Whenever we think of the best oil paints, we automatically think back to the Age of Renaissance, when the masters of Art created their masterpieces.
Indeed all the great masters – Raphael, Michelangelo and Da Vinci – used oil paint in their creations that have survived hundreds of years. In fact, oil paint was the only kind of paint that was versatile enough for these great artists to freely use in their work.
It’s true that oil paints have changed a lot over the last centuries, but they still remain a favorite of both professional and beginner artists.
Using oil paint in art has remained a classic media since the Renaissance age, because paintings made with these paints mature and develop over time and age.
There are a lot of reasons that artists and beginners still prefer oil paint in their work, even though it is a harder skill to learn.
It is also extremely important that you know all about oil paint before we start using them, especially that we are able to recognize the best oil paints for our art – which you can find in this article.
Top 10 Best Oil Paints For the Money
If you are looking for the best oil paints for your art projects, you can definitely find the answer here below, in this list of the 10 most popular oil paint brands and collections.
1. Winsor and Newton Winton Oil Paint Basic Set
This is a basic set of only 10 paint tubes, in primary colors like yellow, red, blue, green, brown and white. If you are a complete beginner or working on a small project, this miniature basic oil paint set would be absolutely perfect for you. Each tube of paint contains 21 ml of paint, just enough for a few medium-sized paintings.
Even if this is just a small set of basic colors, you still get some extraordinary colors in it, including ivory black, burnt umber, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, viridian ue, phthalo blue, french ultramarine, cadmium red and cadmium yellow.
These colors can be mixed with each other to create some brilliant new shades or colors, perfect for all kinds of paintings and art projects.
The colors are permanent and brilliant, with lightfast drying that works in minutes after applying. They can be used individually or intermixed, even with other brands.
Affordable and conveniently packaged in small tubes in a single box, they are easy to use and seal. Small mouths of the tube makes it possible to pour the paint directly on to a rush, or an easel.
Winton oil paint tubes use very reasonably priced color pigments, so that the color quality and performance isn’t compromised.
The paint in this brand has a much higher option in color and the consistency also happens to be more uniform than any other brand. Besides, it is the brilliant sheen of Winton oil paint on canvas that makes this brand so unique.
- 10 different colors in one pack
- 21 ml paint in each tube
- Basic yet exciting colors such as burnt sienna, yellow ochre, viridian hue and phthalo blue
- Easy to use sealable tubes
- Clear mention and indication of color
- Intermixable with other brands
- Can be used separately or mixed with other colors
- Brilliant and permanent color
- Lightfast drying in a few minutes
- Small openings of paint tubes
- Reasonably priced pigment used in paint
- Excellent color quality that enhances with time
- Uniform consistency of paint
- Portrays brilliant sheen on canvas and other mediums
2. ZenART Oil Paint for Artists
These are rather larger 45 ml tubes of oil paint that come in 8 different colors, in a single pack.
Even though they would seem like basic colors and shades at first glance, you are actually getting exotic shades like Prussian Blue, Ultramarine blue, Viridian, Dioxazine Purple, Rubine Red, Indian Yellow, lemon yellow and Titanium White in it.
You can mix these exotic colors to produce any other color or shade possible. These are the colors essential in creating all other colour you might need, a part of the Impressionist Palette series by ZenART.
The 45 ml paint tubes will last more than a dozen paintings, landscapes and portraits, no matter how detailed the work. The paints all come ready-to-use, and the entire experience is soft and smooth.
The colors mix effortlessly with each other, even with paint from other brands. Vivid and vibrant colors, each of the tubes come with bright oil paint that can be directly used on a canvas, or mixed together in a palette.
ZenART Oil paints are made from high-grade linseed oil and non-toxic pigment that is safe for everyone to use. These paints are free from harmful drying ingredients or solvent fumes, or even any kind of animal products.
ZenART oil paints don’t have any problem to blend with other colors, but spreads finely on any surface. The paint dries out extremely fast, and develops rather than fades over time.
- Set of 8 different colors
- Comes in large tubes of 45 ml paint
- Consists of exotic shades such as Prussian Blue, Viridian, Rubine Red, lemon yellow, Titanium White, etc
- Eco-friendly and non-toxic materials
- Dries extremely fast
- Perfect for landscapes, seascapes and Impressionist art
- Comes ready to paint directly
- Consistent color brings a balance throughout a painting
- Blends beautifully with other colors and other brands
- No toxic fumes or harmful driers
- Thins out flant on most surfaces
- Color develops over time
3. Zenacolor Oil Paint Set
If you need more than half a dozen color options for your art projects, this is the set you need! The Zencolor Oil Paint Set is a pack of 24 colors, each 12 ml in size; together, the paint tubes are enough to complete a few detailed paintings and landscapes.
