Oil painting classes with artist Vincent Keeling & Materials List

Schoolhouse for Art - new oil painting classes


I am delighted to announce that I am now teaching my oil painting classes at the wonderful

SCHOOLHOUSE FOR ART in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow

There is a really nice vibe about the School and it's set right in the heart of the beautiful village of Enniskerry. Although this is Co, Wicklow it's still pretty close to Dublin, as I know most of my former students were Dublin based. And if my classes don't grab you, there is a truly inspiring array of upcoming workshops from visiting and local artists of the highest calibre.

See link below to contact The Schoolhouse for Art for times and bookings 

Oil painting by Vincent Keeling - A Dublin streetscape

The next block of classes will commence on 6th November, 2018

Tuesday Afternoons - 2.00 to 5.00 pm

A block of 6 classes on the following dates:

November 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th,

December 4th,11th


at The Schoolhouse for Art



The idea behind Vincent’s oil painting classes will be to provide an easy going relaxed atmosphere in which both beginners and advanced are welcome. Rather than a focused workshop, here you the student will choose the subject you wish to paint. Vincent himself has tackled a diverse range of subjects and genres over his many years of painting, and so whatever your preference, whether that be still life, landscape, animal or wildlife, portraiture or figure studies; whether playful or serious, Vincent will be happy to guide you through the process;

Montage of painting by Vincent Keeling

And with this guidance, it is hoped that through a gradual exploration of your own painting project, you will begin to absorb the fundamentals that go into making a painting; It’s all about improving your skills slowly in a relaxed and convivial environment, forgetting about your day to day worries for a while and finding the joys to be found in exploring and unlocking your creativity.

Click here for bookings at The Schoolhouse for Art


Michael Harding oil paints


The first thing to say is if you already have a set of oil paints, and brushes that you are happy with, then that’s fine to go ahead and use them. I can offer some advice as we work our way through the classes. However, the one exception to this is the issue of solvents, which are used both to clean your brushes, and small amounts when mixing your paints; Here traditional solvents like turpentine and white spirits can be quite toxic, so in the interests of everyone’s health and safety please use a good quality low odour solvent like Sansodor or Gamsol.

Another thing to note is that if you are already in possession of materials and you have bought some Sansodor, perhaps take a good look at your brushes and if they have honestly seen better days, it’s probably worth considering getting a few of the ones I recommend below. I can’t remember who said it, but I wholeheartedly agree with the saying that “trying to paint with bad brushes, is like trying to play the piano with boxing gloves on.” No easy feat, one can imagine.

Ok, if your are coming at this list cold with no materials then one thing I can do to make it easier is to let you know that almost everything can be sourced in an art shop in Dublin, called Evans Art Supplies,

5 - 6 Meetinghouse Lane, Off Mary's Abbey, Dublin 7


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.

For your brushes though, although Evans have a good selection, if you can I would recommend trying Rosemary & Co Brushes.




One other thing that is crucial to beginning oil painting is ensuring that you have a good photo reference to work from. Now this reference could be from a number of sources. Perhaps a calendar image has caught your eye, or nice quality image from a book, although be mindful that it might be in danger from flecks of paint; However most likely it will be a case of printing out a photo your have taken yourself, or have found on the internet. Whatever the case it will make the task of painting immeasurably easier if you do three things.

The first is to get it printed on a decent quality photo paper; the second is to print it at a good size, maybe around A4 (210x297mm or 8 x 11 inches) or above. And finally, paying attention to ratio of the photo you chose to print and the ratio or proportions of the canvas you buy. This can get a bit complicated but as a quick easy option you could get your photo printed at one of the sizes listed below and but the suggested canvas size that will have the same ratio aspect.

8x8 inch photo print - 16x16 inch or 40x40cm canvas (or any square canvas)

8x10 inch photo print - 16x20 inch or 40x50cm canvas (or any canvas in a 4 to 5 ratio)

8x11 inch photo print - 16x22 inch or 40x55cm canvas (or any canvas in a 8 to 11 ratio)

8x12 inch photo print - 16x24 inch or 40x60cm canvas (or any canvas in a 2 to 3 ratio)

Another thing worth mentioning is that if you are a beginner it might be better to start with an image that will be on the easier scale of things to paint. For instance portraiture generally requires a high level of accuracy and is by its nature usually quite difficult. Whereas, a landscape or still life can often be more forgiving and a better option for the beginner to tackle. Of course, there are always exceptions but maybe just bear that in mind when choosing an image. If you are unsure, you might even get two or three possibilities printed and then I can guide you on the day.



