Congratulations on reaching top of Maslov’s hierarchy of needs, even if you decided to skip a few layers. But to be fair to painting - it is extremely therapeutic, interesting and one more creative way to annoy people with some unnecessarily personal gifts.
The hobby in itself might seem forbiddingly expensive but in reality a lot of fun can be squeezed out of the tube of paint.
Tools & consumables
Surface - depends on viscosity of a medium. Generally canvas or panels for oil and acrylics, different weight and thickness paper for everything else.
Primer/Gesso - needs to be applied to surfaces before painting with oil and acrylics. Just two coats an hour apart are perfectly workable after overnight. Some sanding might be required;
Brushes/tools - much ink has been spilled over preferred brushes. But in real life (from all the research I’ve done) that is just a preference. Generally: * Synthetic brushes are harder and will leave visible marks good for harshing up the consistency; * Animal hair brushes are soft and great for leaving minimal trace; * Painting knife - generally multitool of the industry - can palette knife to mix paint or to finish whole painting. These come in different shapes and sizes, all of soft, flexible metal. I prefer asymmetric copies for their versatility;
These are consumables and their cheapness make no lasting difference. I find cheapest of the bunch to lose bristles on the surface which, frankly, sucks, but somewhat can be helped with a few drops of glue.
Besides a large and a medium brush of both synthetic and natural bristles I find fan brush and a large “utility” brush really useful. I would recommend to own tiny natural bristle brush but painting knife does the job at precision a lot better.
Paint - Choose only “artist” or “professional” labeled paints as cheaper ones have no “archivability” and will definitely brown much quicker. Some non-artist paints I got are not solid enough, come with separated oil from pygment, apply in a very liquid manner. No need for all different colours - they are supposed to be mixed. If fourteen is enough for Bob Ross’s favourites then it is enough for everybody. I have began with monochromatic paintings for which one colour, a white and a black are enough.
How to read paint information - usually tubes of paint will contain following on them:
Material - oil, acrylic, etc. They don’t usually mix together at all;
Colour - not only digitally imprinted approximation of it but also name, colour index.
Opacity - usually a stripe or a square either solid or semi-covered;
Palette - for oil and acrylic the %insert_niche_luxury_brand_of_choice_here% is a glass picture frame which can be had for a few cents in local charity shop;
Easel - in most cases floor or tape is good enough, but with only a little investment in cheap pine planks and a little consumables one can make banger easel. I made just two planks one next to another with gap in between for screw tightening mechanism and installed it to a wardrobe since I am short on wall space;
Tips and tricks to suck less
Learn colour harmony;
Learn to see shadows. Do monochromatic photography, watch monochromatic film. Look for shades, shadow fall, shadow harshness in different light, shadow texture and contour, how shadow impacts colour and surrounding colour impacts thing in shadow;
Subscribe to artists whose work you enjoy, people who inspire you, sub to hashtags you want to see more of;
Don’t be perfectionist. Fail better - learn from it, simplify, claim “impressionism”. One is not supposed to capture reality but rather the essence of subject;
Oil takes a long time to dry. One can expect generous amounts of paint to be still be liquid for next 24 hours. Some painting mediums have modified drying time to up to a week for me. Alternatively acrylic and watercolour dries quicker;
Surfaces - canvas or panel. Pretty much anything that can be primed can be used for painting, but I prefer small panels. Panels appeal to me with portability and utilitarian simplicity. Some surfaces may be already primed. Watercolours have special thick paper;
Oil paint can be rubbed off in a rag or dissolved in white spirit - it will not mix with water at all, unlike any other kind;
Reckless amount of leftover oil paint can be stored indefinitely in film canisters sealed from air by water and stored in a fridge. Any container that can hold water will do. To use it gain just pop out of the fridge an hour before use;
Never mix more medium than 1:1. It will crack and make dried paint brown quicker;
Varnish oil and acrylic painting to protect it for longer;
Don’t mix vehicles - acrylic, oil, watercolour doesn’t mix;
There is no shame in using reference pictures;
Present your work preferably in adequate 5500 Kelvin light. If posting online add some related objects of interest and don’t cheap on background surface - some cheap palette wood is enough to look rustic and fancy;
Write guides and take notes - for reference and others to learn. Trouble with most guides is that professionals forget hos to be novice and how it feels to begin new skill;