You need different sizes of paintbrushes made specifically for oil painting. Also, you need to consider the shape and type of bristles when selecting your brushes. For example, a round shape is good for linear strokes, whereas flat ones are suitable for rectangular strokes.
As for the bristles, good brushes can be made of animal hair or good quality synthetic fibers, sometimes a mixture of both. Hog hair is the most popular for brushes designed for oil colors since it is stiff and can hold thick paint. On the other hand, synthetic bristles are easier to clean and can hold up well even after using solvents and repeated cleaning.
A surface to paint on
Canvas is the most popular surface for oil painting. It usually comes stretched on a light wooden frame or in the form of a canvas board, which is sturdier and can be used for study works and demonstrations. You may also paint on other surfaces such as smooth wooden boards, but you must prime them first to ensure latching.
Tip: Prime your canvas before starting or the oil in the paint will harm the fabric.
When painting, you will need a stand to support the canvas. There are two types of easels, a studio easel that can be sturdier and more sustainable, and an outdoor easel that is lighter and portable.
Tip: Cover your surface or easel before painting to avoid getting paint everywhere. You can do that by simply covering it with cling film or plastic sheets.
There are three kinds of palettes that can be used for oil painting:
- Wooden palette: Classic, yet can be harder to clean, and they need preparing by rubbing linseed oil over them several weeks before using.
- Disposable palettes: They are much better for quick paintings, as you can just throw the used one away when you are done.
- Glass palettes: these are much easier to clean than wood. You can use baby wipes or damp cloths to remove wet paint, or simply let it dry and scrape it off with a glass scraper.
These can be used for thinning out the paint, or cleaning brushes.
Typically, you will need glass jars or containers for your linseed oil and solvents. However, you can also use ice cube trays to keep small amounts of the abovementioned materials, as well as to place your oil paint dabs.
You will need one to mix the colors on the palette, and you can also use palette knives to paint with.
Tip: Avoid overmixing paints because it could lead to muddy and dull colors.
Rags or paper towels
To wipe your brushes or cleaning up.
Tip: Keep your old clothes to wear while painting because you will most likely cause a mess with colors. An apron can also do the job.