think I liked the pencil better, but I love drawing with charcoal, so I was happy to have it.

1 roll painter's masking tape I didn't realize until the end that this was probably on the list to mask off the edges of the canvases. (Although I find the dribbles of paint interesting, I know it is not professional) I used the tape for the paper palette blowing in the wind, to tie back the curtains to let in the air in the studio and to keep the bags of snacks fresh. I did learn that I prefer Blue Hawk brand to 3M. Blue Hawk held better, but didn't tear or leave residue.

1 roll blue paper towels I had never seen blue paper towels in my life, but in the same aisle in Lowe's as the cotton rags, were blue painter's paper towel. And they are awesome! I like that cotton rags are reusable to a certain extent, but the paper towels were super absorbent and sturdy. I would use them to lay down a wash or to create texture. No crumbly bits left behind!

Beer is most definitely optional, but the box to the right is where I stored my supplies
tool box for carrying supplies I kick myself for getting rid of the tackle box I had in college that held all my art supplies. I bought a new "art bin" from Blick with a removable tray and compartments on the top. Its heavy, but it did the trick.

that's me! my classmate was painting uphill and caught me
folding portable stool or chair This was definitely an optional item. Loving being outside, especially at the ocean, I caved and bought a collapsible stool with a carrying strap, cup holder and back. If you're going to splurge, might as well go big! I used it the few times I painted outside, but I mostly stood. Home for just a few days, I have already used it here!

Artists need beverage options
thermos for water, juice or coffee I always have a water bottle, but bought on the island a travel coffee cup. It was necessary

fast orange or other waterless hand cleaner I was given a box of fifty hand wipes for my birthday and used all of them.

Oil colors:
Titanium white (large tube)
lemon yellow
naples yellow
cadmium orange
cadmium red light
cadmium red deep
yellow ochre
raw sienna
ultramarine blue
phthalo blue
cerulean blue
burnt sienna
burn umber
alizarin crimson
mars and/ or ivory black
This palette was definitely a challenge. In fact, I think it was one of the biggest learning curves for me. I've gotten used to the acrylics and tempera paint at school, so now I had all new colors with new possibilities. And no green! I used lemon yellow the most in order to make green, which was a huge part of my paintings. 
In case anyone is curious, these are the books I purchased and read (for the most part) before I dove into oil painting.

The Oil Painting Book by Bill Creevy I did not read every single word. However there was really great background information about supplies and materials as well as techniques. I was able to figure out a few ways I wanted to start a painting.

Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light & Color by Kevin D. Macpherson For those who have no idea about composition and color this is a great starting point. Once I got through that stuff, there were recommendations about how to start a painting, how to observe, how to build up layers in terms of negative space and shapes and other things we always remind our students but forget ourselves as we are working.

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