The oil paints from Zencolor aren’t just suitable for canvases and paper, but also for clay, wall art, etc. They can be also used to paint murals on walls and can also be washed off.
In this set of 24 oil paints, you also get exotic color choices like titanium white, carmine red, lemon yellow, vermilion, cobalt, Hooker’s Green, burnt umber, ocher, Prussian Blue, ivory black and burnt Sienna, and more.
The color tubes are small in size, which means that this can be a starter pack for beginners, adults and children. At the same time, the high-quality paint makes it a good set for experts and professionals, as well.
The paint can be mixed, blended or even used on canvas with an art brush, a knife, or a paint brush.
Zencolor oil paints are extremely versatile and vibrant, but can also be washed away with a solvent, water and soap. The paint takes longer to dry than the other brands, but improves with time.
- Set of 24 colors in a pack
- Each paint tube holds 12 ml of paint
- Versatile and convenient to use
- Can be used on walls, clay and murals beside canvas and paper
- Comes in exotic colors
- Can be blended easily with other colors or brands
- Perfect for landscapes and other painting types
- Single set covers entire color wheel
- Can be blended and used with paint brush, art brush or knife
- Takes relatively longer to dry
- Perfect for beginners and professionals
- Can be used by both adults and children
- Can be washed off by solvent, water and soap
- Paint is non-toxic and safe
- Dense and rich-colored pigments
4. ARTEZA Oil Paint Set
This is another oil paint set of 24 colors, each 12 ml in weight and content. For convenience, the paint comes in 4 separate plates, each catering to a particular shade or part of the color wheel.
It is a compact set; although there are 24 different color tubes in this set, they are all small and convenient to use – perfect to travel with or put in your bag.
Every single tube in this set gives a thick and rich oil paint, that is vibrant in color and develops over time.
They can be used to create subtle blends for light-colored projects or to create vibrant and bright paintings. These oil paints from ARTEZA take time to dry which also makes it possible to rectify any mistakes in the painting.
Instead of the basic colors anyone would expect in such a compact set, you actually get multiple shades of familiar colors, like Titanium white, Yellow (Yellow Pale, Lemon, mid, Orange Yellow and Yellow Ochre), Red (Vermilion, Burnt, Scarlet, Cadmium and Crimson Red), Blue (Cobalt Violet, Sky, Cerulean, Ultramarine, Prussian and Cobalt), Green (Viridian, Light and Mid Green), as well as other exclusive colors like Silver, Gold. Burnt Umber and Lamp Black.
With such an impressive range of color options, it is possible to create every single shade in the world an artist wants.
- Set of 24 color tubes
- Each tube holds 12 ml of paint
- Easy to blend and use
- ACMI-certified for safety
- Can be used by both adults and children, professionals and beginners
- Thick and rich-colored paint for canvases and paper
- Comes in multiple shades of each color
- Impressive color range, covers entire color wheel
- Contains exclusive colors such as Gold and Silver
- Easy to read labels
- Easy to squeeze tubes for convenience
5. Winsor & Newton Winton Titanium White Paint
If you are a seasoned hobbyist or a professional, you’ll definitely know that the most used color in the paint box is the white, i.e. the Titanium White.
You’ll always need ample supply of this color in your art projects – not just for painting but for blending and mixing your paints together. White paint isn’t just needed for direct use, but to change the shade of other colors when needed.
Affordable yet of a high-quality, this is a paint tube that holds 38 ml of paint.
Completely permanent, this Titanium White paint tube is something that you will be able to use for a long time. Although white, these paints have 0 opacity or transparency and lightfast drying capacity.
- Single color paint tube
- Dazzling Titanium White paint
- Tube holds 38 ml of paint
- Needed for blending and mixing
- Needed for changing and lightening shade of other colors
- Can be used for increasing amount of other paint
- Will last a long time
- High-quality pigment used in paint
- Affordable price
- Zero opacity or transparency
6. Daler Rowney 117900100 Graduate Oil Selection
Almost everyone in the art world is familiar with the name “Daler Rowney”, which is a renowned name in fine art materials.
