What oil painting panels, canvases and primers do you prefer? When it comes to oil painting, there are a lot of things that we can paint on – linen or cotton canvas, wood, plastic, or aluminum panels, just to name a few. There are also a lot of opinions out there about what works and what doesn’t.
The first thing that I want to do is share with you the top surfaces that artists use today for oil painting. Then I’ll tell you the pros and the cons to each of them.
I’ll share with you what I’ve painted on over the past 30 years, and what a lot of professional oil painters today like to use, and what science says is the best thing to use for the long-term survival of our paintings.
Before I get into the nuts and bolts of oil painting panels and canvases, I will give you a list of products I recommend so you can get right to painting.
A Quick List of Oil Painting Panels & Canvases
Here is a list of some oil painting panels and canvases I recommend for landscape and flower paintings:
1. Art Board Natural Fiber Painting Panels
2. Ampersand hardboard panels
3. Lead White Oil-Primed ACM Panel
4. Lead Oil-Primed Linen ACM Panel
5. New Traditions L280 on Gatorfoam (medium texture) or
6. New Traditions L600 on Gatorfoam (smooth texture)
7. Italian Art Store (for larger paintings too big for panels): Med Weight w Super Even Finish Belgian Linen Lead Primed or one of their other lead primed linen canvas rolls ( you will need to stretch it yourself)
8. New Traditions also has rolls of Linen to purchase: L280 84” x 6 yards
9. For smaller-budget studies and experimenting use watercolor paper or any sketch paper. Paint directly on the paper or cover with acrylic gesso.
The Surfaces I have used for Oil Painting
Through most of the 1980s & ‘90s I painted on linen and cotton canvas. My dad and I prepared lead primed linen canvases ourselves. We put together wooden stretcher strips, stretched the canvas tight, applied rabbit-skin glue, and then primed the canvas with a lead oil primer.
When I used cotton canvas it was always the heavier 12 oz. fabric.
The few canvases I still have are as tight as a drum and in excellent condition. Unfortunately, some of the linen and cotton fabrics are not made as well today, or are relatively much more expensive.
I stopped making lead-primed canvases in the mid ‘90s because of the toxic solvents that were involved and because I read a paper by an art conservator who said that acrylic emulsion grounds (commonly called acrylic gesso) outperformed traditional lead and oil grounds. Research today shows that a lead ground is actually the strongest ground for oil painting, but at the time it was a great incentive to use the non-toxic acrylic gesso. It may not be as strong as lead for oil painting, but as far as researchers know today, acrylic gesso is overall a good oil painting primer.
If you plan to keep using canvas and want to prepare, stretch, and lead prime them on your own, do yourself a favor and skip the rabbit-skin glue process. Hide glues are hygroscopic and there are much better alternatives today. Some suggest GAC products, but you can also simply use acrylic gesso which is less expensive than the GAC products. If you love using lead oil primer then simply add that over the acrylic gesso. As long as the canvas is sealed you can put any oil product on it – primer or paint.
Many professional artists prefer linen, but cotton canvas is also wonderful to paint on. Cotton is not as durable as linen, but both will hold up fine through our lifetime – maybe. According to JustPaint.org, cotton canvas loses half of it’s tensile strength within 50 years and continues degrading after that. That’s something to consider for a young whipper snapper just beginning their career. For us ‘seasoned’ oil painters, who really cares if our paintings last more than 50 years – how many things in this world last longer than that anyway?
So, if you love to paint on stretched canvas, keep at it. They will likely outlast us and the collector without appreciable problems.
Baltic Birch Panels
I started experimenting with ½ inch Baltic Birch plywood panels in the early ‘90s. Eventually, I found myself using panels more than canvas.
Part of it was the convenience – cutting a panel was quicker than stretching a canvas. And, they were much easier to transport since I didn’t have to worry about something poking through the back side. But I also loved the solid feeling of a panel under my paintbrush – I knew exactly how the brush would react every time.
The one drawback to panels is the weight, especially for paintings larger than a 30×40. Not only is shipping more expensive but lifting a heavy wooden panel with a frame to put on a wall is not for the faint of heart.
Now in the 90s the Baltic birch ply came out of Russia and it was really well-made. The panels I still have around my studio, even after 25 years or so, are straight as can be – no warping, no cupping, nothing like that.
