This is a list of some of the tools and materials I use in my everyday painting endeavors. They have worked well for me over the years and I personally recommend them, but I have no financial relationship with these companies.
As a vegan, I try to promote kindness to animals, so for me personally it’s important to choose cruelty-free and environmentally friendly products. I have respect for all animals and try my best to not cause harm to our furry, scaly and feathery friends. The materials listed are therefore, to the best of my knowledge, free from animal products and toxic heavy metals.
My standard palette of oil paint consists of the following pigments: Ivory Black, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Brown Ochre, Oxide of Chromium, Olive Green, Venetian Red, Caput Mortuum Violet, French Ultramarine and Titanium White.
I prefer artist quality paints made by Rembrandt, Gamblin and Winsor and Newton. They all have high pigment load and firm yet smooth consistency.
Ever since I started painting in oils, I’ve stayed true to Claessens, a highly regarded Belgian company and a favourite among many European painters. They have been in business since 1906 and generally make canvases of superb quality. I have a few favourites, ranging from the finely weaved #01 to the rough #029. I prime these myself with acrylic primer made by Golden.
I use a wide assortment of brushes of different sizes and shapes. I’m always looking for new ways to apply paint, so the quest for new and exciting brushes is a never-ending story. A lot of the time I also paint with fingers, rags, spatulas and knives to achieve certain textural or visual effects.
There are a lot of great synthetic alternatives to choose from these days, so there’s no need for natural hair like hog, sable, badger or goat. My favourite brands are da Vinci and Rosemary and Co.
For painting knives, I prefer the Italian brand RGM. They have lacquered, well-balanced handles and they last a million years. A short-bladed canvas scraper is a little known but indispensable tool, perfect for correcting mistakes and reducing texture when needed.
In between layers of paint, in order to bring back the brightness and vivacity of the oils, I use a technique called oiling out. After a couple of weeks, when the painting is dry to the touch, I apply a thin coat of retouching varnish. Before I deliver a painting to a customer or a gallery, I typically apply a final coat of varnish made by Gamblin or Winsor and Newton.
I keep my medium recipes pretty straightforward. Most of the time, I use a simple “half and half” formula of linseed oil and odourless mineral spirit made by Färgriket. For heavy impasto passages and large background areas, I usually add a rapid-drying alkyd medium such as Liquin.