If you are looking for quality and quantity instead of variety, this is the set for you. The Daler Rowney 117900100 Graduate series is a pack of 10 paint tubes, each containing 38 ml of oil paint.
As usual, you get exotic and exclusive colors like burnt umber, umber Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Sap Green, Ultramarine Blue, Crimson, Cadmium Red, Lemon Yellow, Titanium White and Ivory Black in this set instead of just the basic colors.
All the paints have been traditionally crafted and gives the artist a soft and buttery feel when blending or painting. The high pigment load of the paint gives your art projects the shine and brilliance it needs for years to come.
The 117900100 Graduate Oil Selection from Daler Rowney is perfect for both adults and children, professionals, hobbyists and beginners.
- From world renowned brand “Daler Rowney”
- Set of 10 paint tubes
- Each tube holds 38 ml of paint
- Comes with exotic colors like Sap Green, Ultramarine Blue, Crimson, Cadmium Red, Lemon Yellow, etc.
- Traditionally crafted
- Gives a soft and buttery feel when used or blended
- High pigment load in paint
- Perfect for both adults and children
- Greats for beginners and professionals alike
7. MozArt Supplies Oil Paint Set
The name of the brand says it all! “MozArt” Supplies Store has everything a beginner or a professional artist might need for their projects, including of course, oil paint. This is a 24-tube oil paint set from MozArt Supplies that caters to all shades of the color wheel.
You get almost every imaginable shade of color in this set, including colors like Brilliant Red, Phthalo Blue, Sap Green, Viridian, Rose Red, Burnt Umber and Raw Umber. There’s also Titanium White that’s absolutely compulsory in every set, as well as uncommon shades such as Flesh Tint and Payne’s Grey.
These paints from MozArt are perfect not just for paper and canvas, but also on murals, clay, walls, windows, bricks and black surfaces. You can use these paints on both white and black surfaces, with the same vibrancy and sheen provided by the paint.
The paint is extremely thick and rich so that you can easily make multiple layers on canvas with them, without any unwanted texture or dimension. If you want to experiment with transparency, color blocking or saturation, this can be the ideal paint set for you.
All paint from MozArt Supplies are 100% non-toxic, environment-friendly and free from harmful chemicals.
They are perfectly safe for children to use, as well as the quality required for professional art. The paints are also all ASTM-certified and conform to ASTM-DT4236 guidelines.
- Set of 24 colors
- Each tube holds 12 ml paint
- Easy to squeeze tubes
- Colors can be easily identified with labels and names on the tube
- Rich and smooth texture
- Consists of exotics and exclusive colors
- Comes with special Flesh Tint and Payne’s Gray
- Can be used to create multiple layers
- Can be used on canvas, paper, murals and pottery
- Can be used to experiment with transparency, color blocking or saturation
- Perfect for children, beginners, hobbyists and professionals
- 100% non-toxic materials and free from harmful chemicals
- Environment-friendly and safe to use
- ASTM-certified and conforms to ASTN-DT4236
8. Oil Paint Set by Art Accelerators
Working on a detailed and colorful painting? This oil paint set from Art Accelerators may just be what you need! This is a large 32-color paint set with 12 ml paint in each of the tubes.
With such a large and varied set, you can find every single color in the universe in one place! In compact and travel-friendly tubes, this is a set that you can store anywhere or carry around in your bag or satchel.
In a single set, you are getting more colors than ever. From Lamp black to Raw Umber and Grey, this set has 2 shades of Purple (Light and Purple), five shades of Green (Viridian, Sap, Light, Medium and Emerald), five shades of Blue (Sky, Light Grey, Cobalt, Prussian and Phthalocyanine), five shades of Yellow (Yellow Green, Deep, Yellow Ochre, Mid and Lemon), as well as various shades of Red and Titanium White.
This is the only complete color palette you are going to need for any kind of landscape, seascape, abstract painting or portrait.
This is a complete oil paint set perfect for gifts or for personal use, both for adults and children – beginners, professionals and hobbyists.
The perfectly pigmented paint leaves a glossy finish and lets everyone paint like professionals the very first time.
The paint becomes slightly darker as it dries, but the sheen and the vibrancy of the colors remain the same. This set comes with a Golden Nylon paint brush which is included inside the pack of paint for the artist’s convenience.
