How to Draw


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Dippers and Easels

A dipper is merely a container to attach to your palette to hold turps or oil or drier to add to your paint. If you find them impractical to use, I suggest you keep your dilutants in jars or pots. This is more practical by far than keeping them in dippers.

You will always need plenty of turps for cleaning brushes and the wider the neck of the container the easier it is to do your work. Also when the jars get dirty it is an easy matter to throw them away and start afresh with a new jar, whereas if you use a dipper you will be constantly cleaning them after use. If you don’t they will foul up and be useless.

Jars also have the advantage of being cheap and if they possess a lid you can always put it back on after use and so preserve whatever dilutant or drier you have left.

Turps is used for cleaning brushes and for diluting paint and you will probably use plenty of it. For practical purposes it is better to have two containers of turps; one for cleaning and the other for diluting. In this way your diluting turps will stay cleaner longer.


The best and cheapest easel for oil painting is the type known as the radial easel and costs about $50 to $100 at an artists’ supplier. They can take the smallest or the largest canvas, are very strong, move into any position backward or forward and are ideally suited for painting. However, an ordinary folding sketching easel will do just as well as long as you don’t use too large a canvas (Fig. 29). The greatest fault with a poorly made sketching easel is that it wobbles. If it does, it can make painting in oils very trying.

Failing a bought or home-made easel, you can always prop up your canvas on a chair with your palette in front of it and sit to paint. Or, if you want to stand, prop it up on a mantelpiece. The disadvantage here is that it is better to tilt your canvas forward slightly for oil painting, as this shields the light and stops the paint shining.

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