I’ve done some large paintings on Baltic Birch plywood. I used to be able to get a nice big 4×8 foot sheet for about 45 bucks. And it was such a nice surface to paint time.
And then in about the year 2000, the panels began bending and twisting on me. I thought, whoa, what’s going on here? I don’t want to create a $5000 painting, let somebody purchase it, and then have it start warping once they get it home.
So, I went to back to the lumber yard and I said, hey, what’s up with the Baltic Birch ply? He said, “Yeah, we’re getting it from China now, not from Russia. And they are using different resins in the plywood that are not waterproof”. It really was terrible stuff. Nothing against China, but the material that was coming out of there was awful.
The other thing about plywood is that it tends to crack or split down the veneer. Fortunately, nothing has happened to my paintings, but it is a great possibility that you’ll get cracks in the wood veneer which will also crack the painting. It’s a really heartbreaking thing to see happen.
So, I would steer away from plywood altogether, especially today. The quality of the wood that we get is not even close to what it was 30 years ago or 40 or 50 years ago.
Here’s an excerpt from Ben Sones on the Wet Canvas Forum (I have an article from MITRA and some others, but the one on MITRA is not accurate. The article on MITRA makes many recommendations (like using Rabbit Skin Glue and using cradling) that are now know by conservators to have much better alternatives).:
“This Getty publication, for example, talks about how checking in the surface veneer is slowly destroying Salvador Dali’s Couple With Clouds in Their Heads, which is painted on marine okoume plywood.
A more fundamental problem is the structure of the plywood itself, though. The whole point of plywood–and the reason that it appeals to painters–is that the thin veneers glued together in alternating directions significantly restricts the dimensional movement of the wood. The problem is that the consensus among modern conservators is that restraining wood is a bad thing. The Structural Conservation of Panel Paintings (Kathleen Dardes, Andrea Rothe) has numerous articles that explain how many of the challenges in preserving wood panel paintings involves remediating damage caused by restraints on the panel. There’s a Marion Mecklenburg article in there that demonstrates how the long term durability of plywood is very poor compared to unrestrained, radially cut panels made from solid wood. American Painters on Technique: 1860-1945 (Getty Publications, p. 24) explains how physically restraining wood in a manner that prevents it from expanding and contracting naturally in response to fluctuations in relative humidity tends to cause irreparable harm to the structure of the wood. These stresses are still present even when the wood is restrained, but the restraints force the wood to internalize the stresses, and over time this causes the actual cell structure of the wood to collapse in on itself–a process called “compression failure.” Compression failure is not friendly to paint coatings–it tends to make them delaminate.
The current consensus on wood supports among conservators is that wood (and paint surfaces on wood) fares best when it is entirely unrestrained. Wood naturally wants to expand and contract, and it may warp a little, but the damage caused by this movement is far, far less serious than the damage caused when wood is restrained. That means that cradling on the back of a wood panel, which is very common in commercial wood painting panels today, is an inherently bad idea and should be avoided. And it means that plywood, which is highly restrained by design, is also an inherently bad idea and should be avoided. Plywood panel braced with wood cradling? Yeah: double whammy.”
MDF Oil Painting Panels
That left me needing something else to paint on.
I tried out several different types of wood painting panels like Masonite (Hard Board) and other forms of plywood. Each of them seemed to have major drawbacks. I was always a little bit leery of how slick the surface of Masonite was. And if you try to sand the surface, then you’re bringing up all those little fibers which didn’t feel right – it seemed to be undermining the integrity of the board.
I had also read things about how the oils were in the Masonite might leach out and cause problems with the painting. So, I steered away from Hard Board. But there are a lot of artists that still use it, and there are many artists who have used it for years without any real problems. But then that’s all anecdotal as well.
The lumberyard steered me toward MDF (medium density fiberboard). Home Depot has the best MDF panels I’ve found. They come in 2×4 foot sheets and they are always straight and flat. Sheets larger than that are not made the same – they tend to warp a lot. Which is majorly disappointing when we want to create larger paintings. Even with all the moisture we have here in Indiana, the panels I’ve had sitting unprimed in my studio for several years are still in perfect condition.
The problem with MDF is that it is made with formaldehyde and formaldehyde leaches out of the wood into the air in our studios. I didn’t know that about MDF until the last couple of years. I’m pretty bummed about that. But with any wood panels that we get today, for the most part, that’s what we’re going to have to deal with.