Also in terms achieving a good drawing, no matter the subject there is a process that has been used for centuries that can help us here; Its called “The Grid Method” and in a nutshell it involves drawing a grid over your reference photo, and then drawing a grid of equal ratio on your canvas. Then it’s simply a matter of carefully looking to see where the lines and contours of the photo intersect the squares of the reference grid, and then endeavouring to draw these on your canvas grid in the corresponding squares. I'll be adding more information about this soon, and I can also guide you in the class, but for now if you google "grid method for artists" lots of information should come up that will explain the concept. And if you do think this might be a good option for you, please pay special attention to the check list of things to bring at the end of this page, which includes a number of items such as a ruler, a permanent pen and plastic A4 acetates which you’ll need.



Another option in this modern age, is to use a tablet like an Ipad, which I often do myself, but I’d advise against using a phone, as the screens are generally too small, at least for my eyes and remember I’ll need to see the reference properly as well, in order to help you. Another thing to be mindful of is that a painting studio might not be the friendliest environment for a shiny new tablet or phone.



Ultimate bristle Rosemary Brushes

When it comes to brushes there are numerous good brands out there like Da Vinci, Escoda , Windsor & Newton, and Georgian, however to my mind Rosemary & Co Brushes really are a class above the rest. And as they sell directly to artists online, they manage to provide real quality at competitive prices.



Please note these brushes can only be bought online!



Rosemary Brushes for getting started

If you just want to get up and running with the painting and don’t want to spend a fortune at the start, here is my recommended basic set of brushes. I’ve tried to place them in order of importance as well.


The Ultimate Bristle Brush - Filbert shape - Long handles

One or two of each of these sizes: 0, 2, 4, 6

The Ultimate Bristle Brush – Round shape - Long handles

One or two of each of these sizes: 1, 2, 3

Eclipse Rounds - Long handles

One or two of Size: 0


Winton oil painting brushes

Alternative Winton or Georgian brand oil brushes for getting started

Or you could pick up a range of Winton or Georgian brushes in a local art supply store like Evans Art Supplies.

Bristle oil painting brushes - Filbert (shape)

Size: 1,2,4,6

Buy one or two of each


Bristle oil painting brushes - Round

Sizes: 1,2,3

Buy one or two of each


Round synthetic brush for detail


Size: 1

One of these is fine


Master choice rosemary brushes 

Also nice to have these extras if you want a more complete set

The Ultimate Bristle Brush - Filbert shape - Long handles

One of each of these sizes: 1, 3, 5, 8

Classic (Range of oil bristle brushes) - Long handles

Classic Fan

One of Size 4


The Ultimate Bristle Brush – Long Flat - Long handles

I only have a few of these but they can be nice for getting crisper edges when painting. Maybe a couple of size 2 and 4 would be worth starting with.


And if you really want to splash out I find these Masters choice synthetic brushes great for blending

Masters Choice – Long Filbert - Long handles

One or two of Size 2 - Optional

One or two of Size 5 – Optional

Long handles




Liquin and Linseed oil 

Either of these is fine, but if you feel like experimenting by all means buy both. You can get small bottles of 75ml but much better value in the long run to go for a 250ml bottle. By the way nearly all the brands do a linseed oil so you don’t have to go with W&N’s one if you’d prefer another brand.


