Classical Painting Course: Level 3

On this page you will find the separate classes within this level of the painting program, as well as the list of recommended supplies.


Portrait Painting: The study of features and portrait painting
Figure Painting 2: Extended Long Pose
Materials and their influence in painting



Recommended Brands:  Claessens, Raphael, Artfix, Centurion


  • CPC301: 1 linen or prepared panel or stretched canvas, between 11x14" and 18x24”.
  • 1 linen panel, prepared panel, or stretched canvas between 8x10" and 12x16”.
  • CPC302:  2 linen or prepared panels or stretched linen canvases between 16x20"    and 18x24”. 



  • Bristles: variety of filberts between 1/8” and 1” or larger,  (2 of each size) 
    Recommended: Rosemary & Co Ultimate brush (natural hog) or Ivory (synthetic bristle) 
  • Firm/Soft Brushes: variety of flats between 3/16” and 1” or larger (2 of each size) 
    Recommended: Rosemary & Co Master’s Choice (natural badger) or Eclipse Extra-Long Comber (synthetic mongoose) 
  • Detail Brushes: Sable or equivalent, round 0 or 1 (x2), flat 1/16” or smaller (x2) 
    Recommended: Rosemary & Co Pure Kolinski Sable (natural sable) or Golden Synthetic (synthetic sable)
  • Blending Brushes: Soft fan brushes, 1” or larger (x2) 
    Recommended: Rosemary & Co Goat Hair (natural goat hair) or Golden Synthetic (synthetic sable)


Oil Paint

(Bold indicates required, but all colors are recommended. Feel free to substitute colors for those used by an artist you would like to emulate)


Recommended Brands: 
For Direct Painting: Michael Harding, Rembrandt, Charvin, M. Graham, Gamblin, Lukas, Grumbacher, or Utrecht
For Indirect Painting: Michael Harding, Rublev, Old Holland, Vasari, or Winsor Newton.


  • Titanium White
  • Yellow Lake (or Cadmium Yellow Light or Lemon)
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Transparent Oxide Yellow
  • Burnt Umber
  • Pthalo Blue with White (or Cerulean Hue)
  • Cobalt Blue (or equivalent)
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Ivory Black
  • Scarlet Lake (or Cadmium Red Light)
  • Cadmium Red Deep (or equivalent)
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Alizarin Crimson


Additional Supplies
  • Paint thinner (mineral spirits). Recommended Brands: Winsor Newton, Gamsol, Turpenoid
  • Metal brush cleaner jar
  • The Masters Brush Cleaner & Preserver soap
  • Painting knives (variety of sizes). Recommended Brand: Holbein
  • Painter's palette (or a glass picture frame). Recommended Brand: New Wave
  • Painting medium (optional)
  • Painting medium cups (recommended 2 with lids)
  • Artist grade painter’s tape, non-acidic PH balanced, ¼" or ½" (depending on size of canvas panels for color charts)
  • Easel. Recommended Brand: Sorg


Miscellaneous Non-Art Store Supplies


  • Paper towels
  • Razor blade and denatured alcohol (for cleaning the palette)
  • Sack for dirty rags
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Apron
  • Lamps to light easel and reference
  • White retractible click eraser


Recommended Books 


  • “The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques” by Ralph Mayer
  • “The Painter’s Handbook” by Mark Gottsegen

Overview of Materials

Why are there so many supplies listed?

Painting can be accomplished with a relatively short list of supplies, but there are some supplies that may be added to streamline the process and to make things more convenient. In all simplicity, painting can be accomplished with a surface to paint on, a small set of paints (1 to 4 colors), a brush, some paper towels or rags to wipe the brush, and a degreasing soap to clean the brush. It is highly recommended you acquire this more elaborate set of supplies. Everything, or a suitable equivalent of everything, is highly recommended. As a rule, with art supplies, the more an item costs, the higher the quality the product will be. Invest in the highest quality materials possible to focus on the challenges of learning to paint, instead of the challenges of learning to overcome inferior tools. 

Why do I need oil-primed linen canvas instead of acrylic-primed cotton?

Oil-primed linen is preferred due to its superior paint handling, durability, and longevity, and it is less likely to “bleed” colors. Acrylic-primed cotton is not recommended (except for the color charts assignment). If you have older cotton canvases they can be treated with two coats of an oil-alkyd primer (such as Gamblin Oil Ground or Winsor Newton Oil-Alkyd Primer) and allowed one week to dry before use. 

Can I buy the cheapest oil paints from the art supply store?

Professional grade oil paint is recommended. If cost is an issue, it is recommended to stick to the limited palette (Titanium White, Yellow Ochre, Ivory Black, and Alizarin Crimson) and purchase a professional quality paint. In general, avoid purchasing colors labeled hue. They are cheaper mixed colors intended to mimic more expensive colors, and generally have muddying effects in mixtures, with the exception of Cerulean Hue which yields vibrant mixtures by using Pthalo. Each brand of paint has varying handling properties (fluid to stiff) and pigment loads (dull to rich). Typically, the highest-grade paints will have higher pigment loads (with little to no fillers). For direct painting consider purchasing Michael Harding, Rembrandt, Charvin, M. Graham, Gamblin, Lukas, Grumbacher, or Utrecht. For indirect painting consider Michael Harding, Rublev, Old Holland, Vasari, or Winsor Newton.