The other problem with something like a medium density fiberboard is that if it gets wet, it swells, and the board is ruined. And if that happens after we’ve painted on it, our paintings are ruined and there’s nothing we can do to repair them.
The other drawback to something like an MDF panel is that we have to have a table saw to cut the panels. We can’t use something like a box cutter to cut through wood panels. So that’s a drawback for a lot of artists who don’t have power tools or live in a small apartment, or for a student at art school or something like that.
Now, the really nice thing about MDF panels is that the 2×4 foot sheets at Home Depot are about eight bucks. That’s really inexpensive for an oil painting panel. The only problem is this we have to cut it in pieces, but eight bucks for a 2×4 foot panel, that’s pretty cheap.
So if you’re going to use something like an MDF panel or even Baltic Birch or something like that, I would suggest that you seal off all six sides – front, back and all the edges – so that no moisture can get through.
And if you want to seal it off so that the formaldehyde is not leaking into your studio, there is something that you can use. ECOS makes a product called Air Purifying Primer (formerly called Passivating Primer) that will seal the panels so that the VOC’s can’t escape. They said that the Louvre Museum using this for more than 30 years (to keep VOC’s away from the artwork I presume). The primer is nontoxic. It’s about $110 a gallon, so it’s not inexpensive, but it goes a long way. And you only have to have one or two coats of it on there in order to seal off your panel.
Now, the drawback to this as a primer or a ground for oil painting is that it is highly absorbent. If you try to paint on it, you’re probably not going to like it unless you like to paint on matte absorbent surfaces which I don’t because I like my brush to move fluidly across the panel.
Once you seal the panel, I would suggest that you put something else on top of it – either an acrylic gesso or a lead primer.
I have a lot of oil paintings that have had no problems on both canvas and panels. But it’s good to know about the chances we’re taking with each one. There is no perfect material to use to paint on. There just isn’t.
If our budgets allow, a simpler solution is to buy panels already perfected for oil painting like Ampersand hardboard panels or Art Board Natural Fiber Painting Panels. Neither of them is made with formaldehyde or other destructive chemicals and they are ready for oil painting. They will not warp and are designed to last for generations.
Solid Wood Panels
If you are interested in solid wood oil painting panels Ben Sone once again comes to the rescue: First he tells us to make sure they are dried (kiln-dried is preferable) and then seal the front with an oil primer (titanium or lead) and the back and sides with the same or an oil-based polyurethane. Then he shares some wonderful art history about Mahogany oil painting panels.
“What are the best wood panels to paint on?
Swietenia macrophylla–genuine mahogany, also known as Honduran Mahogany, though most of it comes from Peru these days, from what I have been told. Do not confuse this with the many other woods that are often sold as “mahogany,” like African Mahogany (Khaya senegalensis–not the same family of wood at all) or Philippine Mahogany (aka Meranti, which is a catch-all designation for a number of woods from the Shorea family–this is the wood used to make marine plywood, and also the Lauan plywood commonly used for door skins. It is not at all related to genuine mahogany). Genuine mahogany is the best wood you can use for wood painting panels, full stop. Some of the world’s best-preserved paintings are on mahogany panels. Take the painting Mariana, by Millais, currently hanging in the Tate. It was painted on a Winsor & Newton-branded mahogany panel (yes, they used to sell those… I wish they still did!) that’s approximately 19.5 inches by 23.5 inches by about a half an inch thick. It’s one single plank with no joins; that’s one of the good things about mahogany–the trees grow wide. Tate conservators describe this painting as being “virtually unblemished by age.” Not bad for a 165 year-old painting. Want to go further back? Rembrandt, as well as a number of other Dutch Golden Age artists, did work on mahogany panels. His portrait of Nicolaes Ruts, in the Frick, is on a massive piece of solid mahogany (46 x 34.4 inches). It is in fantastic condition (I’ve seen that one in person). 384 years old, and you’d be hard pressed to find any visible cracking on that painting. It’s incredible.”
The wonderful thing about wood is we can actually oil paint directly on wood without priming or sealing it. Oil paints deteriorate canvas, but oil paints do not adversely affect wood. The only reason to seal the wood is to keep it safer from moisture.
The older I get the more I feel compelled to leave the panel and canvas making to someone else. I’ve done a lot of experimenting lately to see what might work well for our members, but my panel making days are ending.
