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Painting Lessons - Materials


Note: Please pay close attention to the specific materials required for oil paints or acrylic paints, as they are different and are NOT interchangeable. You should experiment with one or the other and when you feel comfortable with one, and can afford, experiment with the other.

Note: The basic painting supplies listed below are followed by some additional supplies that you may want to experiment with after you mastered the basics in the exercises and lessons.


Mediums & Thinner
Extended Colors

Plastic Spray Water Bottle (acrylic paint only): can be used to spray water on acrylics on the palette to keep the paint wet. It can also be used to create watercolor effects with acrylic paints.

Stretched Primed Canvases: size 14” x 18” or larger. Make sure you check that the canvas is primed for the type of paint you will use. Canvas can be primed for oil paint only, or for both oil and acrylic paints.

Painting Supports

Canvas Pad: size: 9” x 12” with 10 sheets (for painting skill exercises).  


A basic set of bristle and soft brushes for class should consist of the following shapes and sizes:

Bristle Bright:  #2, #6, and #10.   Rounds: #2, #4, and #6 (for heavier paint).

Syntactic Sable: #2 round brush; #3 bright brush. (Rounds are generally used for details with thin paint, and brights are good for blending and glazing with thin paint.)

Note:  Make sure your brushes are specific to the type of paint (oil or acrylic) you will be working with. Oil paints will destroy a brush that is only for acrylic paint.

Your brush is one of the most important parts of painting. I would recommend you purchase the most expensive brushes you can afford.  You can buy inexpensive paint and canvas, but a cheap brush can be a serious detriment to the quality of the painting. See the section on Brushes.

Paint Medium & Thinner

Oil Paint Mediums: You can buy ready-made oil painting medium, or you can make your own by mixing in a small glass jar: 1/3 linseed oil, 1/3 turpenoid, 1/3 Damar Varnish.   Oil paint medium is used to thin paint and speed up the drying time.

There are many brands to choose from, and you will find some that work better than others for you.

Small Dip Cups:  for paint medium (with lid to make transporting easy).

Acrylic Paint Thinners: Water can be used, however, there is a variety of mediums to try. The basics are matte and gloss mediums, and acrylic retarding (slow-drying) additives. These are useful in slowing down the drying of the acrylics, giving you a longer time to blend and allowing you to paint wet over wet.


Disposable Paper Palettes: These are great for mixing paint, and a roll of plastic wrap can work to cover the paint and keep it workable for a day or so. They also make it convenient for clean-up and transporting wet palettes.

Paint Rags

Paint Rag: terry cloth rags are highly absorbent (size of a small hand towel), and/or paper towels.


You will need an HB pencil, ruler or straight edge, kneaded eraser, and a role of masking tape for the painting skill exercise. For painting, you can draw with paint to sketch in your picture content.  If you prefer drawing with pencil, graphite, charcoal, or other materials please feel free to use them, however, they are not necessary.

Extended Color Palette:

Note: Student-grade paints are sufficient for these lessons and can save you a considerable amount of money. However, professional grade paints will provide you with superior, richer color viscosity but it will cost you.

Oil Paint Thinners: Refined (double distilled) turpentine, odorless or Turpenoid is best for cleaning brushes. Ordinary turpentine that is sold in hardware stores is not suitable for fine art oil painting.



These are more advanced brushes that you may want to try at some point:

Syntactic Sable: Round Brushes: #1 and #5  (used for details with thin paint)
Bristle: Fan  #4
Bristle: Filbert #4 and #8
Palette Knife: #22 diamond shaped and a 3" – 4” blade palette knife.
House Painting Brush: 1” for oil paint. (Used for applying large areas of paint and feathering edges.)
Old Toothbrushes

Note: Make sure your brushes are specific to the type of paint you will be working with.
Your brush is one of the integral parts of painting. See section on Brushes.

Suggested Art Material Supplies


Blick Art Materials
Jerry's Artarama
Daniel Smith

Art Suppliers
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