- Large set of 32 colors
- Each tube contains 12 ml paint
- Perfect to travel with or store anywhere
- Comes in multiple shades of every color
- Contains uncommon colors such as Phthalocyanine Blue, Light Grey Blue, Orange Red and Magenta
- Perfect for landscapes, seascapes, portraits and abstracts
- Comes with a Golden Nylon paint brush
- Leaves a glossy finish when dries
- Becomes darker as paint dries over time
9. Castle Art Supplies Oil Paint Set
This is another 24-color oil paint from Castle Art Supplies, one of the most renowned names in art products all over the world.
Each tube contains 12 ml paint, and you can get the most exotic and exclusive colors in this set, namely: Chinese White, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre Deep, Flesh, Grenadine, Cadmium Orange, Payne’s Grey, Cerulean Blue and Hooker’s Green. These are not colors that you can get in all oil paint sets, but they are all present in this one.
Besides the exclusive colors, this oil paint set is perfect for particular art styles like the Alla Prima, which means “Wet on Wet” technique, blending and Impasto, which is the technique preferred by Van Gogh.
The pigments are added so in these paints that artists find them to be extremely versatile and balanced.
The oil paints from Castle mix and blend easily with other paints and other brands, and gives you the perfect look on canvas or paper.
These oil paints dry slow but are permanent on canvas; the color improves and deepens on drying, and with time.
The tubes are re-sealable after use and the colors can be easily recognized from the label and sample on the tubes. The firm and consistent paint inside the air-tight tubes can be used for a long time, and even after a long gap in use.
- Comes in a set of 24 paint tubes
- Each tube contains 12 ml paint
- Comes with exclusive and uncommon colors like Chinese White, Yellow Ochre Deep, Flesh, Grenadine and Cadmium Orange
- Perfect for most art styles, including Alla Prima and Impasto
- Expertly formulated with high-quality color for flexible painting
- Comes in air-tight resealable tubes
- Can be used for a long time
- Paint stays fresh and brand new after a long interval
- Comes with a money-back guarantee
- Comes with a step-by-step tutorial
- Creates vibrant result on paper and canvas
10. Ohuhu Oil Paint Set
Finally, another 36-color oil paint set that both professional artists and hobbyist beginners love.
This set from Ohuhu comes with 36 vibrant colors including three shades of Yellow, Flesh Tint, Rose, Scarlet, three shades of Red, four shades of Blue, three shades of Green, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber, as well as Raw Umber, Payne’s Grey, Titanium White and Ivory Black.
All these colors can be used not just for portraits and abstracts, but vivid and detailed landscapes and seascapes.
This set has all the colors any artist is going to need for any style or any kind of paintings; it can be the perfect gift for someone else or yourself!
Each tube has 12 ml of paint inside them; the paint is made from high-quality pigment that gives the paint a rich and smooth texture, making your art bright and vibrant.
The paint is also 100% non-toxic materials, safe for children to use. The brand and the colors are both certified to be safe under ASTM D-4236 and EN71-3(CE), which means that you can use them at home or at your studio without any worries.
- Set of 36-colors
- Each paint tube contains 12 ml paint
- High-quality pigment used in paints
- Huge selection including uncommon colors like Flesh Tint, Rose, Payne’s Grey, Ivory Black and Crimson Red
- Travel-friendly compact pack
- Great for all styles of painting
- Can be used for landscapes, seascapes, portraits and abstracts
- Certified to be safe under ASTM D-4236 and EN71-3(CE)
- Perfect for both canvas and paper
- 100% non-toxic materials
- Safe for children over 3 years of age
- Smooth and rich ink
These are the 10 most popular and the best quality oil paint sets available in the market – which can be used by anyone and everyone. One or more of them would be simply perfect both if you are a professional, a hobbyist or someone just trying out painting.
What to look for while buying Oil Paints?
Oil paint sets aren’t something we spend a lot of time thinking about before buying, especially if we are beginners or trying our hand at painting for the first time.
However, this is actually something professional artists know a lot about. They know exactly which colors they require for their projects, and also the exact type of paint suitable for their painting style.
If you, too, want to be smart in buying the right set of oil paints for yourself, there are aspects that you need to look for when buying oil paint for yourself.
There are actually three different qualities when it comes to oil paints: student grade, artist grade and professional grade.
