Oil Painting – Canvas, Paints, Medium And Tools

Let me go through quickly on the things that would be required for working on an oil paint, before I proceed with painting what I sketched earlier on canvas.

  • Canvas
  • Paints – oil paints
  • Medium – oil and thinner
  • Tools – brushes, palette, cups

We will go through each of them one by one quickly.


They come in different sizes and qualities. You can buy canvas yourselves and stretch it over a frame. Or you can even buy pre-stretched canvas from the art supply shops. I am not very sure, but if you want to get raw canvas and stretch it yourself, it needs to be treated to get some foundation before you can paint on it. I am not yet sure how one can do that. If you are an amateur like me, then I suggest you buy a pre-stretched canvas. They come in variou sizes – choose the one appropriate for the subject.


Oils paints come in various packaging and colors. There are oil soluble and water soluble oil-paints. I am not very sure about the water soluble ones, and hence I stick with oil soluble. The choice of colors must definitely include the basic set of colors: Titanium White, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow and French Ultramarine(Blue). You may also take a set that has these colors as well as Viridian (Green), and Burnt Umber (Brown). You can buy other colors – that would depend on your budget as well as choice of color palette for your style of painting. It is much easier when you can take paint right out of the tube, mix it with the medium and paint. It also saves you the time you spend on getting the right hue by mixing different colors. But a set of basic colors should be sufficient – and as a beginner, it will help you learn practical aspects of color theory.


There are many choices for choosing oil and thinner. For oils, the choice ranges from linseed oil, cold pressed linseed oil, steam pressed linseed oil, stand oil, poppy oil, and many more. Do not worry much about it. Take a standard linseed oil and work on one or two paintings and then you will know if you need to move to a different one. (May be, I will talk a bit more about it in another post). Next comes the thinner. The thinner, dilutes the paint and oil mixture, and it can help in drying the layer fast. But the more thinner you add, the more transperent it becomes. You have different choices – like Turpentine and other things. I choose one with less odour as I would be working in a closed rooms. This is a thing to consider – if the weather is such that you can open windows or the room is big enough, then a normal Turpentine fumes would not be that bothering. Else, it would be a good choice to go for the one with lesser odour.


  • Brushes: There are basically two kinds of brushes. One, that is made of natural hair of horse. Two, brushes with bristles made of synthetic material. As an amatuer, you can go for synthetic. But do remember to take brushes of varied sizes – a very fine one, a medium sized brush, and one flat, large brush to give those intial broad strokes.
  • Palette: Choose a palette that is large enough for you and is comfortable to hold in hand. They come in different colors and they may affect the hue of the final painting depending on the choices you make while mixing different color on the palette. I prefer a palette that is white in color.
  • Cups: You will need a couple of these for mixing the oil and the thinner, and to have turpentine in another one to clean your brushes.
  • Cloth/Rags: You will need these to clean your brushes before you clean them in turpentine, when you shift from one color to another. This will save you a lot of turpentine.

There are other things that will assist you in oil painting. But I believe the above is quite enough to get you starting.

  1. Heart Bracelet’s avatar

    the good thing about oil paintings is that they last very long, they can even last for generations ,”~



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