Complete List of Art Supplies for The Beginning Oil Painter

Below is a list of necessary art supplies for the beginning oil painter. All items are easily found at local arts and crafts supply stores such as Hobby Lobby or Michaels or online via DickBlick.com or JerrysArtarama.com.

List of Art Supplies

List of Art Supplies
Art Bin and Paintbox
  • Art supply bin or wooden paint box
    A plastic art supply bin (resembles a fishing tackle box) or wooden paint box is ideal for carrying supplies.
  • Artist brushes (the type made for oil painting)
    10 to 12 brushes is a good start. Both Flat (square with long bristles) and Filbert (rounded on top with long bristles) are recommended.

    • 2 Large brushes (one flat, one filbert) about one inch wide
    • 5 Medium brushes (three flat, two filberts) about ½ inch wide
    • 3 Small brushes (one filbert, two flat) about ¼ inch wide
    • 1 Small brush for autographing the painting when completed

Click for more info on flat and filbert types of brushes.

Click for more information about oil painting brushes.

  • Canvas
    A variety of pre-primed canvas boards or stretched canvas, in sizes from 9 X 12 to 16 X 20, will do to get started.

Click for more info on the types of canvas used for oil paintings.

  • Charcoal
    A package of each small and large stick of charcoal. Used for sketching the composition onto the canvas. Also used to do preliminary sketches of the subject matter.
  • Cleaning rags or paper towels
    These are used for cleaning excess paint, medium, etc., of a brush. They are also used for getting most of the paint and turpentine out of brushes before final cleaning.
  • Cups for turpentine and medium
    A small or medium-sized cup for each.
  • Dishwashing liquid
    A small bottle of liquid dishwashing soap to clean your brushes. It will need to be the kind that works on grease, such as Dawn. The small size fits nicely in an art bin or paint box.
  • Easel
    Table easel that can be folded up for portability. An adjustable standing easel for studio work. For “Plein air” work, an adjustable standing easel that can be folded up and easily transported.
  • Eraser
    A  kneaded eraser for charcoal work. A pink pearl to erase pencil lines.
  • Gesso
    One small container. Used to prepare just about any surface to receive oil paint, from thick paper to wood, even pre-primed canvas.

Click for information about gesso.

  • Linseed oil
    One bottle or can. Used to mix painting medium. Medium is made by combining 1 part linseed oil to 1 part turpentine. Medium is used to thin oil paint, make it flow more easily on canvas, and aids in blending paints.
  • Oil paint
    Windsor & Newton or Grumbacher are two good brands of oil paint for the beginner. They are less expensive than other brands, but the quality is fine. Be sure to purchase oil paint rather than water-soluble oil paint. Buy one each of these colors:art supplies list

    • Thalo Blue
    • Cobalt Blue
    • Cerulean Blue
    • Ultramarine Blue
    • Cadmium Red light
    • Alizarin Crimson
    • Yellow Ochre
    • Cadmium Yellow Light or Lemon Yellow
    • Cadmium Yellow Medium
    • Viridian Green
    • Sap Green
    • Ivory black
    • Burnt Umber
    • Raw Umber
    • Burnt Sienna
    • Raw Sienna

For more information about oil paints, see Artist Grade or Student Grade Oil Paint, Making A Choice.

  • Odorless turpentine or odorless mineral spirits (a.k.a. paint thinner) 
    Used to clean paint from art brushes.
  • Palette
    Used to hold dabs of paint squeezed from the tube and also for mixing colors. It can be made from wood, glass, or some other material. Disposable palettes have sheets of wax paper that can be torn off and thrown away for easy cleanup.

Learn much more about the artist palette. See the article titled What to Know About an Artists Palette, Part 1 and Part 2.

  • Palette knife
    palette knife image
    Palette Knife

    A handy tool used to mix paint on the palette. Some artists also like using one to apply paint to canvas instead of using an art brush.

See the article titled There Are Palette Knives, and Then There are Painting Knives.

  • Pencils
    A variety of sizes for drawing and for sketching a composition onto the canvas.
  • Pliers
    This tool will come in handy to loosen tight paint tube caps.
  • Rulers
    Used for measuring and drawing straight lines.
  • Sketch pad
    Any size to sketch on.
  • Varnish
    Applied to a painting after it is thoroughly dry to bring out the color and protect the painting from dust, direct sunlight, and other elements that could harm it.
  • Varnish brush
    A soft brush with long hairs, dedicated to varnishing, helps to apply varnish thinly and evenly.

Hopefully, this list of art supplies will be helpful information for you to use.

Have a question?

If you have a question about this painting, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

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UPDATED: 26 September 2020

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