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Artists' Oil Paint

Artists use oil paints to create paintings depicting a wide variety of subject matter. There are portrait artists and figure artists who enjoy posing and painting people as they look in real life. Other common subjects include botanicals, landscapes, still lifes, horses, and other animals.

What types and brands of oil paints are available?

There are numerous manufacturers making a broad variety of oil paints available in a wide range of qualities. Student grade paints are generally at the lower end of the quality spectrum and artist quality are generally at the higher end.

Some well-known art supply manufacturers and their brands are as follows:

  • Winsor & Newton: Winsor & Newton has 5 different brands of oil paints. Their top-of-the-line collection is known as Artists' Oil Colour. There are a total of 119 colours available in this collection, with 80 of them being single pigment colours that staff at Winsor & Newton recommends as being suitable for clean mixing. Their other brands include Winton Oil Colour, Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colour, Griffing Fast Drying Oil Colour, and Oilbars.
  • Gamblin: This manufacturer makes a hand-crafted paint line available featuring high quality pigments and non-toxic binders. It is known as Gamblin Artist's Oil colours. The binders in these paints are alkali-refined linseed and safflower oils.
  • Rembrandt: This Dutch manufacturer offers a paint collection known as Rembrandt Artists' Oil colours. These paints utilize pure pigments.
  • Grumbacher: This manufacturer offers a huge variety of art supplies including paints and many other items. Their product lines include Grumbacher Pre-Tested Professional Oils and Academy Oil colours as well as others.
What colour palette should a beginning oil painter use?

Beginners can try working with any colour palette they find appealing. There is no consensus on which specific colour palette a beginning oil painter should use; there also isn't a magic formula for colour palette selection that will guarantee success with oil painting.

One important thing to consider is that beginning painters will need to gain experience with blending colours. Because of this, many art teachers recommend that beginners start out with a colour palette comprised of one primary red, one primary blue, one primary yellow and a white, grey and black for blending. Using these basic colours, it is possible to mix virtually any colour that exists.

If you're overwhelmed and don't know which colours to select for creating your oil paintings, you could consider selecting a starter paint set; sets can give you a workable range of colours to start experimenting with. Once you've worked with some paint colours, from there you can determine your own colour palette preferences.

Which colour white paint should you use for various effects?

At times you want opaque coverage, opt for titanium white. At times you want more delicate, transparent coverage, try flake or zinc white. These two variations are also appropriate choices at times when you want to build multiple tinted layers of colour. If you want coverage that's somewhere in between, try permelba white.