When I teach, my students ask about everything, from my brushes to my website tools, so I thought it might be helpful to create a resource page that you can come to for all of the products I use. I’ll add to it periodically or change things as I change and I will refer to this page quite often. I recommend bookmarking it for your reference and convenience. Enjoy!
Oil Paint - I use RGH, Utrecht and Gamblin (especially the 150 ml tubes or larger cans) - eventually I may switch all my colors to RGH (I just started using them and I like them a lot - also the price is incredible, especially in the larger containers) - ALWAYS!!! use professional lightfast pigments!
Utrecht Painting Supplies - click here to go directly to Utrecht paint!
- Gamblin 8 oz can
- Manganese Blue Hue
- Transparent Earth Orange
- RGH Artists' Oil Paints
- Titanium White
- Cadmium Lemon
- Cadmium Yellow Medium
- Red Oxide Transparent
- Yellow Oxide Transparent
- Quinacridone Red
- Ultramarine Blue
- Green Oxide Transparent
- Utrecht 150 ml tubes
- Phthalo Blue (Green Shade)
- Phthalo Green (Blue Shade)
- Cadmium Red Medium
- Cadmium Red Light
- Cadmium Orange
Utrecht Art.com: I have used Utrecht and Gamblin for more than 25 years. I've tried other brands, but that seems to add an unnecessary complication to ordering since these two brands are high quality paint. I like to keep life simple. Utrecht carries both brands so I generally use one-stop shopping. I buy from Jerry's Artarama, ASW, Texas Art Supply and Blick Art Materials as well when I need some brushes that Utrecht doesn't carry or someone is having a really good sale at the time.
Utrecht Free Catalog - I recommend getting Utrecht's catalog because they often have special sales from their catalogs.
Brushes - I have used the same types of brushes for about 20 years. 30 years ago I used primarily bristles; as I began playing with greater subtlety in my art I experimented with a lot of different brands and types of brushes and these have become my favorites. I still experiment from time to time and switched from Robert Simmons to Utrecht brushes about 6 years ago. I recommend you experiment as well and see what works for you.
click here to go directly to Utrecht brushes!
- Isabey Mongoose Style 6158 - sizes 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 (I buy these from Jerry's Artarama or Blick Art Materials)
- Utrecht Series 209 Flats Bristle Brush - sizes 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12
- Utrecht Series 207 Flats - sizes 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12
- Utrecht Series 203 Flats - sizes 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12
- Utrecht Series 260 2" - I have 3 of these - I use one for the final coat of gesso on my panels, one for large color washes on my paintings and one for just-in-case moments.
- Royal & Langnickel Series 5590 - Sizes 2, 10, 16. These are tough to find and when I order more I will probably go with Rosemary & Co's series 279, especially since the Langnickels are prone to losing hairs.
Panels - I use Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) - it is stable and smooth and once gessoed a good archival substrate. I buy 1/4" 2x4 ft panels from Home Depot. I special order larger panels from lumber yards. I have a roll of double lead primed linen, but I prefer to add brush texture with gesso to the wood panels.
Gesso- I use professional acrylic gesso - I read a conservator's essay almost 20 years ago that stated acrylic was superior to oil primer for oil paints due to the problems associated with rabbit skin glue. I was more than happy to jump ship and abandon the toxic oil primer. I have since used it with, as far as I know, wonderful results! Someone wrote recently and mentioned that a conservator in Canada warned that acrylic gesso might separate from MDF panels. I haven't experienced that in the 18 or so years I've been using them, but I will do some research and see what the consensus is. I appreciate feedback like that, there wasn't much info available in the 90's! You will want to avoid paints with zinc oxide if you use acrylic gesso - zinc oxide causes a delamination problem.
Utrecht Professional Acrylic Gesso or other professional brand version- I buy it in gallon containers - don't use anything less than the professional grade!
Solvents - I avoid toxic fumes and chemicals as much as possible.
Turpenoid Natural - it is non toxic. This will dissolve dried oil paints from brushes - oh yeah, I really don't like cleaning brushes and inevitably regret putting it off. Don't use this for washes on your painting - I tried it about 18 years ago and the painting never really dried.
Gamblin Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits - I listened to an interview where Robert Gamblin stated that Gamsol mineral spirits fumes are less harmful than the air that comes through our windows and will not absorb through our skin. Stay away from turpentine if you can since it is harmful to breathe and is absorbed through the skin. Gamsol is useful for the initial washes on paintings - although I primarily use just walnut oil now.
Walnut Oil - I use M. Graham Company walnut oil for my initial washes and lay in because the colors retain a more wet look than with mineral spirits when they dry - the darks aren't so sunken and matte looking.
Paper Towels - Most professional artists I know use Viva (update: Viva changed their composition or manufacturing - the towels fall apart if I wipe paint off my panel and leave little remnants everywhere - I still use them, but will probably switch to rags or the blue shop towels. Hopefully Viva will bring back their original towels some time soon.
Books I buy most of my books from Amazon or Half Price Books, but you might find some of these at traditional book stores as well.
Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis
- Great information from an illustrator's point of view, yet definitely helpful for realist artists. Many of the top representational fine artists today learned work ethic and helpful techniques as illustrators.
The Painter's Keys
- I have been reading Robert Genn's twice weekly newsletters for 5 or 6 years. I don't know how he does it while keeping up with painting. Very entertaining and inspiring!
Start Logic: I have been using Start Logic since 2004 when I created my website. Great phone tech support. I trust Start Logic.
Books for learning how to use Adobe Products:There are also some pretty good free tutorials on YouTube.
Dreamweaver - the Missing Manual:
This has everything - I haven't read it cover to cover - when I have a question I use the index and find what I need at the moment.
Video books for learning how to use Adobe Products:I have the video series for Illustrator and Flash as well, but I haven't had time to look at them so I have only included those that I use.
Adobe Photoshop CS6 Digital Classroom:
Photoshop is amazing, but I am still a comparative neanderthal with my abilities - I just don't have time to learn it well - that's why I have books and tutorials when I need them.
Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 Digital Classroom:
I refer to these often when I change up my website occassionally - this stuff just doesn't stay in my brain very well - I'm much more interested in painting than web design.
Learning & Listening
I love to learn about everything so I listen to books while I paint. I usually need to hear a book a few times because my brain only lets bits and pieces sink in while I'm engaged in actual painting mode. Once in a while I listen to a book for entertainment, especially youth books - I don't like foul language or 'for mature audiences' content - maybe it's because I'm just a big kid, but generally I like positive uplifting influences. For artists, Audible is a great resource.
The Great Courses:
I listened to my first Great Courses book in 1992 and have been telling friends about them ever since. They are beautifully done and fun to learn from!
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliates, which means that you get to help me earn a commission and it won't cost you a penny more. Kind of cool, huh. I've used many of these companies and products for more than a decade. I won't recommend any product or company unless I am personally a fan. So I hope you have as much fun with them as I do! Feel free to let me know what you find useful as well.