How can we choose the quality paints for oil painting.

This is not the first time this issue is being raised among young artists. There is a wide choice of various manufacturers, prices of oil paints in art stores. All look the same:  metal tube with a lid. There are the same colors and the same titles.

You will be able to choose the best oil paint after reading this article. First of all, the oil painting is considered to be good for ability of showing the realism and also for its longevity. But how do you know when you’ve found the oil paints to make your work to live for a hundred years? The answer is quite simple. Pay attention to tube of paint. There are some strange squares and asterisks on the tube. But these signs will tell us what kind of paints to choose.

First of all, pay attention to these signs * (for foreign products you can see «+»). The asterisks on tube mean photostability. More asterisks – more  photostability. It means that your painting’s beauty and durability will last for many years.

One-asterisk or one-plus on a tube

One-asterisk on tubeone-plus on a tubeThis paint is not popular among the artists because of less lightfastness . Experience has shown that these paints will fade in the sun during one year. And durability of this painting will be not long, from 10 till 25 years. This paint is used for sketches. But it’s not good for painting.

Two-asterisk  or two-plus

Two-asteriskTwo-plusAs you see these paints have medium lightfastness. These paints are good decision for sketches and paintings. Beginners and professionals try to use these paints with two-plus **. These paints guarantee your painting to have brightness from 25 years. I think that it is the best for start if you ask yourself  how to choose the quality paints for oil painting.

Three-asterisk and three-plus

Three-asteriskthree-plusAnd as you can see this paint has a high level of lightfastness. Three-asterisk oil paints are considered to be the best for protection of the colour. The best oil paints are marked by three- asterisk.  Paintings will last 100 years and its beauty of fine art will last for more than one generation.

There are other symbols of paint’s spreading rate. You saw these symbols on paint tubes.

high spreading rateIf you see the black square, it means that the paint in your hands has a high spreading rate.


paint is transparentThe half-painted square (like on the picture) tells us that this oil paint is semi-transparent. The white square means that this paint is transparent  and good for staining technique in oil painting.

white squareThe white square means that this paint is transparent  and good for staining technique in oil painting. 


Always pay attention to these symbols. These symbols on tubes indicate how long your painting will last.

I wish you creative successes!

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