Oil Painting Class
Jenny Berry


My preferences is You get great, handmade brushes, often for less money than you'd pay at a craft store and yes, you will notice the difference.  I like synthetics for students, they last longer. I like the Ivorys, Shiraz and the Eclipse or Evergreen lines for short flats and long flats and filberts. And I like the Eclipseand Shiraz series for my pointed rounds. I listed each of the series in order of firmness to softness so you can have a kind of gauge for how you like a brush to feel. If you paint thick with heavy paint you'll probably prefer the Ivorys, they're quite stiff and the Eclipse rounds for detail work. If you do fine, smooth detail work and tighter realism, both the Shiraz which are a bit firmer. The softer Evergreens work well and the Eclipse filberts are nice for portrait work. If you're on a budget just go with a nice work horse middle brush like the Shiraz pointed round in middle sizes, they are a perfect "do it all" pointed round brush. And the Shiraz short flat is a nice not too firm, not too stiff flat brush that's so versatile you'll wonder how you ever got along without it but if you know you paint with heavy paint, get the Ivory long flat instead, it's a bit stiffer and you want to be able to move it around the canvas but still have some movement to the bristles. As you paint you'll learn so don't buy too much if you don't know yet! Don't worry though, these are great brushes, you'll use them. It's all good. 
Your brush sizes for class will vary depending on the canvas size you choose. I'll be working very small so it can fit under the Zoom camera comfortably, probably 6 x 8" most of the time so I work with brushes that are about 0 - 4 so you can kind of gauge from there. Let's assume you're working with an 8 x 10 canvas as we size these brushes. Obviously if you're working 16 x 20 your brushes will be quite a bit larger!

Get what you can, what you think you'll need. Start with a few get more later:
1 ea pointed round brush (for drawing and detail work) sizes 0,2,4,6,8 (long handles) I'd recommend Rosemary Shiraz Pointed Rounds 
1 short flat brush size 2 and 4 (long handles) I'd recommend Rosemary Shiraz Short Flats for this brush 

1 long flat brush size 4 and 6 (long handles) Try Rosemary Ivory Long Flats
1 long flat brush size 8 (long handles) If you can afford it, you'll want a larger brush for backgrounds and for toning. Try Rosemary Evergreen Long Flats

If you're taking a portrait course you may want to substitute the flats for filberts if you like a smooth look but it's not necessary. I like to work with flats on portraits, I interchange them all the time. With portraits though I might not buy Ivorys. I might change the brushes to a softer bristle like, Eclipse. Rosemary's Eclipse long filbert is one of my favorites for portraits. Shiraz is good for portrait especially if you work with slightly thicker paint.

Oil Paint
I start my students off with student grade paint in my classroom and I find they will naturally gravitate to artist grade paint when they're ready. They'll buy it and start bringing their own to class, it's a natural transition. You just feel it. It's nothing to stress about. I don't think you should give it a lot of thought if you're just doing your first paintings at this point you should probably start out with student grade paint if that feels right. In my classroom I use both blickstudio brand and Gamblin's 1980. I've found them both to be fine for our purposes. You can read all about the differences between the two grades of paint online, I won't go into it here, there are volumes written on it. I like these two brands because they don't need medium. You need to form your own opinion. I'm behind you 100%. It doesn't matter at this point. You're learning, enjoying yourself and the student grade paint is just fine if you're on a budget don't worry about it!

Artist grade paint is more expensive for many reasons. But if you can easily afford it, go ahead and get it. It's easier to work with for one thing. I forgot how much easier until the other day I did a demo in class and I was too rushed that morning to bring my paint so I used the student paint and I was struggling a bit with it, (not gonna lie). My paints are more cooperative. It was thin and it was hard to get coverage on the canvas. It's good paint for the money, it really is but wow, I could feel the difference! It's a minor thing if money is a problem but if money isn't an issue, go for it. You can see and feel the difference in the paint just like with brushes. 

Artist grade paint has more pigment so when you pull the paint across the canvas it actually covers. It isn't as transparent. It was kind of a frustrating experience working with the student paints. Sorry guys lol! It's the same with cheap brushes. I hear great artists say all the time that you can paint masterpieces with bad brushes. Sure you can, I totally agree that it's possible, but it's harder. When you're a beginner why make things harder for yourself?

Here's what I know about pro-grade oil paints: Gamblin is thick and you have to mix a medium with it to thin it down to get it workable but I love it! Winsor Newton is very oily, you almost have to let the oil soak out on paper towels before you can use it but they have some colors I can't live without, M. Graham uses walnut oil as a base instead of linseed oil and I use a walnut oil medium and what I like about that is that walnut oil for one thing is the shiniest oil so it keeps your blacks from sinking in so your painting doesn't have dull spots (bonus!) so I have quite a collection, I love Williamsburg's King's Blue and so many other colors, they use safflower oil as a base. Michael Harding just makes luxurious paint! Ditto Old Holland, I use many of their earth colors plus those dutch names I just love. I love Sennelier also. 

