Since last summer, I have been working on an oil painting course for beginners. Since it’s my own little project (and not for a client), I keep pushing it aside in favor of work with a deadline. While I still plan to release that course someday (since it will be more comprehensive), I don’t want to wait to paint with those who have been asking to learn from me. I know a lot of people are looking for fun, creative projects, so what better time to start oil painting if that’s been on your wish list? If anything, it’s therapeutic. It could be a jumping-off point to a whole new hobby, though!
Here’s how it’s going to work…
We’ll paint a landscape together and keep it small and simple. In the 5×7 – 8×10 range. We’ll only be using four colors with an optional 5th to keep costs down, two brushes, and I’ll give plenty of alternatives for supplies you may not have. If this is successful, I’ll do some more follow-up “classes.” I use the term “class” very loosely! It’ll be more like we’ll all paint together and I’ll show you how I do what I do.
I’ll link to exactly what I use and give some low/no-cost alternatives as well. And yes, you can use acrylics if you have those on hand. Acrylics behave differently than oils, but you’ll still learn a lot about color mixing, composition, painting clouds, etc.
- Oil Paints – Buy the best you can. This is where you want to spend your money, because artist-grade paints have more concentrated pigments, so you can mix the colors without making mud. I like Windsor & Newton and Gamblin. (See below for some alternatives.)
- Titanium White – W&N Titanium White
- Ultramarine Blue – W&N Ultramarine Blue Green Shade
- Yellow Ochre Pale – W&N YOP
- Burnt Sienna – W&N Burnt Sienna
- Cadmium Yellow (Optional, but will be needed if you want to make brighter greens and yellows. It is the most expensive color, though.) – Gamblin Cadmium Yellow Medium
- Gamsol (This is to thin the paint and clean brushes. You can also use turpentine, paint thinner, etc.) – Gamsol 14 oz bottle
- Container for Gamsol/solvent (You can also use a glass jar with a screw-on lid) – Leak-Proof Solvent Container
- Canvas panel (Buy the size of your choice. I would suggest 5×7 or 8×10.) – Canvas panels on Amazon
- Palette – I use a wood palette, but you can order a glass one (white or gray), a paper palette (again, white or gray), or use a paper plate, a piece of cardboard, or even a piece of glass in a cheap/old frame.
- Paper towels
- Ziplock bag
- Soap to clean brushes & hands – I use Murphy’s Oil soap to clean my brushes and baby oil to clean my hands. You can also use an olive-oil-based soap or any soap that will clean off oil and grease.
- Easel – You don’t have to buy an easel, but could purchase an inexpensive tabletop easel. If you want to get a little fancier, you can buy a pochade box that has an easel and palette built-in. Really, though, you can paint flat or just prop your canvas up on some books or a cardboard box. Don’t let the lack of an easel stop you from joining us!
- Brushes – The specific ones I’ll be using are the No. 4 Eclipse Filbert (you can get it HERE, too) and the No. 1 Ivory Long Flat (you can get it HERE, too) both from Rosemary & Co. They have confirmed that they are still shipping out customer orders. If you don’t purchase those brushes, the key is to have one flat synthetic brush that is about 1/4″ wide and one natural bristle brush (hog’s bristle is fine) that is 1/4-1/2″ wide. The confusing thing about brushes is that the numbers, like No. 4 and No. 1 are not standard. Brushes can have the same number and be completely different sizes! So, go off of an estimated width of 1/4- 1/2″. We just don’t need huge brushes, since we’re working small.
If the paint is too expensive for you (it’s about $60 for the five colors listed in artist-grade paints), then use student-grade paints. THIS SET of Winton by Windsor & Newton student oil paints is $22.45 and has all the colors you need plus a few extra.)
I linked primarily to products on Amazon, but you can also order from Blick, Jerry’s Artarama, Utrecht, Hobby Lobby, and I’ve heard that Michael’s is doing curbside pick-ups. I don’t think they carry artist’s oils, but they will have everything else and the Winton set, most likely. You can pick up canvas panels at Walmart or Target if you’re there for essentials, anyway. (By the way, I have heard that Hobby Lobby stores are still open, which is disappointing. Please just order online and don’t risk going to a store for non-essential supplies.)
The cool thing about working with a limited palette is that it’s #1 less expensive to get you started and #2 it forces you to really learn your colors and how to mix them. With just these five colors, we can get a wide range from black to white, greens, grays, browns, yellows, blues, etc. I use Burnt Sienna often as my “red” since I don’t use a lot of red in my landscapes, but if you are a “red person” and want to have that color, I’d suggest a Cadmium Red or Alizarin Crimson.
The painting below was done with just the five colors we’ll be using, though…
And here are a couple of color charts showing all of the beautiful colors you can get by mixing just Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Yellow…
Ultramarine Blue & Burnt Sienna…
We’re going to paint this one together, because it has good clouds, and we can talk about making adjustments to so-so pictures to make better paintings.
So, let’s talk about the where, when, and how…
I’m planning to do the class on Facebook Live on my Miss Mustard Seed page, so it can be saved and I can post it here on the blog, YouTube, and share it to IGTV for those who can’t make it live. The “class” will be about 60-90 minutes and I’m planning to do it next Friday (April 3.) I will do the class during the day since I like painting in natural light. I want to give everyone time to order and receive their supplies. Sound good??
Some other answers to FAQ’s…
- This class will be for absolute beginners, so there is no prerequisite to attend. None.
- If you want to just watch, you’re welcome, too!
- No one will be able to see your work, so you don’t have to feel self-conscious. Just let this be fun. (I will ask if people want to anonymously share their paintings, so I can share them with my audience, but that will be completely optional!)
- I think this will be fun for kids to join in, too. I would suggest acrylics or kid-safe for young kids, though.
If you have any other questions or things you would like me to cover in the class, please leave a comment on this post!
I am looking forward to it!