There are decent quality paints available from some brands which fall under the student grade, but the most high-quality paints belong to the artist grade and the professional grade paint. In fact, the difference may not be noticeable on the outside, but important to artists.
The paints belonging to these three qualities differ in the quality of their pigments, fillers and binders.
Relatively low-quality fillers and binders are used in student-grade paints so that they are cheaper and more affordable to students and learners; on the other hand, professional artists prefer the higher-grade paint because they want their projects to be perfect.
Student-grade paint actually contains less pigment and as a result, they contain more filler ingredients in them to make up for the lack of pigment.
Paint from reliable brands, on the other hand, make their student-grade paint in a better quality than unreliable and lesser-known brands.
All the paint sets in this list are actually of a higher-quality oil paints, so you won’t have to worry about the quality when choosing one from the list above.
Price of oil paint sets of course depends on both the brand and the quality of the paint.
As mentioned above, it is the artist grade and the professional grade oil paints that have the most high-quality pigments, filler and binders. These are also the type of oil paints that cost the most, as they give out the best performance.
Price also depends on the size of the paint tubes, i.e. the amount of paint the tubes hold, and the number of colors you are getting in a single set.
Oil paint comes in sets of 8, 10, 12, 24 or 36, and their prices vary on the number of colors you are getting in a set. At the same time, oil paint tubes come in a variety of 12 ml or more, and the price also depends on that aspect.
Therefore, a set of oil paints that contain high-quality color, comes in sets of 24 or 36 and consists of large tubes of paint costs the most.
Oil paint sets are available in multiple sizes, from small to large. The preference for them depends on the person buying the set and the requirement they have for the paint.
If you plan to paint regularly and a good deal, you’ll need larger tubes of paint as opposed to smaller tubes that you might need if you plan to paint only occasionally.
The ZenART Oil Paint for Artists, for example, is a large-sized set with each tube holding 45 ml of paint whereas the Zenacolor Oil Paint Set holds only 12 ml of paint in each tube.
Almost all oil paint comes in air-tight resealable tubes that will keep the paint fresh inside for a long time, so that you won’t have to worry about your paint drying up or losing its sheen.
Therefore, the only factor any artist has to worry about is their paint not running out when they are painting, which will determine whether you want smaller tubes of paint or the larger ones.
Some colors are absolutely necessary in a set of oil paints, i.e.
- Ultramarine Blue,
- Cadmium or Scarlet Red,
- Prussian/Monestial or Phthalo Blue,
- Yellow Ochre
- Lemon/Hansa Yellow,
- Burnt Sienna or Burnt Umbre,
- Titanium White.
They might be present in an oil paint set in another name, but these are the colors that can be blended into any possible shade in the world. They can also be categorized as “Warm” and “Cool” colors, and together they complete the most important parts of the color wheel.
These colors need to be present in every single set of oil paints, because they are the essential ones. Every basic set needs these colors because they can be used to make any other shades.
There are usually some other colors in most sets which makes life easier for artists. The more variety of colors that are present in a set, the more the price will be but in truth, these are the only colors you need to make the other colors.
The ZenART Oil Paint for Artists has all the necessary color options in this 8-color oil paint set. It is also a 45-ml paint set which means you can easily use the large amount of paint to make other colors.
The Ohuhu Oil Paint Set, on the other hand, is a large 36-color set that has other colors beside these basic ones.
There are some uncommon colors that are not available in most sets, but in a select few. For example, the Flesh Tint which comes in use when doing portraits or any landscapes that contain human figures.
Although you can purchase every single paint separately, only a few handful of sets come with Flesh Tint, namely: the MozArt Supplies Oil Paint Set and the Castle Art Supplies Oil Paint Set.
Other uncommon colors include Gold and Silver, which you can find in the ARTEZA Oil Paint Set.
Although a beginner might not understand the difference, the texture of oil paints are extremely important for the final outcome of the project.
Most of the high-end and renowned brands manufacture paint that has a rich and buttery-smooth texture, but there are some brands whose paint has a slightly grainy texture. Depending on which one the artist is looking for, both these types of paints give out impressive outcomes.
Almost all the oil paint sets in this list boast smooth and rich texture which comes with the paints from most renowned brands.
Consistency of oil paints can be of two types: stiff and runny. Consistency is an important fact to consider because the drying time of paint depends on their consistency. The stiffer the paint, the more time it will take to dry.
