If you're new to this, no need to worry, I've got your back. This is made with beginners in mind. By the end of this series you'll have a solid grasp of the basics and be ready to start making your very own oil paintings.
In this part I'm going to offer some oil paint alternatives for the Apelles palette, including cheap options as well as the ideal option in my view as an experienced painter.
You Need a Strategy to Choose Your Oil Paints Whether You're a Beginner or Advanced
There's an infinite amount of colors out there for you to choose from so you can't possibly make a decision without having a plan first.
Step 1: Choose a Palette
I recommend the Apelles palette. It's a simple palette that's going to help you to learn the basics and give you a solid base to work from so you can create any colors that you find in nature.
What is the Apelles palette?
The Apelles palette consists of only four colors: white, black, yellow, and red. It's simple. That means it's going to be easy to learn color mixing and you're not going to overcomplicate things. So you're going to be able to get a grasp on some of the basics quickly. In addition, it's going to force you to mix and blend colors together in order to achieve a full rainbow of colors. The learning that comes with this is extremely helpful in understanding color theory.
For A Complete Guide to The Apelles Palette:
How The Apelles Palette Leads to Harmony
Compared to many other palettes the Apelles palette remains more harmonious even if you use a little bit too much of one individual color. The colors are easy to balance out in total. So the overall harmony is much easier to achieve compared to a palette with yellow, red, and blue for example.
Step 2: Determine Your Goals and What You Want to Achieve With The Palette
Is This a New Weekend Hobby?
If this is a new found hobby that you might drop in a month, then maybe you should test some cheap paints out first and see if you still like painting after practicing a bit.
Is Your Primary Goal to Learn The Basics of Oil Painting?
If you are just starting to oil paint for the first time then you don't need expensive colors to practice getting familiar with how the paint mixes, blends, etc. With that said, high quality materials do make an impact on the quality of your paintings and your ability to learn. Higher quality paints and materials make it easier to improve.
So when should you upgrade your palette?
You Should Use High Quality Paints as Soon As Possible! Here's Why...
Do You Want to Sell Your Paintings?
If you want to sell your paintings then I would definitely recommend using higher quality oil paints. It will not only enhance what your abilities, but it gives you a stronger value proposition for potential collectors too. It literally adds value to your painting!! So any additional costs required to get yourself higher quality materials will be directly connected to your ability to make better paintings and sell them for a higher price.
The Golden Cape by Odd Nerdrum
Consider Your Long Term Goals
You need to think about your long term painting goals. If you want to make a masterpiece then you should be making the process as easy as possible and using the best quality materials you can buy.
Don't Be Penny Wise and Dollar Foolish
In the long term, the amount that you spend on higher quality materials is incredibly insignificant compared to the value that it provides you in return.
Self Portrait as Zeuxis by Rembrandt
The Difference in Quality Between Oil Paints
1. Pigment Quality
Pigment quality is a major concern because many of the cheaper paints will change in color in a drastic way. Even once it just starts to dry to the touch it can look different compared to when it was fresh and wet.
2. Dry Time
Generally, cheaper paints are 'intentionally' made to dry slower. It's supposedly motivated by this strange idea that beginners need more time to blend paints..? I would assume that is just a way to cover up for their bad quality, because seeking slow dry time doesn't make much sense. Slow dry time is particularly a disadvantage if you're trying to paint like the Old Masters. Think about the flip side, if the paint dries quicker then you can work on your next layer quicker... very simple.
Man in a Boat by Odd Nerdrum