I would much rather be painting than trying to figure out the best way to seal a wood panel. Besides that, here in Indiana, when we have a sunny day I want to be out painting or playing, not cutting, sanding, and priming.
ABS Plastic Panels
That brings us to something that I was hoping would completely replace the MDF panels and all that formaldehyde – ABS plastic sheets.
So why did I turn to ABS plastic?
When I heard someone enthusiastically endorse ABS plastic sheets for oil painting panels my first thought was, ”yeah, that sounds cheap. Collectors are not going to want to buy a painting that’s on plastic”. But the person that I heard it from was William Whittaker, one of the top figure painters in the country.
He said that he had been painting on ABS plastic for over 20 years because of some chemist friends of his who steered him in that direction. He demonstrated the strength of ABS by throwing his panel on to the hard tile floor. No damage at all. This stuff is super strong and tough. If you drop it and it lands on a corner, nothing, no dings or problems. If you drop an MDF panel or an aluminum panel or anything like that, you’re going to dent the corners. But this stuff, you’re going to have a hard time doing any damage to ABS panels. That’s a real comfort when it comes to the longevity of our paintings.
ABS doesn’t swell from water. It can withstand normal hot and cold temperatures well.
And so, I thought, what’s the catch here? And he said, no catch. This stuff is great. He was selling paintings for tens of thousands of dollars that he had done on ABS plastic sheets.
So I decided I better do some research on that.
The more I researched it, the more I liked the idea of it. There are no fumes, no VOCs, nothing leaks into the air. The plastic, they say, will last for hundreds of years without any degradation, as long as it’s not out in the sun. Yeah, this stuff does not like the sun, but as oil painters, that doesn’t really matter. If we’re out on location painting and the sun is shining on it, that’s not going to be a worry. That’s not going to do anything to it. But if we have it sitting in a window or out in the sun for years. Yeah, that’s going to start to break it down. But as oil painters, we put our oil paintings in a frame and then it’s closed off. It’s not going to get sun on it. And once we’ve painted on it, it’s sealed away from the light. So that’s really not a concern when it comes ABS.
The other thing that I loved about it is that it can be sanded and then painted on without primer. OK, the sanding is kind of a pain and gets plastic dust everywhere. But, cutting wood panels gets formaldehyde dust everywhere.
With ABS one sides comes with a pebbly texture and the other side is smooth and shiny. We don’t want to paint on either side directly because our paint is not going to adhere well to it. Oil paint forms a mechanical bond. It has to have some kind of tooth to grab a hold of. But all we do is take a little bit of sandpaper and remove the slick surface – give it some tooth. 150 or 120 grit sandpaper will work well. Once you get rid of that shiny surface, you can paint directly on the panel.
The other fantastic thing about ABS panels is that you can cut them with a utility knife. It’s amazing. All you have to do is score it several times on one end. After scoring the panel, take the plastic and bend it until it snaps and you’ll get this beautiful, crisp, clean line. It does take some muscle to do that, but it’s a lot better for somebody who doesn’t have a table saw. Anyone can get a utility knife and cut through this stuff as long as you have enough strength to score the plastic.
All right, Bill, so what’s the drawback to this? Right? Well, I just had a conversation yesterday with George O’Hanlon, the founder of Natural Pigments. We talked for over an hour on the phone and I asked him all kinds of questions about the things I’ve been researching for our art community. I’ve read so many papers, articles, forums, and scientific papers from sites like MITRA and others (MITRA is one of the best resources for art materials studies and modern research). I have even purchased academic papers on this stuff. I have read everything that I can find, and it still seems like there’s a lot of conflicting information out there. So, in talking to George (he really studies all this out, he’s directly involved in a lot of the research that goes into art materials and what’s being discovered about those art materials) I asked him about ABS plastic because I did see that in the past he thought that plastic panels might turn out to be a really good thing for oil painting.
What he said was, yes, acrylic, pure acrylic panels do look like they might be something to paint on. The problem with a pure acrylic panel is that it’s very brittle. If I took an acrylic panel and threw it down on the ground, that same corner probably would have shattered or cracked. It’s tough stuff, but it’s still much more brittle than this ABS plastic. The thing about pure acrylic panels is that they don’t contain plasticizers. It’s the plasticizers that are likely to cause problems with our oil paintings down the line. In fact, it sounds like the plasticizers might cause the paint to actually peel off of the panel. So that was a real bummer to hear. I had not read that anywhere in any of the research that I did on ABS plastic. Nobody talked about that.
