John Helms Gallery - oil painting class supplies

Adult Oil Painting Class / 2008

Instructor: John Helms

Oil Painting Supplies List

You may want to print out this page for reference when buying your supplies.

( Links to Watercolor and Acrylic Class Supplies List pages are at the bottom of this page.)




Do NOT buy a cheap “starter paint set” such as "Reeves brand" cheap paints are contaminated with sediments and are a waste of money  - like anything else, the better quality paints and brushes may cost more, but are better quality and last longer. I recommend any size of Winsor and Newton or Grumbacher paint.If you are buying a paint set, such as "Georgian", 9 of these colors are in that set. You can buy the ones that aren't separately.

  1. Sap Green   (  $5.49 each....37Mil Tubes )
  2. Viridian Green
  3. Cadmium Yellow Light
  4. Cadmium Yellow Medium
  5. Yellow Ochre
  6. Naples Yellow
  7. Burnt Sienna
  8. Burnt Umber
  9. French Ultramarine Blue
  10. Cobalt Blue
  11. Cerulean Blue
  12. Alizarin Crimson
  13. Cadmium Red Medium
  14. Titanium White
  15. Raw Sienna and Raw Umber ( Acrylic ) Paint for under-painting – get “Liquitex Basics” brand. ( $4.99ea.)



Do not buy a cheap set of brushes, because the hair will fall out . Also make sure they are hogs hair bristle oil brushes with long handles. There are short, flat-hair brushes called “Brights”and long, tapered-hair brushes called “Filberts”- get the brushes with short, flat hair.


  1. Small & Medium Size Palette Knives – the metal ones with wooden handles.
  2. Numbers 4, 6, and 10 Flat Acrylic Brushes for under-painting. "Royal" Brand are $3.00 each and are clear plastic with a rubber grip-tan color.
  3. Numbers 4, 6, 8, and 10 Flat Hogs Hair Oil Brushes - Natural Color  $3.00 each
  4. There is also an inexpensive assortment of small brushes at Michaels wrapped in black canvas in a round plastic tube. It sells for under $10 retail and is a good buy for the money. This is optional - not required.
  5. Number 4 or 5 Rigger Brush ( a long, thin brush for painting branches of trees and grass. )   $3.19ea.


Painting Palette:

  1. 12 x 16” Disposable Tear-off  Paper Palette – "Strathmore" brand is yellow and comes in a pad.  $9.99ea.
  2. White plastic palette holder with blue lid to keep oil paint from drying out- made for above palette. When you get home, put "Vaseline" on the inside track of the top lid and also around the edge of the white plastic palette - this will make it easier to open and close the lid. ( $15.99ea ).


Oil Painting Surface:

  1. 16 x 20” stretched canvas ( Michaels has regular sales on these – in Fine Art section ). ( 2pk., $9.99ea. )
  2. 12 x 16” Canvas Pad ( Fredrix brand is yellow and comes in a pad – tear off at top ).  $13.99ea.
  3. A desk-top easel like the ones Michaels sells for $15.00.( on isle with “One-Stroke”paint supplies).  $14.99ea.
  4. “Liquitex” or “Basics” White Gesso – comes in white plastic bottles - on paint isle. $7.99ea.
  5. Emory cloth ( black in color ) for sanding down dried layers of gesso on painting surface.
  6. 2” gesso brush or flat 3”disposable sponge brush for priming canvas with gesso. ( $0.59ea )


Miscellaneous Items – You’ll need all of these.

  1. Kneaded Eraser ( on graphics supplies isle at Michaels and art supply stores.)  $0.89ea.
  2. Liquin Oil Drying Medium ( a small bottle will go a long way-on paint isle.)  $7.99ea.
  3. Thin or Medium, Soft Vine Charcoal sticks-comes in small boxes. ( on Graphic Art isle at Michaels).  $2.79ea
  4. Paper towels or rags-old t-shirts make good painting rags, old clothes, or apron to paint in.
  5. Odorless paint thinner – Mona Lisa brand does not smell -on the paint isle at Michaels. )  $8.99ea.
  6. Art box, fishing tackle box, or tool box with carrying handle for paints, brushes and misc. supplies. ( $5.00 on up )
  7. Small Color Wheel – usually on paint isle in art supply stores and at Michaels.  $3.99ea
  8. 1 lb. empty coffee can with lid ( free after using it ) and an aluminum sink strainer ( Wal-Mart ) for cleaning brushes. ( $2.98 )


Art Supplies and Student Discounts: Since art supplies are so expensive buy them wherever you can find them on sale. Michaels Stores have a sale on art supplies every other week, along with various craft items – the sales circular usually comes in Sunday’s Commercial Appeal every other week and has a 40% off any regularly priced item coupon in it. My students get a discount off their art supplies- 10% at Michaels, 15% at The Art Center, and 20 to 25% off at Sherri’s Discount Art if you show them your art supplies list. There is no student discount at Hobby Lobby. Other sources for buying art supplies is and  - both of them will also mail you a free catalogue if you ask for it.


Recommended Artist Forums on the Internet:  This is by far the largest international forum on the internet for artists. There are many channels on many categories to choose from and in each of these channels are many, many  forums chock full with good information and good artists to learn from. Any artist on any level of experience can benefit from these forums.


Click Here to go to Acrylic Class Supplies

Click Here to go to Watercolor Class Supplies

Click Here to go to Pics of Art Supplies Page

Click Here to go to Painting Class Info.



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Last modified: 08/23/08