Do I need a lot of paint brushes?

A broad selection of brushes is recommended to adjust to a variety of different painting styles- typically a few different sizes ranging from ¼" to 1" is a good place to start. High quality brushes are best, and should be selected when finances permit. Rosemary & Co sells excellent bristle brushes, badger brushes (series 279), fine detail brushes (pure sable brushes), and more. To save time, sets can be purchased from Rosemary & Co, such as the “Timothy Rees Brush Set.” 

What is paint thinner? Can I buy it from the hardware store?

Paint thinner, or mineral spirits, is for cleaning brushes and can be used as a painting medium. Gamsol is a preferred thinner by most artists, adding a nice working property to the paint and evaporating quickly. Turpenoid also does a solid job. Both are odorless thinners. DO NOT purchase odorless thinners from the hardware store, as these are not completely odorless and are less refined, potentially damaging to paint films and health. For those wanting to go solvent-free and non-toxic, Weber sells a citrus-based version of Turpenoid, but this cannot be used to thin paint while painting (it is strictly a cleaner). A non-toxic lavender thinner alternative for painting made by Chelsea can be substituted at a higher cost. Winsor Newton sells an artist grade triple rectified turpentine (not odorless) which is the highest recommendation for using as a painting medium.

What if I have more questions?

Feel free to email us any time! FreeArtTraining@FreeArtTraining.com

Do I need to buy a brush cleaner jar?

A brush cleaner jar can be homemade: place a bent wire mesh at the bottom of a coffee can with a lid (the mesh should be bent to be raised from the bottom of the can). For a spill-proof container, a traditional steel brush cleaner with rubber gasket can be purchased. You must have something to house the brush cleaner liquid (paint thinner/mineral spirits). You will also need to periodically clean your brushes with soap to keep them paint-free and conditioned. A degreasing dish soap (such as Dawn) works well, as well as a variety of specifically formulated brush cleaner/restorer soaps, such as The Masters Brush Cleaner & Preserver. 

Do I need painting knives or palette knives?

In our program, palette knives are not utilized. These are typically reserved for mixing large quantities of paint onto the palette, and are not used for painting on the canvas. High quality painting knives are recommended, as they are versatile and will last a long time. Poor quality painting knives can scratch wet paint and leave ridges while applying paint, doing more damage than good. Inexpensive painting knives can be adequate for executing the color charts and for some painting, but it is recommended students purchase higher quality knives, such as those made by Holbein, for most paint application techniques executed with the knife. 

How do I use a picture frame as a palette?

A large photo frame with the picture glass left in makes an excellent table top painting palette. The packaging photograph should be replaced with a gray or white sheet of paper (or the backside of the glass can be painted with acrylic paint or spray paint). 

Do I need to paint with a medium?

A painting medium is not required for every style of painting, but many professionals opt for something to modify the consistency of the paint.

What are painting medium cups?

Use small containers to hold clean thinner and medium for painting purposes. If the containers have lids, unused medium and thinner can be saved between sessions. 

What is the artist grade painter's tape used for?

Painter’s tape is required to complete the color charts.  If working on 6x12” panels, 1/4” tape is required. If working on 8x16” panels, 1⁄2” tape is required. 

What type of paper towels do I need?

Rags used to wipe off brushes in between color selections are  necessary. Paper towels are easily disposable and relatively inexpensive. Most artists prefer Viva paper towels because their thick nature protects the artist’s hands from the solvents. Blue shop paper towels work well also.

How do I clean the paint off my palette?

If working on a glass palette, a metal razor blade (with or without a holder) does an excellent job of cleaning the palette. If working on a plastic or wooden palette, a plastic razor blade works nicely. If nothing else, you can use a palette knife. Inexpensive drugstore alcohol works well to wipe off a palette with a paper towel while painting, as it evaporates faster than odorless mineral spirits. 

How do I dispose of used rags?

A simple grocery sack will hold dirty rags until they can be disposed of in the garbage at the end of the painting session. Keep oily rags in an air-tight sack to avoid a fire hazard, and place in an oily waste bin whenever possible. 

Why do I need nitrile gloves?

Some artists opt for gloves to prevent contact with paint and solvents. While latex gloves are good, nitrile gloves provide a better barrier to chemicals. 

Do I need an apron to look like a real artist?

As trendy as that may be, those who are absent-minded or messy may wish to purchase an apron to prevent clothing from becoming covered in paint. If possible, opt for a dark-colored apron to avoid light reflecting back onto the canvas and making glare while painting. 

Really? A white retractible click eraser for painting? Is this a typo?

This is not a typo. The white retractible click eraser is an excellent tool for erasing into open grisaille paintings, which is covered in CPC101.

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