I have such a huge collection of paints and I love all of them and there's no way I can go on about all of them in detail here you just have to start somewhere and let it grow organically. I go on the product web site and research them and there are also small companies that deserve looking into as well Vassari. And I can't believe I forgot to mention Rublev till now — I have a collection of their umbers that I can't do without. They make amazing paint! The manufacturer's web sites will give you so much information, just order different colors from different companies and see what you like. In time you'll learn what works for you. 

I mention Gamblin a lot and that's because of their transparency. You can go on their web site and watch videos of how they do everything, you can call them, you can talk to their chemists. Yeah, I've done this. Look into your paint and your materials! I don't care what brands you get, but you should.

• Ivory Black
• Titanium White
• Raw Umber
• Cobalt Blue
• Ultramarine Blue
• Alizarine Crimson
• Cadmium Red
• Yellow Ochre
• Cadmium Yellow

That's a full palette black, white, umber. cool blue, warm blue, cool red, warm red, cool yellow, warm yellow. You can eliminate the black and one of the blues if you want to, but since we'll be painting all subjects I thought it would be nice to have a full range, you just never know! Get a few colors now, a few later.

I don't care what size you work on for this class. I usually work on Gessobord panels, I like the smooth, slight tooth but some artists really like the feel of the canvas tooth so they want a canvas panel. (Hint: The reason we use the Blick Studio brand in class is because they have these great inexpensive floater frames that are so nice for framing student work that are made special for these panels. Get 9x12 or 11x14 size if you want multi frame packs) Other artists really like the bounce of an actual stretched canvas here's a good entry level one. Either way, whatever you like is very personal preference, if you don't know yet, you will in time. There's no right or wrong, only personal preference.

• An 8 x 10 or 9 x 12 is fine for this class. Any size is fine, just print out your reference photo the same size as your canvas.

Palette Knife
The knife I've found to work the best, last the longest and I most often see other artists recommending the same shape, is the Blick No. 50 It doesn't matter the brand but the shape is really handy for mixing and moving paint around. The gauge on this one is just about perfect, heavy enough that it won't get all bent out of shape with use but flexible enough that it won't abuse your wrist with use in a long session. Plus, it's 3 bucks!

Wood or glass, whatever you like. I prefer the New Wave Posh Wood in either gray or natural or the New Wave Posh Glass in gray. I've actually got one of each and change back and forth and I've got two of the glass in my classroom. They're just super nice quality and I spend many hours a day painting, I like my materials to make my day as easy as possible, for me they pay for themselves in the end by keeping me painting. But as I've said before, if budget is a concern and you're just starting out a cheap black acrylic frames  from the craft store works perfectly! We've been using these in the classroom for years in sizes 8 x 10 and 11 x 14. We just take the photo that comes with the frame and flip it around so we have a neutral color behind the glass and for a few bucks we have a great glass palette.

Odorless Mineral Spirits
You'll hear this medium called: OMS (odorless Mineral Spirits), Mineral Spirits, Turpentine, "Turps", Solvent, Spirits, Gamsol, Turpenoid, Thinner, I've even had students bring straight up gasoline to class and try to use it to thin their paint and clean their brushes. It's also called a medium (anything you mix with paint can be called medium technically). So, before I end up making this stuff any more confusing than it already is, let me simplify it. 

Please for your own health, purchase odorless mineral spirits. Common brand names are Gamsol or Turpenoid. Turpentine just isn't used by many artists anymore, it's pretty toxic and we have so many alternatives. OMS is a solvent, it breaks down the oil binder that holds the pigment together in your paints so that you can, A) Using it as a brush cleaner, it really cleans your brushes well before washing and conditioning them with soap and B) Using it alone or mixing it with an oil like linseed or walnut helps speed the drying time of the paint in the early layers. Hence the phrase "fat over lean". The more thinner you use in a layer the more lean it is. As you go up higher in the layering process you will add more "fat" or oil whether it's linseed or walnut and less OMS. There are many places online where you can read in depth about the principles of fat over lean so I won't go into it here but it has to do with preserving the structural integrity of your painting and keeping it from cracking over time. Essentially because oil never really dries and thinners dry very quickly. 

I use Gamsol most often (a small container will last you quite a while) but many people use Turpenoid, I've used it plenty over the years, too. Don't use Turpenoid Natural as a solvent, that's another thing all together, it's not a medium!

1 small bottle OMS

Drawing Materials
None of these materials are needed for painting except maybe the ruler, it will be helpful for adjusting your drawing. But if you'd like to do some graphite drawings and I suggest you do! Poor drawing is almost always the problem with a struggling painting and it's what I work on with my students more than any other single thing even though they don't know that drawing is what we're working on! People think of drawing as only the line work but it's the values, half tones and, perspective, structure, design, composition, it's so much more than the line work. It's so easy to just get lost in the color when you're painting and when you think about it that's really so little of it. Drawing is so much of it. Practice it! 

Here are the materials you will need. I will add a class if enough people are interested. I'm listing this stuff because I get asked a lot and I want to be able to tell people it's here. 

Wescott C-Thru Beveled Plastic Ruler for checking tiny measurements. It helps in later stages of drawing when you get lost in it sometimes. 
Sandpaper Pencil Pointer  Easiest way to keep a nice point on your pencils
Derwent Graphic Pencil Set Nice full range set for drawing
Strathmore 400 Series Pads
• Sketch Pad Board
kneaded eraser