Beginners Oil Painting Materials List


I just wanted to put a quick note up here as of 28 August, 2022, that I've two pages for materials and the main one is the Advanced or professional materials list linked to below. The advanced one will give much more detailed information on the actual paints and brushes and other materials I actually use now. And just to say with in terms of the quality of the paints in particular there is a world of difference in painting with the good stuff, when compared to the cheaper student grades listed below. Thus I think before using this as a guide it might be worth reading what I have up on the other page first, as I do cover the issue of cost too. For now though I'll leave this up here, even if its been decades since I've used these student paints, and don't think I'd enjoy painting nearly as much or be able to paint the way I do, if I went back. In saying that it is a cheaper way to dip you toe into the oil painting world, which can be a tad expensive to enter.

Link to Advanced Materials List in keeping with what I use. 

A little update as of 25 March, 2024!

In the last few days I've just begun a new little project involving a new weekly Newsletter for artists and art students with lots of free info. Really all about me sharing what I've learned from other artists, books, videos etc in an email newsletter. More info below if you fancy thinking about signing up! 




Welcome to my Oil Painting Materials List for Beginners!

Now I’m been accused before of overdoing it with my lists and giving too much information and detail. With that in mind what I’ll do here is give a quick simple checklist of things to bring leaving the details of recommended brands, and all that below.


  • Photo reference
  • Canvas
  • Pencils, eraser, pencil parer
  • Oil Paints
  • Brushes
  • Sansodour or Gamsol (low odour solvent)
  • Refined Linseed oil or other medium
  • Palette
  • Palette cups – little containers
  • Jars
  • Kitchen paper


  • Brush soap (Optional)
  • Microfibre clothes and/or make-up sponges (Optional)
  • Gridding up materials: Long ruler, Acetates, marker, cardboard, masking tape (Optional)


Listed at the bottom.


1) Photo Reference

The subject of this is totally up to you. It’s also up to you whether you choose to work from a printed photo or tablet. I would highly recommend though that it’s of a decent size, and if printed, it’s on good quality photo paper; Also if you’re a beginner, no harm to pick something relatively simple to tackle first.

More tips on picking your photo reference


2) Canvases

There are lots of ok canvases out there to buy. I personally like the Belle Arti –Gallery Excellent Linen ones which are available from KM Evans Art supplies in Dublin, but these are a little more expensive than the norm so feel free to use of one of the cheaper cotton or linen canvases available from Windsor and Newton, Reeves, Evans, Elements or another reputable brand.

Please don't buy really cheap ones though from non-specialist art stores as many of them have very poor priming, and I've seem students have to abandon canvases half way through because of this. If you want to keep the expense down, consider using a canvas board from Windsor and Newton or another reputable brand instead.


3) Pencils, Eraser and Parer

Not too much to say about this except I’d probably keep my pencils somewhere around the HB, B or2B. And also a light coloured pencil can be good for gridding up your canvas as it’s easier to cover with the paint later.


4) Oil Paints

There are so many brands out there so it’s not that important which ones you go for once as long as it’s a reputable brand. In the cheaper student range of oil paints, which are fine for starting off with, I always liked the Winton range by Windsor and Newton. The Georgian range by Daler Rowney should also be grand. I should say though, that I haven’t used these personally for many years and there is a big difference in the quality of Professional oil paints; A big difference in the price also though.


Windsor & Newton - Winton Paints – Student’s paints

Titanium White – large tube – 37ml or 200ml
Cadmium red Hue – 37ml
Permanent Alizarin Crimson – 37ml
Permanent Rose – 37ml
Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue – 37ml
Cadmium Lemon Hue – 37ml
Cadmium Orange Hue
Phthalo Blue – 37ml
French Ultramarine – 37ml
Viridian Hue – 37ml 
Burnt Sienna – 37ml
Raw Umber – 37ml
Burnt Umber – 37ml
Ivory Black – 37ml

If you’re interested in knowing what paints I use click below.

Professional Oil Painting Materials List


5) Brushes

A selection of hog hair bristle brushes, preferably from Rosemary and Co's Ultimate Bristle range (sold exclusively online) or brushes by Windsor and Newton, Daler & Rowney, Da Vinci or Escoda. 

