Starting in Oils [Archive] - Artist Forum

: Starting in Oils

09-11-2013, 06:51 AM
Iíve dabbled (literally) in acrylic painting before, nothing serious at all. From what Iíve been seen by watching some Youtube videos it appears that oils are easier to work with. Iím not sure if this is really true or if itís just my perception, but Iíd really like to give oils a try and was hoping to get some good beginner tips and pointers from you experienced artists.

For starters I guess you should know what Iím looking to paint since that may or may not dictate your answers to my questions. Iíve always loved art, but my biggest passion is the ocean and marine wildlife, mainly humpback whales. Actually, my user name is the name of one of my favorite Humpback Whales. For the past 13 years Iíve spent as much time as I possibly can on the ocean whale watching. In the process Iíve taken thousands and thousands of photographs so I have plenty of reference photos to work off of. So with that said, the ocean and marine wildlife will be my main subjects. Iím not looking to make millions off of my artwork, but if I can sell some paintings to earn a little of extra cash that would be pretty awesome too! ;)

I know that the simple answer on how to get started is to take some courses, but honestly Iím more of a ďdo it yourselfĒ type of person. I prefer to experiment on my own and go with my own trial and error processes. Although I am a perfectionist and I do tend to be my own worst critic, Iím not afraid of failure if it means itíll make me better. I just need a little guidance on HOW to get started. Thereís so much to learn. Iíve got to start somewhere right?

So here are my questions so far.

1. Are there any beginner books or even Youtube videos that youíd highly recommend for me?

2. Which brands of paints, brushes, etc. do you prefer and why?

3. As someone whoíll be focusing mainly on seascapes and marine wildlife, which paint colors do you think should make up my starter palette?

4. I admit that I do feel very overwhelmed with the extremely wide variety of brushes available. There are so many different types and sizes. I s there an easy to follow guide which explains which size/shape brushes to use for which purpose? Also, which ones are best for oils?

5. Aside from paint, brushes, and canvas what other supplies do you recommend for a beginner?

6. If you sell your paintings, how do you go about it? I know you can do Ebay and Etsy, but as far as shipping and stuff like that how does it work? Also do you sell the canvas with the staples securing it to wood or do you use a different type?

If you have any questions you need me to answer before you can answer mine, please feel free to ask! Thanks in advance for any help you may be able to offer.

02-26-2014, 01:50 PM
2. I paint really small still lives, so I use really small synthetic brushes. You can really use anything, just get a variety of sizes and textures so you can decide what you like. Also, don't use your acrylic brushes for oil and vice versa. It ruins them.

3. starter palette for everyone: Titanium white, alizarin crimson, cadmium red, cadmium yellow, ultramarine blue, cerulean, burnt umber, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, blue black. You might want to try out a light green and a pthalo blue too because they are marine things. but be careful with pthalos, they are like poison and can easily turn your entire palette blue. Use sparingly.

4. get a bunch, see what works for you. I use brushed meant for acrylic paint. as long as you don't go back and forth, you'll be fine.

5. Gamsol (paint thinner) you're going to need this and a bit of oil to mix into the paint and use like you would water with acrylics. Also, use it for cleaning your brushes. Bounty paper towels (Bounty leaves less fuzz than others) or cloth rags. Glass palette, glass jars for medium. Palette knife, razor blade (for cleaning your palette).

Good luck. don't get too frustrated. oil paint is super sticky and icky at first and takes some times to get used to. make sure you let it dry enough in-between coats!

02-27-2014, 03:08 PM
If you want to learn a nice and i think informative way to learn, then go to DrawMixPaint by Mark Carder - he's really a good teacher and he keeps his main palette down to just 5 colors.

I love the Oceans too!

03-18-2014, 11:19 PM
I would recommend you to go through the Acrylic Painting Instructional DVDs for Beginners from and for Paint brush you can go for Wyland Ecological Acrylic Brushes and Palette Knives because Wyland's brushes are hand shaped and made form the highest quality art materials.
Reference link -

However, if you are on low budget, I would suggest using Youtube directly for each specific technique or you can again refer the above site, they have 1500+ videos from various experts.