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Grumbacher tube by Coulter. Ink sketch, colored in PhotoShopFollowing are some recommended beginners art supplies. If you have questions, please contact me.

Paint Surfaces For Oil or Acrylic Painting:

NOTE: Oil painters purchse only the supplies that are identified as for Oil painters or are generally suggested.

Oil Painters: one canvas pad 16 x 20 (produced by Frederick and called "the Real Thing"

Acrylics: Either a canvas pad (preferred) or canvas boards

(For practice and to save money, you can use prepared surfaces such as gessoed paper, canvas paper, or primed but unstretched canvas (I prefer you use this last but it's optional. You can also get canvas in pads called: The Real Thing) If you are painting with acrylic, you can use various kinds of paper, such as watercolor paper or matboard, as well as canvas.)

Useful but not mandatory: A drawing pad (I suggest 60 or 70 lb paper and at least 11 x 14 inches), 2B or 4B pencil, pencil sharpener. Eraser (artgum or kneaded) masking tape and some kind of board if not using a pad or stretched canvas.


For Oil Painters only: Natural Bristle Flats: #4,and #6. (If you prefer rounds or brights, these are acceptable) I recommend natural bristle brushes for oil painting, but you can use synthetic. Synthetic bristles give a sharper edge when painting.)

Brush Cleanup for oil: Brushes need to be cleaned -- preferably before you leave at end of class. You can use any soap, but I recommend ArtGel by Windsor Newton.

For Acrylic Painters only: Synthetic Flats: 1/4 Inch wide and 1/2 inch wide. (If you prefer rounds or brights, these are acceptable, but I'd prefer you get synthetic bristle brushes, such as Winsor Newton University Gold or Princeton Best Synthetic Bristle Brushes -- at least at first -- and that they be at least this large.) (Note: you don't have to ue Flats, and if you've been painting for some time, you may have an assortment of shapes and sizes. Flats are just a good brush for a wide variety of uses.)

Brush Cleanup for acrylic: Brushes need to be cleaned and kept wet frequently. No kidding. Acrylic mediums dry fast. When not using a brush, keep it in water. And give brushes a thorough cleaning -- preferably before you leave at end of class. You can use any soap, like dishwashing soap, or any of the soaps carried in the art store.

Colors: Recommended minimum colors:

Note: I don't believe that an artist should have to buy "every color and shade off the shelf" and that's why I recommend the following limited palette. You can actually learn to make any color or shade or tint with the following colors. The concept is that the primary colors as they exist in paint are not pure, so you need to have both a "warm" and a "cool" varient of each primary color. In other words, You need both a "greenish" or cool yellow, and an "orangish" or warm yellow, a warm and cool red (orangy and rosy) and a warm and cool blue (thalo and ultramarine.)

If this is your first class and you are not sure you will continue, you may want to get one of the little "beginner's kits" in either oils or acrylics marketed by Reeves. I think the kits containing 18 colors run about $18 for acrylics and $24 for oils. But if you get Reeves sets, get in addition a large (150 ML tube) of white and a 37 ml tube of Ultramarine Blue.

Or — if you want to jump right in — get individual 37ML tubes of paint in the colors noted below. (NOTE: Windsor Newton’s student brand “Winton” or any other student grade oil such as Grumbacher Academy or Gamblin Sketching oils is OK. DO NOT PAY $15 per TUBE)

Titanium White (150 ML Tube)
37 ML Tubes of the following:
Alizarin Crimson
Cadmium Red (medium) -- or any rich warm red (Cadmium tends to be expensive)
Cadmium Yellow Medium (or light) (Substitute Hansa Yellow for better price)
Titanate Yellow (may be called other names such as zinc yellow – but it is a slightly greenish yellow. If you already have a cool yellow, such as lemon yellow, or pale yellow, bring that)
Thalo (Phthalo) Blue or Prussian Blue or Windsor Blue (a greenish blue)
Ultramarine Blue (French Ultramarine) (a "reddish-blue")
Burnt Sienna

Acrylic Painters: optional but useful: large tube of CASEIN WHITE (available from http://www.jerrysartarama.com/art-supply-stores/online/4665)

More advanced students:

add green and perhaps brown
Viridian Green or Thalo Green (I prefer Thalo)
Burnt Umber


Oil Mediums: Odorless Turpentine (Turpenoid - at least a quart) or other substitute (White spirits or Gamsol but not Turpenoid Naturel)
Liquin or linseed Oil or Stand Oil (or Damar Varnish.) (I prefer Liquin to other mediums and recommend it. There are other brands)
Turpentine container-- 6 oz jar or larger, tight cap.

Acrylic Mediums: Water (and a big jar to give you plenty of room to clean your brush), and either Mat or Gloss Acrylic medium (this improves flow and transparency and gloss of the color. You can work without it but I don't recommend it. If you want to slow the drying time of acrylics, you can also get a medium called a "retarder" or "blending medium."


A coated paper palette will do, or buy some freezer paper at the grocery store and make your own palette by taping it to a board. Please note: A coated palette feels shiny, like waxed paper.

Palette carrier (Optional)
Masterson Sta-Wet Palette Seal is a sort of plastic box that fits around a 12 x 16 paper palette and seals it very well, so that paints stay wet longer. It's also handy if you're having to bring your supplies to each class. It's worth its cost.


Metal Palette knife (for cleaning palette. DON'T LET THEM SELL YOU A PLASTIC ONE. THEY"RE WORTHLESS!!!)
Paper Towels or rags.
Medium container (same) Jar to hold brushes (optional but useful)
Apron or painting shirt (optional)
A large carrying bag to put this all in. Possibly a luggage cart to schlep everything.

Optional for acrylic painters: spray bottle

More information on Acrylics is on my acrylic class_info page.

Where to get supplies:

Michaels Store in Reston is not particularly good for artist's supplies, unfortunately. I've had more luck with catalogues. Here are some possible sources on the WEB. Plaza Arts in Fairfax has a better selection and they can help you with selection.

www.utrecht.com --- 1-800-223-9132


www.dickblick.com -- 1-800-447-8192


www.danielsmith.net -- 1-800-426-6740


www.jerrysartarams.com -- 1-800-827-8478

Last updated: September 7, 2013