If you are using a comparatively stiffer paint on a very detailed painting with multiple layers, it might take months for the painting to completely dry up.
On the other hand, if the same painting is done with a relatively runny paint, the whole painting might be completely dry in a few weeks.
Certain oil paints take longer to dry, such as the Castle Art Supplies Oil Paint Set and the ARTEZA Oil Paint Set.
Other sets require less time to dry, i.e the ZenART Oil Paint for Artists and the Winsor and Newton Winton Oil Paint Basic Set. These two oil paints can dry up in less than an hour after completion.
Although most of the time oil paint sets are bought to paint on canvas or paper, some of them can also be used on other mediums like on clay for painting murals, or as wall paint.
The Zenacolor Oil Paint Set and the MozArt Supplies Oil Paint Set are sets that you can use on surfaces other than paper and canvases.
There are also some other simple but important factors to consider when buying oil paint, i.e.
- Whether they are made from 100% non-toxic materials;
- Whether they are safe for children to use;
- Whether the labels on paint tubes are easy to recognize and read;
- Whether the paint stays fresh and consistent even after a long time of unuse;
- Whether they can be flexible for different painting styles;
- Whether they change color after drying;
- Whether the color deepens after drying; and more.
These are actually the most important factors when it comes to buying the right set of oil paints for yourself or for someone else.
If you keep these facts in mind, you can choose from the hundreds of options available in the market and get the perfect one for your art.
What Paint do Professional Artists Use?
Of course, it depends on the particular kind of art project the artist in question is using, the surface or the medium they are using, and the outcome they are expecting.
The general assumption, however, is that most artists use Acrylic paints. It is the most common, the most popular and the most cost-effective kind of paint that most artists prefer to use in their projects.
While oil paint is considered to be a classic choice, most modern artists prefer acrylic paints for a lot of reasons, i.e.
- Acrylic paint dries extremely fast;
- Acrylic paint can handle and withstand the influence of humidity better
- Acrylic paint can be prepared to resemble both watercolor and oil paint
- Acrylic paint is available in a wide color selection, type and quality,
- Acrylic paint can be used to create heavy texture.
- They are easy to rectify in case of a mistake, and
- They can be cleaned up with water even when painting.
However, a lot of artists also use Oil Paints, especially the ones who follow in the footsteps and the painting styles of the Great Masters of the Renaissance Age.
Oil paint is considered to be harder to use properly than any other kind of paint, which is why only professional artists feel comfortable working with these kinds of paints, after years of training and practice.
Even a beginner can start their art projects with oil paint, but it will take years to perfectly master the flexibility of oil paint to bring out its full potential.
Acrylic paint is most common as it is easier to handle, but it is oil paint that brings out the best outcome from a professional artist.
Oil paintings give a kind of gloss that is almost impossible to achieve with acrylic or watercolor; as oil is mixed with these paints instead of water, paintings made with oil paint are extremely durable and can withstand decades and centuries.
Oil paint is extremely slow to dry, which helps the artist to change the color or develop the shades along the way, even after they’ve finished the entire painting.
Since professional artists mostly work on detailed projects and take a lot of time on each one of them, they prefer oil paint because it can always be changed and developed along the way, even when they take months on a single project.
Therefore, even though acrylic paint is easier to use, affordable and quite popular, it is oil paint that professional artists prefer to use in their most detailed and important paintings.
Why are Oil Paints Expensive?
During the time of the Great Masters in the Renaissance Age, everyone used oil paint as it was the only option at that time. Modern times are different.
There are actually a great number of options in paint these days, including Acrylic, Watercolor, Gouache, Encaustic, etc. besides oil paint. In fact, Acrylic and Watercolor paint are two of the most popular and most commonly used paints both for beginners and for artists.
Even with all the options, oil paint is exclusively used by a large number of professional artists because they consider it to be the best medium for their paintings.
In fact, oil paint gives every painting a special gloss and shine that is impossible to achieve with any other paint. Artist and Professional grade oil paints have uniquely rich color and varnish that makes the painting extremely durable and shiny for years to come.
While watercolor and Acrylic paint fade over time, oil paint develops as it matures and ages.
This is exactly why oil paint also happens to be more expensive compared to any other kind of paint.
In fact, oil paint is so expensive because of two specific reasons:
- They have a very detailed and difficult manufacturing process
- The cost of each individual pigment
First of all, oil paint needs to be grinded in a specific way; it has a special settling time and it often needs to be triple-milled just to make it perfect.