Bristle Brushes

Filbert shape in Sizes: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 (one of each)

Round shape: Sizes: 1,2,3 (one of each)


Synthetic brushes for detail. I like Rosemary & Co's Ivory or Eclipse range, or Windsor and Newton's Galeria range.

Filbert 1,2 (one of each)

Round, 0,1 (one of each)



6) Sansodor or Gamsol

500ml or 1 Litre of Sansodor or Gamsol

Low odour spirits for cleaning your brushes and mixing with your paint

Please note that you’re not allowed use regular white spirits, or turpentine, or even low odour spirits from the hardware in the class. It’s just too toxic and thus we have to insist that you use one of the above for everyone’s health. I tend to use Gamsol these days in 1 litre bottles, which is less expensive than Sansodor. Both are available in KM Evans in Dublin.

And remember although Sansodor and Gamsol are far less toxic than the real stuff they are still to be treated with care. Thus I always recommend a few simple precautions to minimize exposure. Firstly, keep a lid on your jar of low odour solvent when not in use. Try to always paint in a well-ventilated room, and be especially mindful of this when you are cleaning up at the end of a painting session. It’s always a good idea to open a window and door at this stage. And needless to say keep out of reach of the kids.

Another thing I should mention is that Sansodor and Gamsol are very easy to recycle. All you have to do is pour off the paint muddied solvent into a large container or jar and leave for a day or two, by which time the solvent will start to clear as the paint particles settle to the bottom.

How to clean your brushes


7) Linseed Oil

I recommend Refined Linseed Oil by Windsor and Newton

or one from other reputable brand.

75ml or 250ml


Liquin Original - 75ml or 250ml

This is a faster drying medium


8) Palette

You’ll also need a palette to mix your paint on, preferably around the A3 size or there are a few 30x40cm ones available, which is very close. Now this can be a traditional wood palette or a pad of tear off sheets which would be very handy for the class room setting where it will save time on the clean up and mess, and allow you more time to paint.


9) Palette Cups

These are two small metal containers, usually joined, to hold a small amount of Sansodor and linseed oil for mixing your paint. Also sometimes known as dippers. Try get the smaller ones with a 3cm diameter. A couple of old egg cups or bottle caps, would also be fine.


10) Jars

One regular sized jar with a lid to hold your Sansodor/Gamsol, which is used mainly for cleaning your brushes. Also handy to have a few extra jars for holding you brushes in while painting. Maybe one for clean brushes and one for brushes that have paint on them. 


11) Kitchen paper

This is for wiping off excess paint from you brushes as you paint, for the clean up at the end and also for some painting techniques like oiling out.


12) Brush Soap (Optional)

This can be used to take the residual paint out of you brushes for a more thorough clean.

The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver


Escoda Brush and Hand Soap (with olive oil)


Washing up liquid but not as good for your brushes

Use luke warm water and not hot, or it can negatively effect the shape of your brushes.

How to clean your brushes


13) Microfibre clothes and/or make-up sponges (Optional)

Microfibre clothes are really just lint free clothes and can be bought in most supermarkets or hardware stores. These are useful for an oil painting technique called “Oiling Out”.

Make-up sponges can also be used in this “Oiling Out” technique.


14) Gridding up materials: Long ruler, Acetates, marker, cardboard, masking tape (Optional)

Long Ruler

A ruler at least as long as the longest side of your canvas, which is needed for drawing a light grid in pencil over your canvas and a smaller proportional grid in marker on the acetate (transparent plastic sheet) which goes over your photo.

Cardboard sheet

This should be slightly larger than you photo reference.

Acetate or transparent plastic sheet

This should also be slightly larger than your photo reference, but slightly smaller than your cardboard sheet.

A marker that’s suitable for drawing on plastic without wiping off and has relatively fine tip.

Masking tape for taping your photo to cardboard and then the acetate with grid over this. 

The Grid Method for Artists explained. 



KM Evans

5 - 6 Meetinghouse Ln,

Mary's Abbey,

North City,

Dublin 7,

D07 YP89

They’ve very helpful staff in there so get in touch if you’re feeling daunted.

By the way, their prices are actually a little keener online.


Rosemary & Co Brushes

For your brushes though, although Evans have a good selection, if you can I would highly recommend ordering from Rosemary & Co Brushes. The best brushes by far to my mind.


Cork Art Supplies

Good prices online