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!

My Palette

  • 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 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!

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 as 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.

Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting by John Carlson - I read this almost 30 years ago and still refer to it.
Oil Painting Techniques and Materials (Dover Art Instruction) by Harold Speed - A fun book to read for me, especially the first section concerning modern art - Speed offers intelligent argument to the relevance and superiority of traditional art.
Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter by James Gurney - Comprehensive! You will not find a better book concerning color theory and the effects of varying temperatures of light.
Alla Prima - Everything I Know About Painting by Richard Schmid - Wow! What more needs to be said.
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 Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques: Fifth Edition, Revised and Updated (Reference) by Ralph Mayer - some information might be outdated, but still an excellent reference book. This should be in every artist's collection.
"Starving" to Successful: The Fine Artist's Guide to Getting Into Galleries and Selling More Art by Jason Horejs - Very candid and informative from a gallery owner's insight. Follow his advice and you will advance your career. Good for novice or professional!
How to Profit from the Art Print Market 2nd Edition: Creating Cash Flow from Original Art by Barney Davey - If you are looking into reproductions of your work get this book, Barney offers a lot of good pros and cons to help make an informed decision. Which is probably why I haven't pursued reproductions with gusto...
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!