And he said it’s not a matter of just finding out what plasticizers are in ABS and then figuring out how to work around those. He said every manufacturer does something a little bit different. And they don’t tell us what they’re doing. They don’t tell us all the ingredients that they use because they are proprietary formulas and they change their formulations on a regular basis. So, we can’t find out what plasticizers they are using and decide if it will affect oil paintings.
With most of the materials that we use as artists, there are unknown variables and there are possible problems that can come down the line. Will I just throw out my ABS painting panels? Probably not. They worked well for Whitaker for 20 years. Well, actually, I wouldn’t throw it out anyway. It’s recyclable. 100 percent recyclable material. And there are no toxins that come from this stuff if I leave them sitting on a shelf in my studio. But, I will probably not buy more of it in the future.
Now, if you do use ABS, one of the things to remember when you’re sanding this stuff is to definitely wear a really tight dust mask. Something that’s going to keep all of that dust from entering your lungs. You don’t want to breathe in the dust from this. Yeah, ABS as an oil painting panel is non-toxic – the panel itself is completely inert. But any dust, whether it’s from wood or from plastic or anything else, we don’t want to breathe that dust into our lungs. Other than that, this stuff is safe.
Now, one thing that is a possibility for the panels I have here in the studio is using a lead ground on top of the ABS plastic sheets. That might prevent any possible problems with the paint peeling off because we’d have one continuous line of defense on the painting panels. But there are no guarantees. The thing that I like about the ABS plastic is that it’s so simple to use. I can cut it with a knife. I can even have the companies that I order from cut it into pieces for me. I can buy a big 4×8 foot sheet from my local plastics company for about 65 to 70 dollars.
Now, buying it online, I have seen it’s about $120 a sheet, and then another $20 to have them cut it into pieces. Depending on what size panels you work with you can get a whole lot of panels for that price. So, compared to purchasing panels separately, any kind of panels from an art manufacturer, it’s a pretty economical way to go.
ACM (Aluminum Composite Material) Oil Painting Panels
So that brings us to aluminum panels or ACM. These are becoming increasingly popular among professional oil painters.
Why is that? The main reason is because it is dimensionally stable. The fluctuations from heat, cold, and moisture are minimal which greatly minimizes the cracking of oil paint. They are also reasonably light for carrying around on painting trips and for shipping to galleries.
Metal panels have been used for hundreds of years. There are oil paintings on copper plates from the fourteenth century that have remained in excellent condition.
The most difficult thing with metal panels is that they tend to tarnish or oxidize. So, we want to protect our paintings from that. What they’re doing with aluminum panels today is that they’re pre-oxidizing them. I don’t know exactly how it works but ACM oil painting panels will not continue to oxidize or degrade over time.
If you look online for ACM, look for the equivalent of DiBond ( DiBond is a trademark name for this type of panel). Not all ACM panels are created with oil painting panel standards. Panels like those made by Artefex have a polyester film on one side and a polyethylene core between the two thin sheets of aluminum.
So far, ACM oil painting panels appear to be the most stable supports available. They offer the greatest possibility of our paintings lasting hundreds of years without cracking or damaging the paint in any way. Not only will our paintings be around for our collectors’ lifetimes, but they can pass them on for generations to come as cherished family heirlooms.
The only drawback that I have seen is dropping a panel. Yep, that happened to me. Returning from the Santa Fe Plein Air Convention I was unloading all my art supplies with the ACM panels I purchased from Natural Pigments and the 18×24 inch panel I purchased slipped and fell onto my wood floor. That left a nice bent corner on my new $50 panel.
Once that happens the only thing we can do is cut that side of the panel off. Bending it back into shape isn’t an optimal choice because it leaves noticeable lines. So, if you paint on aluminum panels, just be careful that you don’t drop it, especially after you’ve started a painting, because that would be awfully heartbreaking.
Fortunately, just like with the ABS, we can use a regular utility knife to cut aluminum panels. We do the same thing – we score it several times and then we slowly bend it until it snaps apart. I love it when a painting panel doesn’t require a table saw to cut it. That’s a real plus for those who don’t have a table saw or who live in a small apartment or something like that.
The polyester coating side is the one we paint on. It needs to be lightly sanded (Natural Pigments recommends a 360 grit or higher sandpaper, but others like Golden say 150 grit works with Dibond ACM) and then cleaned with rubbing alcohol until all the white dust is removed. Then it needs to be primed so the oil paint will adhere well. Acrylic Gesso bonds well with the polyester coating – lead oil primer has a fair to medium bonding quality. I’m not sure why that is since oil paint seems to bond well to about everything else – like acrylics.
I have read that some artists are using auto industry primers to seal the aluminum and then painting on those. The trouble with that is that it’s tough to find a primer or sealer for metal that is solvent (toxic-fume) free.
Budget Friendly Oil Painting Supports
Now, if you’re on a tight budget and you just want to paint, you really want to learn how to oil paint, then paint on paper. You can oil paint directly on paper. Sure, eventually it’s going to disintegrate that paper, but it’s going to take a long, long time to do it. Let the oil paintings dry and turn your studies into a sketchbook.
So if you’re just looking to go out and paint some field notes, things like that, you can paint directly on paper. If you can, use something like a watercolor paper, a hot press or a cold press – hot-pressed means it’s smoother and cold-pressed means it’s more bumpy, has more texture to it. So, get a hot pressed paper if you’re creating more detailed paintings and use a cold pressed watercolor paper if you want a little bit more texture like a heavy weave canvas to paint on.
If you want your paintings to last even longer, take some acrylic gesso and coat the paper and then you can paint on top of that. There are so many ways to do this even when we’re on a tighter budget. The main thing is to just do it. Just get out and have some fun and oil paint.
Conclusion – Which is Best for Oil Painting?
Now that I know about the plasticizers in ABS I will likely avoid purchasing anymore for my oil painting panels.
I may continue using stretched linen for paintings larger than 36×48 inches, but with the availability of 4×8 foot Dibond ACM panels I probably won’t need to. Whether I attach linen to those panels or not I’m still unsure about. I will need to do more testing to be sure.
As far as preparing my own panels, this research has convinced me to stop. There’s too little time as it is for painting, so I might as well leave the panel making to others. The difference in cost is so minimal it doesn’t make the time exchange worth it. In the past I liked the quality of my own oil painting panels and canvases compared with commercial products. Today, there are several companies who are creating excellent oil painting supports.
The ACM panels from Natural Pigments sound like a fantastic alternative that will probably become one of my go-to oil painting panels for smaller paintings. The natural fiber boards from Art Boards are also appealing because I can paint on them straight away, they are made extremely well, and they are priced amazingly. The Gatorfoam lead-primed linen oil painting panels at New Traditions is one I will also be experimenting with, especially in larger sizes.
What do you do if you have a bunch of canvases or MDF or ABS panels lying around? Use them. If a collector brings back a cracked painting, we’ll figure it out then. After 40 years that hasn’t happened to me and as you can see I’ve painted on all of it – even thick Van Gogh style impasto paint on cotton and linen canvases.
Yes. We might have problems with a lot of these things down the line. But if that’s what we have to use, then use it. The main thing is to get out and paint.
In the end, if our paintings end up in museums, then a conservator can figure it out – that’s what they get paid for. Yeah, I know. That’s a little bit cavalier to say something like that, but there’s only so much we can do as artists and we don’t need to get uptight about it. We really need to do those things that help us to feel the joy in our work. And if we’re too uptight about the materials that we’re using, it takes some of the joy out of it.
My suggestion is to use what you have. Use what is available to you. And if your circumstances allow, then use something like an aluminum panel, either purchasing it yourself and having the pieces cut for you or cutting them yourself or buying them from somebody like Natural Pigments – anyone who makes really nice quality panels that you can have tailored to your needs.
You can have them lead primed, oil primed, acrylic primed. You can get linen or cotton canvas put on them. You can do just about anything that you want with them. So, any technique, any style – there is some material that’s going to work for you.
And in the end, remember, some of the greatest artists today are using all of these materials that we just talked about. So, don’t think that you have to run out and get some expensive lead oil primer ground or anything else, or that you have to get expensive aluminum panels
I hope this gives you some guidance in figuring out the best oil painting panels or canvases for you. The important thing is just to get out and paint as often as possible.
Have fun and Happy Painting!
P.S. – you can get my supply list here.