Re: cheap quality oils or the expensive?
RE: Painting is hard. Using very low grade paint makes it even harder. It would be better to use only 3-4 high grade colors than a whole box of student grade tubes. As a bonus you will advance faster by using a limited palette.
Nathan, I have almost every color imaginable in watercolor, and in acrylic and oil. Some casein, too. Several art stores have shut down in the 20 years I have been painting seriously, and I've obtained a lot of cheap supplies.
I agree that a limited palette meets most needs, and that it should be tailored to the painter's needs.
I still use mostly a limited palette: hansa yellow, usually the lemon PY3, a quinacridone red, and ultramarine blue. I can throw in viridian or thalo green for darks and to mix a softer blue. I also throw in burnt sienna or an iron oxide red to modify stuff, and a yellow ochre or raw sienna.
I recently bought some dry earth pigments from earthpigments.com and will be mixing my own more and more paints, and mixing these powders with paints I already have.
I don't see anything hard about making watercolor from powdered gum arabic. I will soon stir some of the powders into oil. I love the subtlety of these earth pigments.
Earthpigments.com has surprisingly bright yellow, red, blue, and green earths. Most of the reds are less bright iron oxides. There is no permanent rose red or red leaning toward violet. I am thinking of getting some Mayan red pigment from someone else.
I researched you. Are your 2.5x3 paintings in inches? I feel confident better quality paints are best for miniature work. But the large impastos like my friend does?
Today, I received 8 Lukas Berlin paints, 37 ml, from Jerry's for just under $30. I bought primary red, primary yellow, ultramarine blue, viridian hue, burnt sienna, and titaniun white. I received 2 free tubes of titanium white.
I should be able to mix these with my W&N safflower oil magenta, manganese blue hue. and Winsor lemon and also my walnut oil Graham ultra blue tube. I also have a tube of Maimeiri Puro, perhaps PY97, that I got for a buck at a local art store on clearance. These should make me an incredible palette. I may even use Grumbacher Maxl inseed-oil based Rapid Dry medium because it has little smell to make a stronger film.
These have almost no smell, though I can definitely smell linseed oil. Wonder why water solubles don't tend to smell? The Grumbacher Max w/s solubles smell more than most do.
I also just made a good sale on some old Pelikan Master Color water soluble oils on ebay. I had some, but they are in my mother's house, left alone, as my noncommunicative brother's deals with settllng her estate.
So I think I have finally assembled an acceptable conglomeration of oil paints for myself.
Just musings. I will cut up the corrugated cardboard box it came in, and throw it in my art classroom for someone else to use. I hate going to galleries and seeing paintings on corrugated cardboard, but someone can use these for studies.
The Berlin paints came in four small cardboard boxes, the kind that hold three 37 ml paints. I'm going to recycle these, use homemade casein to glue 100% cotton paper on them and them paint on them.
Again, the best paint for a person varies!