The different colors in a set of paint is achieved by using different pigments, which are sourced from different places.
This increases the cost of the oil paint because some particular pigments are much harder to find and costs a lot to source. The more uncommon and exotic colors in an oil paint set, the more difficult it was to source all of them, which increases the price of the set.
Some pigments are extremely hard to source, such as Cobalt Blue. Cobalt is a very costly blue pigment which is manufactured by sintering Cobalt Oxide by Alumina at not less than 1200℃.
Simply the production of this one color requires advanced technology and time, which means that any paint set with this color is going to be an expensive one.
Each of the different pigments used in oil paints to make the different colors have to be treated in a different way, separately, making the whole thing a massive project.
The more colors you find in a set of oil paint, the more expensive the set is because each of the colors have gone through different treatments to be considered finished.
The grinding process for each pigment is different as well. Some colors need to be grinded more than others, otherwise they won’t give out the special sheen that is so important in oil paint.
Other pigments lose their sheen if grinded too much. This means that each pigment shouldn’t just be grinded separately, but also for the exact amount of time.
After grinding, the pigments also need to be milled in the correct process. Most pigments are milled at least twice to be used in oil paint; some need to be milled up to nine times to be perfect.
This is important to make sure that the dispersion between each of the particles is correct. Each pigment is then mixed with an exact ratio of oil, which is also different for different pigments.
The pigments absorb the oil and it is extremely important that the exact amount is used in the process; otherwise, the pigment will become either too dry and brittle, or weep out too much oil in the painting process.
For all these reasons, oil paints happen to be more expensive than any other color options available, not just because of the results they produce, but also because of the detailed process of manufacturing them, It is the Artist-grade and the Professional-Grade oil paints that are most expensive compared to the Student-Grade ones, because they are manufactured with more attention to details, but oil paints as a whole happens to be expensive and exclusive.
How to Use Oil Paint on Canvas?
Children start by painting on paper; artists paint on canvas. This is not just for the ease of painting while standing up, but because canvases for paintings are made from unique materials that work best with all kinds of paint: Oil, Acrylic, Watercolor and others.
It is specifically oil paint that works best when used on canvas instead of paper or any other surface.
Canvas doesn’t just refer to a particular material used for painting, but can be made of different materials.
Cotton and linen are the two most common materials used in making painting canvases, woven together as closely as possible. Cotton canvases are affordable while the ones made from linen could be a little more expensive.
Canvases are easily available everywhere, either already stretched and fitted into a frame or simply as a material.
It is easier to buy canvas that has already been fitted to a frame, because the frame might become rigid and hard later. Fitted frames are not just available in also sizes, but also a number of shapes and depths, as well.
Loose canvas can also be fitted into a frame by the artist with the help of stretcher bars, a staple gun and staples (alternatively, a hammer and carpet tacks), canvas pliers, and a pair of scissors.
This is necessary only when the artist is looking for a specific shape or size not available in the market; otherwise, the fitted frames are just as good as the loose one.
There are a number of steps needed to prepare canvas to paint on namely: sizing and grounding.
Sizing refers to applying a liquid solution of glue to the canvas to protect it from all the acids present in the paint.
Grounding is another layer on top of the sizing that gives the canvas an additional layer of protection. All these steps are important to make both the canvas and the painting as durable as possible.
The next step of using a canvas for painting is to prime it, which means to coat the canvas with a primer – a substance that will stop the canvas from absorbing all the paint.
Primers create a barrier or a coat on the canvas and help the paint to stay on top of the canvas as opposed to being absorbed inside the threads. Both primed and unprimed canvases are available in the market but professional artists prefer the unprimed ones.
After applying a coat of prime to the canvas, it can become rigid and hard to stretch. This is why it is important – if you are buying loose canvas – to fit the canvas to a frame before coating it.
Oil paint shouldn’t be applied to canvas without first applying sizing, ground and primer. Sometimes, the canvas needs a day or more to dry after applying these liquids.
These are some of the tools an artist needs to paint on canvas with oil paint, namely:
- Set of Oil paint,
- Easel (Optional),
- Brush Set or Painting Knife
- Pencils or Charcoal
- Liquid Medium or Solvent
- Cleaning Solvent
The process of painting with oil paint is simple and straightforward. The paint(s) needs to be squeezed onto the palette before painting; it is on the palette that different colors are mixed together or different shades are created.
