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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there!

I've been a "digital artist" for years and have been thinking for some time about trying traditional painting. So, I have absolutely no supplies!

The method I've decided I want to attempt first is Bob Ross, especially because I can paint along with him. I had a few questions.

Also, since I have to buy everything from scratch I was hoping if someone could look over my list and tell me if I am buying the wrong things. This will be a Christmas gift to myself, I don't want to purchase the wrong stuff (or stuff I don't need, or miss things I absolutely need!)

  1. With the Bob Ross method. Is "Liquid White" the same thing as Magic White? I cannot find anything called "magic white", which he mentions a lot.
  2. When painting with this method do I need to complete a painting basically in one-go? I am unsure if I can still add paint a day, two, three days later with this method.
  3. I've basically picked out a pack of what I consider practice canvas. They're just panels and not the pre-stretched double prime Ross always starts with. Does this just effect storage/display, or will it effect how my paints take to the canvas, thus messing up this method?
  4. I've read conflicting information on the "Bob Ross" paints. Some say they are no different from other paints. But I have saw it said that the paints are dryer, thus work better for the method of painting. And that I would need to soak the excess oil out of other paints (Not so interested in doing that to start with!). True?

And here is the list of items I have made so far:

Bob Ross Master Paint Set
Mainly I picked this one because it has the brushes and paints. I calculated any buying them seperately cost a lot more. Plus, the box seems very nice, and the brushes/paints included already added up to more before the box was taken into account.
Art Alternatives Canvas Panels - 12 - 8x10 size
Again, for practice, not displaying or selling.
Art Advantage 11x15 inch clear acrylic palette
I believe this style is easier to clean than wood? And you see your colors truer on the clear base?
The Marquid Desk Easel
Basically, I very much want a real easle some day if I do stick with painting. Until then, they're very expensive, so I thought this would be a good start, and it has storage. The only thing is it is slightly smaller than the panels (panels are 11x15, easle is 11x14 - but with no edges that would prevent it from fitting). Is that okay, or do I need another one?

Lastly, I just have the paints not included in the bob ross kit, all his brand:
Dark Sienna, Prussian Blue, Phthalo Green, Yellow Ochre, Indian Yellow - ranging from 6-$8 a piece...

A bottle of black gesso, because I definately want to try the black canvas method.

The "bob ross base coat value pack"
Which has liquid clear, liquid white, liquid black & brush conditionor. It seemed like a good deal at $18.
Oderloss paint thinner.
I picked this brand but do let me know if there is better/cheaper.

The totals with these items is around $225. It is a lot to jump in. But, I am fairly confident I will enjoy this and I would like to start out with some good stuff.

I have found it all on Amazon for ease of purchase... but if there is another site with better deals (when you calculate in shipping + tax!), let me know!

Thanks so much for any advice. I know this is crazy long.

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Question 1: Liquid white is the same as Magic white it is used to cover the canvas/panel before you start a painting (very little used) it helps make the canvas/panel slippery and helps with his technique.

Question 2: No you don't have to complete a painting in one sitting. That's the beauty of working with oils it stays wet for a long time.

Question 3: I also started out using panels and it will work however a lighter hand is required because the panel doesn't flex like a stretched canvas. I
now paint on Stretched canvas because of that reason but it is a good place to start.

Question 4: Bob Ross paints are different from others, however I have found others that are close to it but are a little more expensive. I have used many different types of oil paints to do his style of paintings and it's a learning process with each brand I get.

Bob Ross Master Kit is a good kit. I only started out with cheap brush's and I mean cheap (Menards, Walmart, etc.) I learned a lot by using these brushes though.

Canvas panels worked to get me started!!!!

Palette: Heck I use a old piece of plexiglass works the same.

Easel: This is probably where I wish I would have got one that clamped my piece in. I find if the canvas/panel is bigger then the easel when you paint the edges the canvas/panel wants to flip off the easel, and I end up having to hold it on getting fingerprints on a finished edge ( you can fix the print but it sucks to do it twice).

Looks like it should be a good start for you. I started out using Walmart oil paints and it did work but better quality oil paints works a lot better. Hope you enjoy oil painting and have fun that's what it's all about.

"We don't make mistakes, we make happy accidents" Bob Ross

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Wish someone had told me all this...

I acquired an old easel that had been consigned to the bowels of a nearby high-school in preparation for dumping. I made several alterations but the most important one was this;

To avoid the wooden clamps obscuring the top and bottom edges of the canvas I positioned the canvas halfway out towards me so I could paint right to the canvas edge and not waste paint on the easel. Unfortunately that meant it was gripped less securely and would often spring free. So I drilled a couple of holes vertically all the way through the wooden clamping bars (top and bottom) about a foot apart. Then I drove in long, thin woodscrews so that a millimetre or two of the pointy end protruded enough to pin the canvas in place. This works a treat. You just exert a bit of pressure on the top bar before tightening the clamps.
If you watch any of Bob’s (or William Alexander’s) videos you’ll see that their easel is a modified aluminium stepladder. If I hadn’t been gifted the above easel that was my intended route.

I made my own palette in the style of Bob Ross’s but the acrylic was 6mm and it turned out a bit heavy. I printed out a small label for each paint colour and stuck them to the underside of the palette so I could lay out my paints in the same position each time and also to identify them; some blues are very hard to tell apart from other blues or black.

If you can work from a palette laid flat on a table then get a glass worktop saver from your local cheapo shop. Transparent, easily cleaned, cheap.

Your comment about the dryness of Bob Ross paints has got me thinking. I started off with the same paint set as you. But I didn’t restrict my paint brand to Bob Ross. Now, looking back, I suspect that may be causing me some difficulty. In future I’ll probably stick to paints from Bob Ross, Brandon Thomas, Kevin Hill or some other Wet-On-Wet artist.

You can revisit a wet-on-wet painting even after it has completely dried by first applying a very thin coat of Liquid Clear to make the canvas slick once more.

Bob Ross advised against panels saying they absorbed too much of the oil from the paint. Wilson Bickford uses them all the time but then, perhaps his are specially treated. I don’t know. Never tried them.

Gesso: Here’s how to make your own. Mix 2 parts Plaster (of Paris or Polyfilla or baby powder or powdered chalk) with 1 part Hot Water. Mix in 2 parts PVA glue. Mix in 2 parts Acrylic Paint (Black, White, Red or whatever colour you want). I got my Acrylic paint from Home Bargains here in Scotland but you don’t need anything expensive.

I found a set of blender brushes in my local Poundworld (or it might have been Home Bargains) for a pound or two. Haven’t tried them yet but they are intended for blending make-up and are beautifully soft. Use any old cheap household paintbrushes to apply Gesso and keep then for that purpose.

Don’t waste your money on the Bob Ross painting cleaning bucket and screen. The bucket is very flimsy and you can use any old plastic tub that once held paint or ceramic tile cement or some other liquid. You’ll want a lid that fits fairly well to stop evaporation (and fumes). You can fashion a screen from some close-mesh chicken wire. After scrubbing off the paint in the bucket of low odour spirit (I use Bartoline from Homebase) I do all my brush shaking and ‘beatin’ the devil out of it’ inside a large bin liner with the mouth of the bag clamped around my wrist. Why breathe in those fumes if you can avoid it?

I spent many painful and frustrating sessions removing oil paint from my skin and beneath my nails with spirits before I started rubbing in some barrier cream before each painting session. Now it just washes off with soap and water.

You should seek out demonstration videos from Marion Dutton, Kevin Hill and Jason Bowen as well as the above mentioned.

Good luck and happy painting.
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