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  • Writer's pictureAnn Marie Coolick

New Supplies for Textured Painting

My most frequently asked question is "what kind of paint is this?"

It's not an easy question to answer in a couple words! In fact it takes an exact type of paint often with an exact mixture of mediums to achieve high quality texture. Cutting corners and using cheap supplies will most definitely end in cracking and yellowing. The investment in high quality products will pay off for both you and your collectors. I find most of my supplies at Blick Art Materials, which I have found to have the highest quality and best prices.

Below you will find supplies for both acrylic and oil painting. You can achieve a similar result with both, but there are definite advantages and disadvantages to each one.

Oil Painting

  • Advantages: best texture, reworkable days and even weeks later, layering effects can completely cover previous layers

  • Disadvantages: more expensive than acrylics, can take months to dry when painting thick, can have strong odor especially when using turps or mineral spirits (which I don't!)

Acrylic Painting

  • Advantages: faster drying time (from a few hours to a couple days), more affordable, less bothersome smell for sensitive noses

  • Disadvantages: texture marks on previously painted layers will generally show through, quick drying time means less wiggle room for mistakes

Now on to my supplies! Feel free to bookmark this page and comment with any questions. I'm always happy to provide further insight.


Oil Painting Supplies. Gamblin Artist Oils is my preferred oil paint because the consistency is very buttery, the colors are excellent, the price point is good, and it's made by fellow artists in Portland, Oregon. I use a large quantity of whites and I've found the best option is the Radiant White by Gamblin. Some of the whites can yellow more easily, especially titanium white, and some varieties are more prone to cracking like superba white or zinc white.

Although I don't generally use mediums as of late, when I do, it is always Gamblin's Cold Wax. It's made of beeswax and will dry no harder than a candle, leaving a sugary, matte finish like in this red mixture at left. I mix about 25-40% wax into the oil which gives it an effect similar to a cake frosting.

In terms of exact color choices, I have pretty much every color in stock and mix them to attain specific color variations. Some of my favorites are naphthol red, hansa yellow medium, dioxazine purple, radiant white, emerald green, phthalo turquoise, manganese blue, and ultramarine blue. You don't even need to buy a standard black if you color mix some of these above varieties! Try mixing dioxazine purple and emerald or phthalo green-- that will get you pretty close.

You will also need gesso to ensure the oil doesn't seep into the canvas. I usually apply one to two coats of Blick White Professional Gesso to ready-made canvases. My go-to canvases are the 11x14 Blick Gallery Profile Canvas. They come in a variety of sizes and you get a substantial discount if you buy in packs of 3 or more. If you are making your own canvases or starting with raw canvas, I recommend at least 3 or 4 layers of gesso.

Acrylic Painting Supplies. While there isn't much comparable to the texture of oil paint, there are certain mediums paired with Heavy Body acrylics that can almost mimic oils. It is most important not to cut corners with acrylics--- it must be heavy body and it must be the best quality paints meaning absolutely no house paints. Your soft bodies or basic paints have too much water and will crack when painted thick. I paint with acrylics for my plumes series at right and most of my wave paintings.

I stock up on large jars of Liquitex Heavy Body Titanium White and a variety of smaller colored tubes by Golden and Liquitex. A great starter pack including most of my go-to colors can be found here. If you are on a budget but still want thick, Utrecht can get you pretty close to the look. I use a couple different types of mediums that will help maximize texture and maintain peaks. Liquitex Super Heavy Gloss Gel can create sculptural effects that maintain their high peaks, with a slight shine when dry. Peaks can also be held very well with Golden Extra Heavy Molding Paste. My favorite medium I actually create by mixing the above two types: 50% super heavy gloss with 50% molding paste.


Palette Knives

I suggest purchasing a variety of knives in a range of sizes and shapes and playing around until you find your go-to favorites. The effects from different shapes vary greatly and will each have different uses you will discover as you play. Here is a great starter set, and in fact I regularly use the Blick knives from this series to this date, with my favorite being #61, Mini Needle Trowel. Always get stainless steel because they will last much longer and have a crisper application than the plastic varieties. I also enjoy experimenting with knives that aren't your standard painting knife-- like offset frosting spatulas or even spoons!

Other Important Supplies:

In addition to paints, there are a number of other important supplies you will need. I use a large glass palette that I scrape off and reuse after each studio session. Here is the one I use in the white variety: New Wave Posh Glass Tabletop Palette, 12x16.

I always always use nitrile gloves to prevent paint from penetrating skin-- very very important especially when painting with colors that contain heavy metals like the cadmiums.

I also use Blick Disposable Palettes which is a pad of palettes that I use when painting with acrylics or outdoors.

If you are in the market for an easel, I recently upgraded to the solid oak Best Halley Easel, Oak and it's an investment I've been pleased with. For the past 22 years I had been using a hand-me-down easel that my college professor let me keep when I graduated-- it had flaws such as the canvas holder tray didn't move up and down and it only fit a certain size canvas. My new easel is a breath of fresh air as it can fit all sizes of canvases, can rotate in a variety of ways, and has a large tray for my knives and paint tubes.

I hope this will help you get on track to find high quality paints for your textural explorations. Remember to always paint from your heart and let your own findings guide your practice and the direction of your art. Always be true to yourself and experiment until you find your own artistic voice-- that is what makes art so exciting! Happy Painting!

-Ann Marie 

*Affiliate is compensated for linking to Blick Art Materials.

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