This page covers materials discussed and used in the later lectures.

Oil Paint

These tubes will fill-out our palette. Once again, I've linked here to Williamsburg, the same brand I used in the course, though the first, dioxazine purple, is Gamblin because Williamsburg doesn't make this color. Note: Arylide Yellow can also be labeled "Lemon Yellow", "Hansa Yellow" or in the Williamsburg line "Permenent Yellow Light".

Dioxaxine Purple, PV23

Ultramarine Blue, PB29

Phthalo Blue, PB15

Viridian Green, PG18

Arylide Yellow, PY3

Cadmium Yellow Medium, PY35 or PY37

Cadmium Orange, PO20

Cadmium Red Medium, PR108

Quinacridone Red, PV19

There are certainly less expensive alternatives including Winsor & Newton and Blick. You'll find a full discussion of brands and price in the course guidebook chapter on Lecture 19: Materials, Oil Paint Brands and Quality.

Stack Lead White

Lead white, also known as Flake White and Cremnitz White, is among the oldest permanent pigments known to man. Pliny the Elder discusses making stack lead white in his ecyclopedic 1st century ce Naturalis Historia (Natural History). The process involves placing lead above or submerged in pots filled with vinegar. Some recipes suggest burying the pots in mounds of horse manure. The lead corrodes producing a beautiful white pigment. True stack lead oil paint is, indeed, a beautiful material, but it's also quite expensive. I've used both the Michael Harding and the Rublev stack lead. This is the kind of lead white that artists like Rembrandt would have used.

Drying Oils

In the first part of the course I suggest using refined linseed oil. A more traditional (and more expensive) option's cold pressed linseed oil. As I discusss in Lecture 23: Materials: All About Medium, a further refinement is water washing. This removes impurities resulting in a clearer, less yellowing oilI've used both the Chelsea Classical Studio and The Art Treehouse brands. Among the other drying oils I discuss are walnut oil, poppyseed oil, and safflower oil. In addition, I discuss the thicker oils that have a more honey-like consistency. They include sun-thickened oil and stand oil.


The Winsor & Newton watercolor brush I used in the demo on brushes was a Series 7 Kolinsky Sable. These are great brushes for ink, watercolor, or gouache.  

Thinners, Solvents and Diluents

As I've noted, for most cleaning purposes I use Gamsol odorless mineral spirits. But, I will, now and again, use turpentine in a medium or to make damar varnish. I've also used oil of spike lavender and oil of rosemary in mediums.

Resins and Varnishes

You can buy damar varnish ready made. If you use this regularly it can pay to make your own. To make the varnish as I did in the video you'll need 1 lb. of damar crystals and 25.6 oz of turpentine. I also discuss alkyd mediums and Regalrez©1094. Several companies now make a final picture varnish made with the latter—Gamvar's one example.


I've used both Sennelier's venice turpentine and the Art Treehouse canada balsam. If you're looking for a glossier medium these are both worth trying. I don't know of any commercially available Strasbourg, Burgundy or Jura balsam.

Driers and Retardents

Most texts discourage the use of driers (also called siccatives) because they can darken and embrittle the paint film. Mixing lead white into many colors will expedite drying. As will the addition of stand oil, sun thickened oil and many alkyds. While I wouldn't use driers in my own paintings I have used them to make stages of demo paintings for teaching and for the videos. Most often I've used Grumbacher's Cobalt Drier. To slow drying, if you generally use a linseed oil based medium, you could add a slower-drying oil like walnut, poppyseed, or safflower to your medium. If you really want to slow it down you could try oil of clove. A single drop smeared next to a color on your palette will markedly slow drying.  

Wax and White Chalk

There are a range of options in terms of wax mediums. I've used the Dorland's among others. Kremer Pigments also has a range of options in this regard. Powdered white chalk (calcium carbonate, PW18) is inexpensive and readily available. Kremer Pigments also has a range of specialty white chalks including one from Belgium and another from Champagne.


Among the examples I showed in the video are the very standard #10 and #12 cotton duck. The #12 is about 12 oz per square yard. The #10 about 15 oz. Dick Blick has a range of reasonably priced options in varying widths that can be purchased by the yard. For the canvas I prepared in Lecture 25, Materials: Flexile Supports I used a fine-weave Belgian Portrait Linen. Unlike cotton, one of the benefits of linen is that it's available in a wide range of weaves from very fine to very rough. Though less popular, polyester is among the best textile options because it's synthetic, so it's not susceptible to rot like cotton and linen. Both cotton and linen are hygroscopic—they expand and contract as humidity levels change. Polyester isn't, so it's much more stable. The downside's that it's generally more expensive. Soho Art Materials has a great selection of primed and unprimed cotton, linen, and polyester. If you get to New York it's worth stopping in. It's much easier to get a sense of the differences among these materials when you can actually see and touch them.

Stretcher Bars and Stretching Canvas

As noted in Lecture 25 there are a wide range of stretcher bar options. I'd avoid the light duty/standard stretcher bars. In most cases they won't lift the canvas far enough off the bar resulting in a ghost image of the bar's edge on your painting's surface. There are also a number of canvas plier and staple gun options. I've used the Fredrix pliers in my studio for several years. I also used them in the video. My pair has worked fine though, I'd note, they get some bad reviews. My stapler's an electric Stanley Sharpshooter TRE500. It appears to have been replaced by the Stanley TRE550Z. A rubber mallet can also come in handy.

Sizing Your Canvas

I used Utrecht's Rabbit Skin Glue in the video. As I noted, a number of writers on art materials, including Mark David Gottsegen, make the case that we're better off using hard acrylic dispersion mediums like GAC 200 or PVA.


Today, arylic gesso is the most commonly used ground, though many writers on art materials discourage its use on flexible supports. Traditionally, artists used lead oil grounds. Because of health concerns surrounding lead a number of companies make a titanium alternative.   Gamblin makes a ground with titanium dioxide, calcium carbonate and alkyd resin. RGH makes a range of oil grounds using recipes featuring basic lead carbonate (PW1), lead sulphate (PW2), calcium carbonate (PW18), and titanium dioxide (PW6)—several with a choice of drying oil (linseed, walnut, safflower). Rublev makes a lead oil ground and a lead/alkyd ground—the latter, for rigid surfaces. Vasari makes makes both a lead and a titanium oil ground. Williamsburgh also makes both a lead and a titanium oil ground. Finally, Winsor & Newton makes a titanium/alkyd oil ground.

Traditional Gesso

To make traditional gesso you'll need white chalk, white pigment, and rabbit skin glue.  

Metal Panels

These are the Artefex copper and aluminum panels I showed in Lecture 26.

Making Paint

For the paint making demo in Lecture 33 I used F 120 carborundum to roughen the glass. If you had a larger piece of glass you could also use the F 400 carborundum and have two grinding surfaces—one coarser, one finer. This is the glass muller I used to make the paint. You'll also need some empty paint tubes. Blick, Kremer, and Natural Pigments all offer a wide range of pigments. Natural Pigments also makes a couple of paint making kits. If you decide to start making your own paint you'll want to make sure you take all appropriate health precautions when working with powdered pigments.

Other Materials and Tools

This is the tube wringer I used (the plastic one) and these are the tube keys.

The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters

More Painting Materials

David Brody, 2019, after Fairfield Porter, Self Portrait, 1948From The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters, Lecture 32