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Thread: Beginning oil painting/hesitating about materials and books

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    Beginning oil painting/hesitating about materials and books

    I have to wait about 12 weeks before I can sign up for drawing/painting lessons, so I really wanted to get a head start before I start with lessons.

    Besides my quest to learn how to draw, I really want to experiment with painting.

    So, I thought I would try oil painting.

    I did some reading on the boards and with the help of that I compiled the following lists of things I will order at this online store (because if I would buy it at my local art store the price would probably double!!).

    - Zorn palette of student quality oil paints (winton, using ivory black instead of lamp black, since apparently it will be easier to mix with other colors, at least for the beginner)

    - 1 x #6 flat brush, hog hair (brand is Vincent I think, it was the cheapest)
    - 1 x #6 flat brush, hog hair (winton, just so I can compare different student brushes)
    - 2 x 5.5 mm flat brush (Manet) ( 1 for light 1 for dark, just like the #6's btw)
    - 75 mL stand oil and turpentine
    - mixing palette (plastic, can be closed)
    - palette knife (plastic)

    I read that it's probably best to clean your brushes with vegetable oil first, after using and then washing them with soap… so I'll probably do that and only use turpentine if absolutely necessary. Not sure why I have stand oil on the list.

    I was just wondering if I'm buying anything that is just not necessary for the beginner or if there is something I'm missing that is indispensable for oil painting (apart from the canvas, I plan to just paint on gessoed card board/wood/make shift canvas/whatever is cheap at the moment, since I'm not planning on making any masterpieces anytime soon).

    Then, there are the books.

    I suppose, to be able to paint well you should have an idea on how to draw well…

    So I'm wondering the following:
    I have a really nice collection of books, mostly on perspective and figure drawing (Loomis, Bridgeman, Vanderpool, Nikolaides, Gurney, cheeseman-meyer to name some authors) but because I am lacking all of the basics, when my pencil hits the paper, it just makes me feel like Bambi on ice, trying to work from those books.

    Some people on CA suggested the book "Drawing essentials" by Deborah Rockman, but I've also read about Brian Curtis’ "Drawing from observation".

    Both seem to teach the same thing, and both are a little pricey.

    I'm not sure which one I should get and, with all the other drawing books that I have, would these books even be necessary? Do these really let you start from the basics (by that I mean learning to render the basic shapes and learning how each shape relates to the other in real life... if that makes sense)?

    I would also appreciate it if anyone could tell me what Deborah's book looks like… as in how her chapters are built up, assignments etc., As you cannot preview the book anywhere.

    As for oil painting, I heard there are two good books:
    one, "Oil Painting for the Serious Beginner" and two, Richard Schmid’s "Alla Prima”.

    Keeping in mind that I'm a complete beginner, If I can only have one book on oil painting at the moment, which one would be the most useful?

    I really tried my best to find all the answers on CA and other sites, so I apologize if the answers to my questions are obvious and I also apologize if this thread is repeating previous threads, but I appreciate any advice that comes my way
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  3. #2
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    Something to paint on might be an idea. Get a few cheap canvases. Hardboard with some gesso would be good, but you need to prep those in advance.

    Add rags & kitchen roll. You might want a few more brushes.
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    Allrich's book "Oil painting for the Serious Beginner" is a better starting place than Schmid's. ANd Rockman's book is the best I've seen on observational drawing fundamentals. It's broken up into logical sections on basics/measuring, composition, figure and more - it's pretty heavy duty but that is a good thing.
    What would Caravaggio do?
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    Don't buy the Winton paints, they're crap. Spring for the W&N artist's line, or another proper professional brand, you won't be sorry. If you really want to keep costs down, don't worry about color at all and just start with white and raw umber.
    Since you're not using any resins that require turpentine to dissolve, go for odorless mineral spirits like Turpenoid or Gamsol instead of the turps.
    I don't know why you're getting the stand oil either. Plain refined linseed oil is probably a better oil to have if you are going to have just one.
    You'll want more brushes. In addition to the bristles, a few smaller synthetics are a good idea. Get a couple of small flats and maybe a round.
    Get a proper metal palette knife, plastic ones are useless, and metal ones aren't that expensive.
    A paper palette pad is probably more useful than a plastic palette, and cheaper.

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    To add...oil painting brushes are not very expensive. I recommend the Robert Simmons "Signet" line - in flats - get two of each of these sizes: #2, #4 #6 and maybe one #8.
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    Oh, and as Ms Spot says... rags, rags and more rags. You can never have enough rags.

    Make sure the spirit pot to clean your brushes in is big and heavy; Heavy so you don't knock it over. Big so that it contains lots of spirit - don't go poncing about with silly cups...
    From Gegarin's point of view
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
    Oh, and as Ms Spot says... rags, rags and more rags. You can never have enough rags.

    Make sure the spirit pot to clean your brushes in is big and heavy; Heavy so you don't knock it over. Big so that it contains lots of spirit - don't go poncing about with silly cups...
    Can someone translate this into American for me?
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Can someone translate this into American for me?
    She meant don't go faffing about and playing silly buggers with wee receptacles.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Star Eater View Post
    She meant don't go faffing about and playing silly buggers with wee receptacles.
    I believe Chis is a Christopher, and now can someone translate the South Afrikaner Translation into American for me.
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    Man I wish I was Bri'ish!
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    I believe Chis is a Christopher, and now can someone translate the South Afrikaner Translation into American for me.
    Indeed, I'm sorry Mr Bennett. It's just... I wish you were my mom sometimes.
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    I Agree with whats been said but would recommend a glass palette over paper. One that you don't hold but sits on a table or beneath your easel. In my experience you tend to not clean a paper palette as much compared to a glass palette.
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  23. #13
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    I use a wooden palette myself. But glass sounds really interesting
    and its a good point about the cleaning.
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