Materials Information Pack for Students

Everything you need to know about Oil Painting Materials to get Started

Materials Information Pack for Beginner Artists

As a fellow Artist, I understand how difficult and expensive it can be to purchase oil painting materials, especially at the beginning of your oil painting journey. There is simply so much choice on the market, and we often find ourselves using the trial and error method of selecting materials, which can be expensive and quite wasteful.

The following information has been devised with the beginner oil painter in mind, and includes a list of basic materials that will get you started (or the bare essentials). There is also an additional list of advanced materials, which you might add as your oil painting progresses.

All of the materials listed below I have personally used over a number of years and understand their value for money, but also their value as painting tools/materials that will last. Therefore, I have tried to offer a balance between the best quality at a reasonable cost. But like many artists/painters or creatives, you may find you already own a range of these materials.

I purchase most of my own materials from, Russell & Chapple in London, JacksonArts in London and Rosemary Brushes in Yorkshire.


Beginners Basic Oil Painting Colours Set

Oil Paint

Oil Paints are available in various different qualities, ranging from student quality to professional and even then, top end professional oil paint. For the beginner I recommend the Winton range from Windsor and Newton. This is an excellent student quality paint which is great for a wide range of Oil Painting techniques.

The colours you will need to form a basic colour palette for our oil painting classes are:

Ultramarine Blue
Cuerlean Blue Hue
Burnt Sienna
Scarlet Lake
Cadmium Yellow Pale
Lemon Yellow
Titanium White

Additional colours that we also use: Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue and Yellow Ochre

If you would prefer to use a better quality paint, please have a look at Windsor and Newton Professional, or alternatively my personal favourite, Michael Harding’s Oil Paint. I absolutely love these paints, and once you use them you will never want to use any other brand of oil paint again. They have a beautiful little Introductory Set available, just to wet your appetite.


A Table Easel

Every Artist needs a way to support their painting and traditionally the best item for this, is the famous artists easel. For our Studio based Classes, I recommend a simple Table Easel. The rooms we use for our studio based classes have very sturdy in-situ tables, but unfortunately we don’t have the space to store or use traditional floor standing easels.

My personal preference for Table Easels is a manufacturer called Mabef.

To purchase a Mabef M17 Genoa table easel in the UK please use this link: Mabef M17 Table Easel from JacksonsArt, or alternatively Winsor and Newton manufacturer a cheaper table easel called the Eden, from The Range, which do the job just as well.


A Flat Mixing Palette for Mixing Oil Paint

I use and recommend a palette called the New Wave Posh Grey, by an American company, New Wave Palettes. The palette is made from tempered glass with the underside painted in a Mid-tone grey, this helps with mixing tonal values and colour ranges. It makes the tones and colours easier to see, giving you greater control over your colour and tonal mixing. This is an expensive item, but in my experience it is worth the extra cost. My own palettes are now 5 plus, years old and there is also a wooden version available, should you not like glass.

Both of these can be purchased in the UK from Jacksons Art Supplies: New Wave Posh Glass Palette in Grey (12″ x 16″)


Oil Painting Brushes

There are thousands of paint brushes on the market today and traditionally brushes is how painters apply paint onto the painting surface. I’ve always recommended Rosemary Brushes to my students, they are superb quality paint brushes at an excellent price and Rosemary manufacturers the widest selection of brushes I have ever seen.

To get started I have created a Beginners Introductory Oil Painting Brush Set. These can be ordered directly from Rosemary Brushes either as a set or as individual brushes using the links below. The set contains:

Chris Mcloughlin’s Beginners Oil Painting Brush Set:

  • Ivory Long flat No. 9
  • Ivory Filbert No. 6
  • Ivory Filbert No. 3
  • Ivory Pointed Round No. 2
  • Mundy Mop 3/4
  • Shiraz Filbert No. 5
  • Diamond Shaped Palette Knife – Medium

A Painting Knife

or Palette Knife as they are usually called. There are simply to many choose from, but to get started I always recommend the RGM Artists Palette Knife No.31. We also use the RGM Artists Palette Knife No. 109 and it’s little brother or smaller version RGM Artists Palette Knife No. 103, but if you are just starting, stick to the No.31.


A Painting Surface/Canvas

A painting surface is a prepared surface onto which we paint, the most common being a canvas, canvas board or panel. These surfaces need to be prepared for class in advance, either with a coloured or neutral grey ground. Preparation here is key, as these can take some time to dry. Most of my students prefer painting on canvas boards, as they are easy to prepare and store. Like brushes, there is a huge selection of these available and you can purchase them pretty much anywhere. The Winsor and Newton canvas boards are great value for money. A 12″ x 16″/30cm x 40cm stretched cotton Canvas or 12″ x 16″/30cm x 40cm Canvas Board is perfect.



Conte Crayon

This is a type of hard chalk pastel, which is much stronger in structure than willow charcoal. Very useful indeed for developing sketches and creating preparatory drawings on the canvas. The white also doesn’t contaminate your colours when painting, like some pastels or charcoals. My personal preference is for the Conte Crayons Sticks, but many of my students prefer the Conte Pastel Pencils for drawing, as they find them easier to sketch with. Either will do.

Conte Crayons Sticks Link

Conte Pastel Pencils Link




Painting Medium

Used to thin or thicken the paint depending on your technique, there are dozens of these on the market today all with different functions from various manufacturers. For our studio based oil painting classes, I recommend Micheal Hardings PM1 but you may wish to use an alternative such as Zest-it Clear Painting Medium (non-toxic) or the more traditional Cold Pressed Linseed Oil.

We will look at the mediums in more detail within the class.


A Medium Dipper

A small tin pot/tub or glass type pot used to hold and store painting medium. Artist’s Dipper with lid. (Please do not use plastic, unless it is specifically for painting mediums, as they can dissolve.)


Kitchen Roll

or Cotton Rags for Cleaning Brushes & Paint Cleaning. My preference is Blue Roll simply because I use rolls and rolls of the stuff, but a good disposable, absorbent kitchen towel/cloth is vital for cleaning after a painting session.



A small A5 Notebook and Pen/Pencil

To record and take notes during the classes. I am a great fan of the Moleskine Notebooks and Bic pens, with the four colours.



Brush Cleaner

After your painting session, you will need a way to clean your oil painting brushes. There are a variety of great non toxic brush cleaners available today, my preference is Zest it.

(You will only need this if you plan to paint at home, as we have a brush wash in class).

Do not use white spirit or turpentine to clean your brushes, both of these materials are corrosive and hazardous.



If you need a little help regarding any of the Oil Painting materials listed above, please feel free to drop us an email using the Contact Form and we will help in any way we can.