Unlike other types of Paint, oil paint is relatively thick which can make it a little difficult to work with.
But don’t let that stop you from trying! Many of the most famous painters used oil paint as their medium of choice and their work has stood the test of time for several centuries.
However, if you are just starting out, you are probably wondering: what is the best oil paint for beginners? In this article, we will answer any commen questions beginners might have.
Famous Oil Paintings
Did you know that some of the most famous and loved paintings are made using oil paints? Even if you know relatively little about art history, you will probably recognize a few of these paintings when you hear their names.
Some examples of famous oil paintings are the Mona Lisa, Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Night Watch and The Starry Night. Maybe one of these even inspired you to try painting yourself.
Artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt van Rijn all liked to work with oil paint. Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone that picks up oil painting becomes a world famous artist in a few days. But you take a few online oil painting courses, you never know where you will end up.
What to Look for in Good Oil Paint?
There are a ton of different brands on the market nowadays that sell oil paints. So it is difficult for both beginners and experienced artists to find what they are looking for.
Most beginners are tempted to go with the cheapest oil paint they can find. Unfortunately, these paints are normally of rather low quality and don’t give very vibrant colors either. So even if you are looking for oil paint for beginners, we normally recommend you go with a slightly higher quality brand.
Of course, buying the most expensive paint isn’t going to turn you into an amazing artist right away. But they will grow with you as you get better and better. Whereas working with bad paints will surely hinder your progress in the long run.
Besides objectively listing all the pros and cons for separate brands of oil paint, there is also a subjective part when choosing your favorite paint to work with. Although we all want paint that will withstand the passage of time, everyone has a different personal preference when it comes to the desired viscosity of your paint.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying oil paint.
Oil Paint Brand
It seems like a new brand of oil paint hits the market several times a year nowadays. Some of them are surprisingly good, while others aren’t worth the money at all. Choosing a new brand is always a little of a hit or miss.
If you want to make sure you have good quality oil paint, you better go with one of the well-known brands such as Schmincke Mussini, Old Holland, Vasari and Winsor & Newton. Buying oil paint from one of those brands pretty much guarantees good quality. Although they might not be the cheapest, they are probably best oil paint brands for beginners.
Student Quality Or Professional Quality
Most major brands offer oil paint in two different categories: student quality and professional quality.
Student quality paint comes at a lower price point due to the lower concentration of pigment but as a result also often produces subpar and dull colors. However, as the name implies, they are a good way for students and beginners to learn how to work with oil paint.
If you are looking for the best oil paints out there, definitely consider buying professional quality oil paint. Although professional paint can be a little pricey, even a small tube will last a long time. If the price is a problem, you can consider buying an entire set of colors at once to save some cost.
A few tubes of Old Holland oil paint – the price of a wknd in Paris avec Cristal! Amazing pigment however!! pic.twitter.com/HGCP6tbl5B
— Hugh Miller (@hhjmiller) 22 April 2016
The lightfastness or permanence of your paint indicates how well the paint will resist fading due to external factors such as light exposure. Most brands will use ASTM, the worldwide standard, to label their paint between I (excellent) and III (insufficient).
Especially if you are going to use a canvas for oil painting and you want a result that can last over time, it is important to know the lightfastness of your paint. Fortunately, if you decide to buy professional grade paint this will almost never be a problem. But pay attention if you go with student quality paint.
As mentioned before, many people have a preferred oil paint brand based on the thickness or viscosity of the paint. Depending on the paint viscosity it might be easier or harder to work with using your oil paint brushes.
Although it is difficult to know how thick a paint is without trying it yourself, you can make a good guess by checking the oil and filler content in the paint. Or a quick Google search might do since some brands are well known for providing thick oil paints such as Old Holland.
Keep in mind though that is it pretty simple to dilute the paint by mixing in a little thinner. On the other hand, thickening a paint is very difficult.
Recommended Oil Paint Sets to Start With
Old Holland Classic
Old Holland produces some of the most high-quality oil paints you can find.
Normally different colors are sold in individually tubes of 40ml. Depending on the pigment used the price can vary a lot.
For beginners, it might be a better choice to go with a complete set. The Old Holland Classic Oil Intro Set comes in 6 different colors; titanium white, Scheveningen yellow light, Scheveningen red light, ultramarine blue, burnt umber and red gold lake.
Since the set is geared towards beginners the tubes contain only 18ml of oil paint, which will be enough to decide if you like the paint or not.
Click Here to buy the Old Holland paint
Sennelier Artist Oil Paint Set
The Sennelier Artist Oils Set includes excelling artist quality oil paints that will serve you not only with landscape paintings but pretty much anything else you can think of.
It might seem more expensive than the Old Holland set but this one provides 2 additional colors for a total of 8. The colors included are Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow Light, Chinese Orange, Cadmium Red Light, Alizarin Crimson, Azure Blue, French Ultramarine and Yellow Ochre.
Additionally, every tube contains 40 ml of some of the best oil paints you can find. So per ml of paint, you might very well end up cheaper.
Finally, this set includes some nice freebies such as a color mixing guide, 10 tips for pein air painting and a free Isabey #6 Filbert bristle brush.
Click Here to buy the Sennelier artist paint
Winsor & Newton Winton Oil Set
At almost half the price, Winsor & Newton offers their own oil set of 10 different colors. Although the colors might not be as vivid, they still offer good lightfastness, consistency, and texture compared to other brands.
Winsor & Newton is probably the best oil paint in this price range. It comes with 10 colors despite the cheap price and every tube contains 37 ml of paint.
So you don’t have to be afraid of wasting expensive paint with every little mistake you make. Instead just focus on practicing and having fun.
The colors included are Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue, Cadmium Red Deep Hue, French Ultramarine, Phthalo Blue, Permanent Green Light, Viridian Hue, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Siena, Ivory Black and Titanium White.
Click Here to buy the Winsor & Newton paint
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