Windsor & Newton’s


Refined Linseed oil – 250ml – slow drying


Liquin Original – 250ml – fast drying




Sansodor by Windsor and Newton - odourless solvent for oil painting

As mentioned above, for these classes within The Schoolhouse for Art we need to insist that everyone use a good quality low odour solvent, such as Windsor & Newton’s Sansodor or Gamblin’s Gamsol, as these are far safer than general artist turpentine and white spirits, which are quite toxic. The bad news is they can be expensive, but the good news is you can always recycle the low odour solvent after each painting session. It’s a simple process of pouring the paint clouded solvent into a container, and then allowing it to settle for a few days whereby the paint particles slowly settle on the bottom as the top clears and becomes ready to use again. In this regard it’s handy to pick up a little funnel at your local hardware store to avoid splashes and also a few jars with lids are good to have too.


Sansodor by Windsor & Newton – 1 litre


Gamsol by Gamblin – 1 litre


Winton oil paints



Ok, as for the oil paints themselves, beginners might like to keep costs down a bit and just go with a student range of colours like the Winton list below, but for those of you keen to find out what I use myself I'll give a detailed list of professional grade colours below this.


Winton oil paints by Windsor & Newton 

Titanium White – large tube – 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


Tubes of oil paint by Michael Harding


I myself, am still experimenting with new colours and brands, and thus, don’t want to present the list below as some kind of definitive palette. In fact, my own palette is in transition at the moment. I began using Windsor & Newton’s Artist range of colours when I first began my training some 27 odd years ago. But have, in recent years been lured away from Windsor and Newton, by two other premium brands, namely Old Holland and Michael Harding oil paints. Thus, my own paint box at the moment is a strange mix of colours from all of these brands. However, my general inclination currently is to choose the colour in the Michael Harding range first, if available, then Old Holland who have a larger range, and finally Windsor and Newton if I just can’t part with a particular tube that I’ve grown fond of.

One more thing to note for those of you new to this world of oil paints, when you are purchasing tubes of oil paint the cost is not just based on the size of the tube, but also on the rarity of the pigment, or the expense of production for the companies. To make sense of this every company has developed a tiered “Series” system. Series 1 and 2 are relatively affordable, while 3 and 4 are expensive, and 5 and 6 extremely expensive. With Old Holland it goes up in letters rather than numbers, but the same principal with A and B being the cheapest. With this in mind, I’ll try and keep my recommended list toward a more affordable range. The one exception being a good Cadmium Yellow, which is worth the stretch in cost for what it can do and it’s special mixing qualities.





Titanium White (A1) – Old Holland – 125ml or 225 ml

Or Titanium White (No2) – Michael Harding – 60 or 225ml



Scheveningen Yellow Lemon B10 by Old Holland, (Series B), 40ml

Or Windsor Yellow (722) by Windsor & Newton Artist’s range, (Series 2), 37ml


Cadmium Yellow (402), by Michael Harding, (Series 4), 40ml or 60ml

Or Cadmium Yellow Light (D11), by Old Holland, (Series D), 40ml


Yellow Ochre (119), by Michael Harding, (Series 1), 40ml or 60ml

Or Yellow Ochre Light (A53), by Old Holland, (Series A), 40ml or 60ml



Windsor Red (726), by Windsor & Newton Artists Range, (Series 2), 37ml

Or Scheveningen Red Light (B22), by Old Holland, (Series B), 40ml


Quinacridone Magenta (545), by Windsor & Newton Artists Range, (Series 2), 37ml

Or Magenta (303), by Michael Harding, (Series 3), 40ml or 60ml



Burnt Umber (126), by Michael Harding, (Series 1), 40ml or 60ml

Or Red Umber (A349), by Old Holland, (Series A), 40ml


Raw Umber (121), by Michael Harding, (Series 1), 40ml or 60ml

Or Raw Umber (A69), by Old Holland, (Series A), 40ml


Transparent Oxide Red (220), by Michael Harding, (Series 2), 40ml or 60ml

Or Transparent Oxide Red Lake (B334), by Old Holland, (Series B), 40ml



Ultramarine Blue (113), by Michael Harding, (Series 1), 40ml or 60ml

Or Ultramarine Blue (A36), by Old Holland, (Series A), 40ml



Phthalocyanine Green Lake (213), by Michael Harding, (Series 2), 40ml or 60ml

Or Windsor Green (Phthalo) (720), by Windsor & Newton Artists Range, (Series 2), 37ml