The art of mixing different colors together is done with the help of a painting brush or a knife.
A special kind of medium is sometimes required to mix oil paint, or to give it the right consistency. This medium usually has to be bought separately; sometimes they come with the set of oil paint.
The use of medium makes the oil paint flexible and versatile; the paint will become easy to blend with other colors, make lighter or darker. The process then requires dipping the painting brush in paint, and transferring the color to the canvas.
Of course, painting isn’t something that can be taught over words or something that can be learned by reading. This is an art that has to be learned from someone directly, or with years of practice.
Some oil paints are lightfast in drying, such as the ZenART Oil Paint for Artists. This paint dries up almost instantly; one part of the painting will already dry up before the artist has finished painting the whole thing.
Other oil paints take longer to dry, giving the artist time to make changes to the parts they have already painted, or apply another layer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Best Oil Paint
If you have any question regarding oil paint, the best oil paint or how to use oil paint, they can be all answered here.
Q: Which canvas works best with oil paint?
A: Both cotton and linen canvas can be used with oil paint, but cotton is the less expensive choice.
However, cotton canvas cannot be directly used for oil paint without applying a layer of primer on it.
Cotton absorbs paint more than any other kind of fabric. Without a layer of primer, most of the paint would be absorbed by the canvas.
Linen canvas is much more suitable for oil paint, although the more expensive choice. Linen already has linseed oil in it’s fibre, making it more durable from the very start.
Q: Why is it important to use oil paint in a well-ventilated area?
A: It is always recommended that the entire process of painting is completed in a well-ventilated area with enough fresh air.
This is because the solvents from the oil paint (both the ones already present in the paint and the ones mixed to the paint) can be harmful when breathed in for a long time.
There are some low odour solvents available in the market that are relatively less harmful or don’t give the artist headaches. Still, it is a good idea to paint in a space where there is adequate fresh air and ventilation available.
Q: Can oil Paint be harmful to the skin?
It is not exactly that oil paints are harmful to the skin, but some of the solvents may be harmful if you have sensitive skin or allergies.
It is especially painting mediums that can cause irritation to sensitive skin. Besides, some of the solvents and mediums let out fumes that can dry out skin.
At the same time, since different pigments are sourced from different materials, they can prove to be slightly toxic to the skin.
Cobalt or Cadmium colored paints are the ones which are more prone to be harmful, but irritation can be avoided by handling them carefully, wearing nitrile gloves or applying barrier cream to your hands when painting.
Q: How can I clean Oil Paint?
A: Painting is a messy business; oil painting is more so because it is much more difficult to remove from all surfaces. After each session, it is very important to clean the brush and the palette, as well as every other surface where paint has spluttered on.
Painting brushes should be cleaned thoroughly after each painting session is over; otherwise, they would harden overnight and become impossible to clean.
Painting brushes need to be cleaned with special oil before they harden up; it is important to remove the excess paint from the brush using an old rag or some newspaper.
Oil can be applied to the bristles of the brush to loosen the paint attached to them. When all the excess paint has been removed, the brush can be cleaned with soap under running water.
Color palettes can also be cleaned in the same way. If you are using wooden palettes, they are better cleaned with oil than with anything else. Dried up paint can be removed from the palette using a palette knife, and fresh paint can be removed with oiled rag or newspaper.
If your paint has spilled on to the floor, the walls or any other furniture, they can be cleaned in the same way with oil and newspaper pages.
Q: Can I mix Oil paint with Water?
A: Oil paint – as the name suggests – contains oil. Water and oil usually don’t mix well, as a rule.
If you are using traditional oil paints, it is wise not to use water to mix them or dilute them. Special solvents or liquid mediums are needed for traditional oil paint, as water doesn’t mix well with them.
Some brands also manufacture water-mixable oil paint that can be mixed with water.
Water can be mixed with these oil paints to dilute these colors, and water can also be used to clean them directly. Only very experienced painters can recognize the slight differences between the two types of oil paint, but not anyone else.
Whether you have been painting for years or have just started, oil paints are a medium that everyone keeps coming back to. In truth, oil paints give a special sheen and vibrancy that’s not possible to get from any other kind of color.
Paintings made with oil paint aren’t just durable and long-lasting, they actually improve and mature over time. This is the reason that oil paints – despite being more expensive – are so popular for centuries.