I'd like to buy a present for a retired oil painter (who is being encouraged to get back into it). I'm thinking about something that requires the least set up effort. I think I'm on the look out for oil sticks and prepared paper (since they recently enjoyed messing around with a childrens set of paint sticks), but I'm utterly clueless. Could anyone help me select the right stuff please?
I'd prefer a small set of good quality materials, rather than wide colour palette of cheaper materials. Budget is probably around £50 but happy to stretch to £100 if it's required.
Any help would be great. Thanks!
As requested, I deleted your first post - I couldn't edit it to remove your name, because .... I couldn't see your name.
Anyway - oil sticks are messy things, a mix of oil paint and wax, which I wouldn't want as a gift, to be honest. But they can be obtained from Jackson's Art supplies, as can oil painting papers, in pads - which I wouldn't recommend for work you want to keep or sell, but are fine for sketches and can be made somewhat more archival if you stick them to a stout, acid free board (with appropriate adhesive - which again, you'll find on the Jackson's and indeed other art suppliers sites).
I would be much more grateful, if I were your retired oil painter, to receive a set of good quality oil paints, eg from Michael Harding, or Old Holland (my preference would be Michael Harding's) in trial packs - four or five tubes of oil paint, including Titanium White. This would fit comfortably within your more conservative budget. If you wanted to add a little more to the budget, you could always buy a few oil paint sticks, again from Jackson's Art supplies - or Ken Bromley; or Art Discount; or Cass Art; so many suppliers out there.
If you buy a tubed paint trial set, the choice of colours will have been made for you, but will probably include a red, a yellow, a blue or two, burnt sienna perhaps, and Titanium White. If you're going to go for paint sticks, a similar range of colours would be advisable - the primary colours, red, yellow, and blue, plus a mixed green like viridian, a white, and raw umber or burnt sienna are useful choices.
Browsing online catalogues can be very informative in itself (though most of us will be tempted to buy just everything available: self-discipline is essential!). Also - and this may be more difficult if the shops are running a limited service owing to Covid - a 'phone call to the suppliers to ask for advice is often very helpful indeed: having been painting for so many years, I don't avail myself of shops' advice, but I understand that Jacksons, Bromleys, Cass Arts and the others, can be extremely helpful to new or returning painters, and also don't try to con you into buying the most expensive supplies they stock - I believe a company named Great Art, also known as Gerstaecker, is also responsive to phone inquiries, and I'm sure there are many others who will be happy to advise.
I hope that's of some help, but by all means come back to us all with any further questions. We all have our favourite brands, mediums, brushes, surfaces of course, and some won't agree with mine or I with theirs. There's a lot out there - my view is, buy the best you can afford: others will suggest you go for student brands first - but I've never agreed with that: the density of pigment just isn't there in student quality paints like Winton, or Georgian. Why handicap yourself from the outset ............. still: you can certainly get more paint if you're prepared to overlook quality at the outset, and the Lukas/Lucas range of cheaper paints is pretty good. (I've forgotten the correct spelling, but you'll find it!)
First and foremost It would be easier to advise if we knew his level of experience with oils.
I agree that oil bars/sticks aren’t particularly easy to use, I can’t get on with them but I know others who like them.
So, if not oil bars it’s down to oil paint tubes, brushes, supports, turps/medium etc.
You aren’t going to get this lot on £50, but you will for £100 if you’re selective.
My first stop would be Jackson’s Art, I’d go for individual tubes of Jackson’s Artist Oils, they’re excellent to use and in 60ml tubes, I highly recommend them.
Their Black Hog brushes are superb also, and you could buy either canvas paper in a pad or block, or Belle Arti MDF/canvas boards which come in various sizes. Forget stretched canvas at this stage.
It’s difficult buying for someone else, a good alternative could be a Jackson’s voucher!
Have a browse through their website, it’s vast!
Some very excellent advice above. I wouldn’t thank you for oil bars...had some once and wished them to Kingdom come. I’m also a bit dubious about oil sticks I have used them in mixed media but not on their own. The suggestion to ask and pose your question to one of the afore mentioned firms is a good one they are usually both knowledgable and approachable .
I've used Jackson's oils - it's lovely paint. My preference for Michael Harding oils is due to a) their avoidance of Zinc White in mixes, b) the intense quality of their pigments. Until I used MH Cobalt Blue, I don't think I had the least idea what Cobalt Blue could be. But - it is expensive; as in, VERY expensive. Even so - I still believe in buying the very best you can, and I'll defend that choice! I'm not a rich man at all, but I find buying the best brand I can serves me well in the end (like cigars: buy cheap and you get lung rotting soot: buy better, and you get a taste of what a cigar ought to be: although - government health warning here - you'd be much better off without them).
To remove this from excess controversy - if you buy a suit: get a good one; it'll last decades longer than the off-the-peg ill-fitting thing, in an unhappy mix of wool and polyester, that you picked up from the rack..... I leave you to imagine - perhaps open-mouthed? - how lovely I look in mine.
Michael Harding oil paint is widely accepted as the best you can get, although there are (in my view) a couple of close contenders in Talens Rembrandt and Old Holland.
I’ve got a good selection of all three of these brands, but the majority of my current work has been painted using Jackson’s Artist oils.
Value for money they take some beating, I can’t fault the consistency and general quality.
Obviously they aren’t in the league of the others mentioned, that’s not in question!
It all depends to some extent on your budget and in fairness, your experience.
With £50 to spend and I’m going to assume an amateur artist that hasn’t painted for some time, I’m confident that these would be a good choice.
Hi everyone. Thank you so much for the detailed replies. I think I'm going to discuss with the intended recipient - it won't be a surprise, but at least I won't make the mistake of getting something that isn't wanted. Your advice will certainly come in handy since they've been out the game for a while. Thanks again!