Monday, 20 September 2010

How Can I Make Oil Painting Cheaper?

The speculating oil painter may be bombarded with numerous products and conflicting advice on the essentials of oil painting, giving the impression that a complete oil painting kit should consist of dozens of oil colours, art brushes, solvents, mediums and a studio easel. But this need not be the case. In fact, oil painting can be made cheap and simple.

Where can I Get Cheap Art Materials for Oils?

Inexpensive Oil Painting
Rachel Shirley
Thankfully, times have changed since the days of the old masters and their exacting processes, and there have been many innovations, not least in how the oil paints have been manufactured. Nowadays artist oil paints, containing organic pigments, have a cheaper alternative in the form of student quality oils, which contain synthetic substitutes. Numerous oil pigments are not necessary. In fact, the only oil colours I use for all my painting are as follows:
  • A large tube of titanium white.
  • Cadmium yellow (pale).
  • Lemon yellow.
  • Ultramarine blue.
  • Pthalo blue.
  • Permanent rose.
  • Cadmium red.
  • Burnt sienna.
  • Burnt umber.
  • Viridian green: A much-maligned colour for its strength, but when mixed with other colours, provides beautiful greens.
Avoid purchasing preselected sets of oil tubes, as they often contain unnecessary colours, such as numerous earth colours or secondary colours. A one-off purchase of the aforementioned oil tubes will spread over dozens of medium-sized oil paintings, and will last years.

Beginner’s Set of Oil Brushes

Art brushes for oils are essentially divided into two types: stiff brushes, most often hog hair for rough impasto, and soft brushes, most often sables, for blending and detail. The artist may save money on art brushes by purchasing the stiff brushes from DIY stores. But it is worth investing money in good quality sables that last. Kolinsky is a well-established brand, but brushes containing a blend of synthetic and sable provide a cheaper alternative. Two or three different sizes of each will suffice the artist for many art techniques. The following starter kit of art brushes will not break the purse strings.

Sable brushes Sizes 3 and 6 rounds. (Rounds are brushes that converge to a point for fine lines).
Hog hair brushes sizes 6, 9 and 12 flat. (Flat brushes are brushes with a flat, blunt end for wide brushstrokes).

Where Can I Get Cheap Art Boards?

The purchase of canvases and art boards can make the cost of oil painting skyrocket, but preparing your own is simple and will save lots of money. Simply purchase a tin of acrylic polymer primer (sometimes labelled “gesso primer”), which is essentially a white acrylic, water-soluble paint that dries water resistant. Applying a coat or two of acrylic primer onto thick paper or card will provide a stable surface for oil sketches.

Textured paper, such as “not” watercolour paper will provide interesting effects for painting. MDF or hardboard can be used for larger oil paintings. But if stretched canvases are preferred, stationers will often stock them at the fraction of the art shop’s price.

See my YouTube clip on preparing your own art boards

What Art Mediums do I Need for Oil Painting?

The artist can get away with using only linseed oil and artist thinners. Linseed oil is essentially for thinning oil paint for glazes or detail. Artist’s solvents such as Sandador or Turpenoid are used for cleaning the brushes or applying washes. (Never use household or industrial solvents for oil painting as this will kill the art brushes and emit powerful odours). Used artists solvents can be made to last longer by allowing the paint residue to settle at the bottom of the jar and siphoning the clean solution from the top into a clean jar.

Stanley 016011R Series 2000 16-Inch Tool Box
Tool box for art storage
click to buy from Amazon

Advice on Saving Money on Art Materials

Any non-porous material can be used as an artist’s palette. A china plate, a piece of plastic or veneered wood would be ideal. I stretch a piece of cling film over a sturdy surface via bulldog clips. When I am finished, the used cling film can easily be disposed of.
Easels can be dispensed with by resting the painting surface onto a backing board via bulldog clips and propping it against a table edge or lap.

All the art materials can be stored inside a tool box, which is a cheaper alternative to an art box. The tool box is sturdy and opens out in tiered drawers, ideal for the storage of oil paints, drawing materials and art mediums.

Links Relating to Art Materials

No comments: