There is a very large choice of oil paint out there. And the price range is equally large! A tube of oil paint can be as cheap as a couple of $ but it can go up to over $400 (check this cerulean out or this original Chinese vermillion) for a single tube of paint.
An art materials store like the US based Dick Blick or the UK based Jacksons has around 23 different brands of oil paint in stock. And that's not counting the water-based oils, alkyds, and oil sticks. So what are the best brands, where to find the best quality paint? I hope this overview of my favourite brands will be of some use to you.
Of course I have not tried out all brands, but I will share what I know, like and can recommend. If I learn to love another brand not listed here I will amend this post accordingly. Please do add your own experience and favourites in the comments!
I also created a video about my favourite oil paints. You can watch it below.
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Sophie’s Favourite Oil Paints
Traditional and long established Dutch paint brand, making fantastic professional paint. Huge choice of colours, many unique to Old Holland. Thick and buttery paint. Suitable for impasto. Will need a medium for thinner applications, as can feel a bit dry at times.
Starts at £7.20 / $10.19 for series 1, 40ml tube. website
Beautiful paint from a German brand. Each colour has its own unique mix of ingredients such as linseed oil, damar resin and safflower oil. Beautiful luminous paint, with a unique smell, especially in transparent earth colours. Fluid paint. Some people don’t like damar in paint.
Starts at £8.30 / $12.18 for series 1, 40ml tube. website
I also use Langridge (see my review and buy here), an Australian paint which I did not include as it is not for everyone (although an amazing paint) and Blockx, a Belgium brand of paints, which I don’t know well enough to include in my favourites. I’ve only got a couple of tubes.
I am not sure I know of any really bad paints (unless you count the stuff you can buy in the kids department of a stationary store) so it is probably hard to go wrong. You get what you pay for so you cannot expect professional quality from an affordable student brand. Well-known and rated student brands are Winsor & Newton Winton, Talens Van Gogh, and Daler Rowney Georgian. But even as a student, I would recommend going for the professional range if you can afford it.