Lately, several people have asked for advice about what type of painting supplies to use in oil painting. Over the last few years, my personal art supply list has evolved from beginner level to a more professional one. For those interested in reading, here are some recommendations.
When I first started painting six years ago, I used Robert Simmons Signet brushes, Winsor Newton and Van Gogh paints, and basic cotton canvases. (The Robert Simmons Signet brushes are made of bristle and are quite stiff.)
My preference now, after trying sable, mongoose, bristle and synthetic brushes is Winsor Newton Monarch brand -- a synthetic mongoose, though I keep sable close by for finishing detail work. I used to use only flat and bright brushes, and now I also use round quite a bit.
The paints I use these days are Old Holland, Williamsburg, and Holbein. It's easier to control the color manipulation and the colors are richer.
Colors to buy? Cadmium yellow, cadmium lemon, and yellow ochre, cadmium red, cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, cobalt, ultramarine blue, and cerulean blue, and sap green, plus either a silver white, cremitz white, and or a zinc. Greens look more natural when they are mixed from the blues and yellows, but that sap green is lovely in landscapes.
The linen canvas that I prefer above all others is no longer imported. It's a shame, because it's a wonderful, tight linen -- like painting on a drum surface. (Yarka linen - imported by Jack Richeson. If someone out there can find this to purchase, I would be most grateful.) Other linens are inconsistent in quality. That said, linen is, to me, a much better painting surface than cotton duck. (The rougher surface of the cotton wears down the brushes at a faster pace.) Therefore, the second best I can find to buy on a consistent basis is Fredrix portrait grade linen.
Most of my supplies come from a local art supply store, either Texas Art Supply or Art Supply on Main. Seldom buy online. I have been disappointed more than once with Jerry's ArtORama. Some time ago, I wrote a very unpleasant blog entry about the evils of Jerry's ArtORama. It was written in anger and frustration-- not very nice at all. Since then, because of an art award gift certificate, I have shopped at the local store, going back several times because the prices are good. But now, it's not worth the headache -- too many bad shopping experiences, inferior products, service, and quality, both online and local. They have such potential.