I use only Michael Harding paints. If you don’t have them and/or can’t get them, use what you can get.
Note: this is not acrylic painting, so acrylic paints are not an acceptable substitute.
- Cremnitz White or Warm White or Titanium White
- Ivory Black
- Raw Umber
- Raw Sienna
- Burnt Sienna
- Yellow Ochre
- Vermilion or Cadmium Red Light or similar
- Cobalt Blue or French Ultramarine Blue or Ultramarine Blue
- Terre Verte
Try and have an assortment of hog bristle, synthetics and sables of various shapes—flats, filberts and rounds—and various sizes. Small sables are good to have when it is time for precise drawing and details.
If you can, get a brush set. For example, on Jackson’s Art website they have a set of Black Hog bristle brushes and Pro Arte synthetics.
First you need the oil and the solvent.
For oil, you can use regular linseed oil or walnut oil.
For solvent, I recommend the odorless, non-toxic kind. I use either ‘Tintorsetto’ (which I get at the Rome art shop) or ‘Shelsol-T’ (which I order from Kremer).
Get three ‘jam jars’ and mix the following mediums:
- Lean Medium: 75% solvent + 25% Linseed Oil
- Medium Medium: 50% solvent + 50% Linseed Oil
- Fat Medium: 25% solvent + 75 % Linseed Oil
When I do this, I use a double-boiler to heat the medium for about 15 minutes. If you don’t have that, don’t worry. Mix the property quantities, then shake thoroughly.
Other Materials: Canvas, Easel, etc.
As we’ll work 1:1 (meaning the scale of the work is the actual size of the head), use a canvas that is 35 x 45 cm. A life- size head (or an A4 print of the head) will comfortably fit within that frame. Make sure it is linen, prepared with a white ground, either universal or oil.
Ideally you’ll have some kind of easel that you can use to place your canvas next to your model (or the print next to the canvas). If not, do what you can.
If you are doing a self-portrait, make sure you can easily turn your head and look in a mirror.
You’ll also need:
- A palette
- Palette knife
- Rags, paper towel, wet wipes