Or Scheveningen Green Deep (C49), by Old Holland, (Series C), 40ml



Ivory Black (129), by Michael Harding, (Series 1), 40ml or 60ml

Or Ivory Black (A74), by Old Holland, (Series A), 40ml



Alizarin Claret (No.310), by Michael Harding, (Series 3), 40ml or 60ml

Or Burgandy Wine Red (D166), by Old Holland, (Series D), 40ml

Or Permanent Alizarin Crimson (468), by Windsor & Newton Artists Range, (Series 4), 37ml


Phthalocyanine Blue Lake (209), by Michael Harding, (Series 2), 40 or 60ml

Or Scheveningen Blue Deep (B226), by Old Holland, (Series B), 40ml or 60ml


Cadmium Yellow Deep (D16), by Old Holland, (Series D), 40ml

Or Cadmium Yellow Deep (403), by Michael Harding, (Series 4), 40 or 60ml


Cadmium Orange (089), by Windsor & Newton Artist’s range, (Series 4), 37ml

This is the one I’m using now which I really like, but there is another more affordable Orange by Michael Harding as listed below, which looks good.

Or Permanent Orange (No. 222), by Michael Harding, (Series 2), 40ml or 60ml


Sap Green (599), by Windsor & Newton Artist’s range, (Series 2), 37ml


Venetian Red (No.122), by Michael Harding, (Series 1), 40 or 60ml




Belle Arti linen canvases

In terms of what you’ll be painting on there are a wealth of canvas and canvas board options to choose from, but as you will be transporting your canvas with you from each class it might be best not to go too big. As a guide perhaps something in the following range of sizes, or equivalent in square format, would suit: 12x16, 18x14, 16x20 or 18x24 inches. Another thing to note is that as far as can, please try to match the ratio of your canvas to your reference photo. For instance if the photo you hope to work from is in a square format, then it’s best to buy a square canvas so everything fits where it should. Things get a little trickier when it comes to matching the ratios of ready-made canvases to unique photo references but don’t worry too much. Do the best you can and we can tailor things to fit later on.

As for which brand to buy, I personally like the Belle Arti – 60 Gallery Excellent Linen ones which are available from KM Evans Art supplies in Dublin, but these are on the expensive end so feel free to use any of the cheaper cotton or linen canvases available from most art stores. The Schoolhouse for Art also has a limited selection of canvases for sale, but they are selling them off at a pace, and don’t plan on stocking them into the future, so you’d need to be quick.



Wooden palette for oil painting

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.


PALETTE CUP (Also known as dippers)

Palette cups also known as dippers

You’ll also need a palette cup to put a small amount paint medium, and solvent for the painting process. These are usually sold with two little cups attached to a single metal base that clips onto you palette.



Palette knife for oil painting

I don’t paint much with a palette knife but they can be handy for mixing up a large quantity of paint, and for scraping off your palette in the clean up, if that is you’re not using disposable ones.





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.


For your brushes though, although Evans have a good selection, if you can I would recommend trying Rosemary & Co Brushes.


I’ll put a list of some other good art shops at the end of this list.



Good prices online




Photo reference

Canvas or canvas board

Oil paints


Sansodor odourless solvent

Linseed oil or Liquin

Palette – either wooden or disposable palette sheets

Palette cups, also known as dippers

Palette Knife - optional

2 or 3 jars with at least one lid

Kitchen paper for cleaning up

2b Pencil, sharpener and eraser

Small funnel from hardware

Lint free microfiber clothes


If you plan on using The Grid Method to help with the drawing please also print the following:

Card or cardboard sheet a little bigger than your photo reference

Some tape

24inch ruler (If you are using The Grid Method)

2b pencil, eraser and pencil sharpener

One or two A4 Acetate plastic sheets (If you are using The Grid Method)

Fine permanent marker suitable for writing on cds or dvds


This pen is for drawing a grid on the acetate sheets, and will help with the drawing.

Below are two pens that should work well, but ask for help from a sales assistant if in doubt.

Staedtler Lumocolor Permanent Pen 318-9 Fine 0.6mm Line – Black

Schneider 244 CD – Marker .7mm – Black

No harm to go finer with a .4 or .5mm