Opus Resource Library
Choosing Oil Paints at Opus
Opus Resource Library

Do you need help choosing oil paints?

Oil paints have been a classic fine-art medium for centuries. Artists choose to paint in oils because of the long working time, the vibrancy of the paint, and the longevity of works made with oil paints. 

However, not all oil paints are created equal. Each line of oil paints has different properties and characteristics, ranging from the smallest of subtleties to major composition differences. 

In this overview, we will introduce key differentiators between the lines of oil paints we carry at Opus Art Supplies. We will include quick points as to why you may want to choose each line of oil paints.

From The Collection:

  • Rublev Colours Artist Oils
  • Kama Pigments Oil Colors
  • Old Holland Classic Oil Colours
  • Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors

Regular selection paints:

  • Gamblin Artist's Oil Colors
  • Holbein Artists' Oil Colors
  • Opus Essential Oil Colours
  • Winsor & Newton Artists' Oils

Choosing Oil Paints From The Collection

The Collection is our selection of art supplies with special stories - a rich history, exceptional process in manufacturing, or championed by enthusiastic connoisseurs.  

NEW Rublev Colours Artist Oils (from Natural Pigments)

New to The Collection are Rublev Colours Artist Oils. This line of oil paints is made in the style of oil paints before modern tube oil paints were popularized. Rublev paints are composed of oil and natural pigments or historical reproductions of pigments used by the old masters, with no additives.

Key points: The purity of these paints means there will be variances in consistencies from colour to colour due to pigment characteristics. 

Overall, Rublev Colours Artist Oils tend to have longer brushing consistencies, lending well to old master-like effects.

These paints will be popular among oil paint aficionados, and those looking to work in pre-20th century methods.

Kama Pigments Oil Colors

The Canadian entry to oil paints from The Collection are Kama Pigments Oil Colors, made in Montreal. Kama leverages their knowledge from being a supplier of dry pigments and other artist materials into making their oil paints.

Key points: Kama uses walnut oil, which works to reduce yellowing over time. Walnut oil paints may dry slightly slower than linseed oil paints, but the difference won't be a dealbreaker for most.

For the uniqueness and quality of Kama's paints, the value is definitely there. Kama Pigments Oil Colors would be a great choice for artists looking for character in their paints at a reasonable price point.

Kama Pigments Oil Colors tubes squeezed to show paints.

Old Holland Classic Oil Colours

Old Holland, one of the oldest paint manufacturers, has been making paints according to traditional recipes since 1664. The proof of these traditions hang in museums, visible in the works of Vermeer, van Gogh, and Hals.

Key points: These thick, richly pigmented paints are among our most premium lines. To achieve thinner consistencies, you may need to utilize mediums.  

Old Holland paints would make a great choice for paint connoisseurs. These paints from The Collection would make for a special gift for the oil painter in your life!

Tubes of Old Holland Classic Oil Colours at Opus Art Supplies

Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors

Williamsburg is one of our premium quality oil paints from The Collection. These paints are made in small batches in the state of New York, nearby their GOLDEN Artist Colors family.

Key points: Williamsburg creates professional quality oil paints for discerning artists. Like a few other paints on this list, their paints are milled to enhance each particular pigment's performance, so textures may vary.

For artists seeking peak paint performance, having some key colours from Williamsburg could go a long way.

A little bonus - their tubes come with pre-painted swatches, which is handy!

painted swatches of Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors at Opus Art Supplies

Regular Selection Oil Paints

These are our readily available paints that you'll find in the studios of professional artists, hobbyists, and students alike.

Gamblin Artist's Oil Colors

Gamblin's oil paints are among our most popular at Opus Art Supplies. The team at Gamblin is dedicated to maintaining the tradition of oil painting while also working towards an artist’s studio with no exposure to toxic solvents.

Key points: Gamblin's colour range boasts  high levels of lightfastness, and low toxicity. They also manufacture Gamsol – a widely used odorless solvent.

Gamblin Artist's Oil Colors are a high-quality choice for your everyday working oil paint. 

Gamblin offers a great selection of additional oil painting supplies, like the aforementioned Gamsol, plus a range of oil mediums, varnishes, and a wide selection of white paint options.

Gamblin Artist

Holbein Artists' Oil Colors

From across the Pacific comes Japan's Holbein Artists' Oil Colors. These oil paints are manufactured with quality control as a core principle.

Key points: Holbein Artists' Oil Colors come in a vast range of colours that you may not find in other lines. The line incorporates traditional colours as well as modern pigments. 

Holbein oils are processed thoroughly to a smooth, uniform consistency across their selection. This can be a definite plus for those less familiar with individual pigment characteristics.

Group of Holbein Artists

Opus Essential Oil Colours

Our very own line of oil paints! Our offering of oil paints are expertly crafted by a small batch artisan with over 45 years' experience. We provide rich, varied colours with strong mixing qualities.

Key points: Our goal for Opus Essential Oil Colours is to provide to you professional level paints with solid value. Opus Essential paints do not utilize any fillers to ensure the colours are at their highest potential. 

In addition, we carry some unique hues developed just for us!

Opus Essential Oil Colours are another great choice for quality working paints.

Opus Essential Oil Colours painted out.

Winsor & Newton Artists' Oil Colours

Last but not least, oil paints from Winsor & Newton! These paints hold over 190 years of research and expertise. They utilize modern scientific processes to ensure consistent high-quality paint performance.

Key points: Winsor & Newton is a trusted artist-quality oil colour with rich and vibrant colours. These paints are widely available and popular at our stores.

You'll find these buttery paints have many single pigment paint choices, which will make for strong, clean mixes.

This is a great entry point into the world of artist oils, which many professional artists continue to use.

Swatch of Winsor & Newton Artists

In Conclusion

There are many factors that can inform your decision in choosing oil paints. Traits such as texture, binder, pigment load, and pigment choice are among the major points artists will consider. Uniform paints can be easier to start painting with. More experienced artists may tend towards choosing oil paints with more distinct and unique characteristics.

We hope this article can serve as a starting place or a helpful reminder for oil paints at Opus Art Supplies. If you would need further assistance with choosing oil paints, please visit one of our stores, reach out to our customer support team, or join us for some of our online oil painting demonstrations