Oil Painting – How to start? 

If you love colors and want to try painting, below is a quick guide. Although, you can paint on a sheet of paper using watercolors,  but painting on canvas is better in terms of the effects produced and it is great fun. Acrylic colors or oil colors are generally used to create a beautiful piece of art on canvas.

Most of us must have tried some type of painting in school days, but oil painting seemed complicated, and only a few actually learned that. Similar is the case with me. But I recently explored the art of oil painting and would like to share my experience.

As a beginner, you first need to buy painting supplies. Oil paints are expensive than other media, but they give really fine results.

Below are the list of supplies

1) Oil paint tubes

The artist-grade paints are very expensive, as a beginner you can start with student grade paints. The camlin oil color set (20 ml standard tubes) are the best to start with. I have also tried Winsor and Newton student grade colors. They are amazing.

2) Brushes

Buy a set of brushes having round, flat, filbert of varied sizes. It is important to have multiple brushes so that you can work with various colors at a time, without having to wash brushes again and again. Buy good quality brushes that do not leave bristles on the painting. But as a beginner, it is good to start with synthetic brushes instead of going for expensive animal hair brushes.

3) Medium

For watercolors, you simply need water to thin your paint or to wash them off. Oil painting is different. You need a medium to work with colors and a different medium to wash your brushes.

Linseed oil is the medium commonly used as a medium. You need 2-3 drops of this oil and it works as a paint thinner. Colors in tubes come as a thick paste; You cannot directly apply them to the canvas.

4) Cleansing agent

The color on brushes will not go off easily. You need turpentine oil to clean your brushes. Color can be dissolved in linseed oil too, but that is an expensive option. Some special cleaners are also available in the market like pink soap. Some people use detergent to wash brushes, but that is not effective at all

5) Palette

You need a place to mix your colors. A palette is simple a wooden or glass sheet. I prefer glass because it gives a clear idea of color shades and is easy to clean. Glass palettes are expensive. Hence I used a kitchen chopping board. You can use a glass from a photo frame but make sure to cover the edges, or simply buy a wooden palette.

6) Easel

This is optional. You can purchase a table easel for convenience or can simply use a wall for support.

7) Canvas

These are available in all sizes. Make sure you buy a canvas that fits your easel. To start with, try on smaller size canvas – around 12 inch. Once you are comfortable, you can go for a bigger canvas

Below are all these items


To paint, simply push some color out from the color tubes on your palette

Drop 2-3 drops of linseed oil on your palette, dip your brush in the color that you just extracted and mix it in this oil until you get desired consistency and Apply it on the canvas.

If you don’t like what you painted, or there was some mistake, wait for the painting to dry and you can reapply color on it and correct the mistakes. You can mix the colors well and give shading while the layer is wet.

Below is my first oil painting

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3 comments

  1. That’s such a beautiful painting. I learn painting however I Ann still learning water coloring and sketching. You have shared I really helpful information. It was so confusing for me to see the elder students learning oil painting. Now I know about this media…… 🙂

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