If you are in the United States, Europe, or Canada, I recommend a set of my own Geneva Artists' Oil Color, which is already mixed with the perfect medium for each color and requires no further preparation. It performs better than other brands, is easier to work with, and contains no solvents (no mineral spirits and no turpentine) so there are no toxic fumes to worry about. It is the perfect limited palette for painting realism.
You can get it here: genevafineart.com/color
In addition, you will also need a tube of Winsor & Newton Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour in both Burnt Umber and Titanium White, which will only be used for staining your canvas. Do not use these for the actual painting process, and make sure to stain your canvas outdoors or in a very well-ventilated area! Click here for a video on how to stain your canvas.
If you live outside the United States, Canada, and Europe click here for alternative paint and medium recommendations.
Different people have different preferences when it comes to brushes. I've tried all kinds of brushes, and this is what I recommend to people who do not want to spend too much money:
At least two small detail brushes, like the Winsor & Newton Monarch Round #00
At least four small filbert brushes like the Winsor & Newton Artists' Oil Brush Filbert #2
At least two medium-size filbert brushes like the Winsor & Newton Artists' Oil Brush Filbert #5
If you are going to be painting large paintings (30"x 40" or larger) you may want to purchase some larger filberts.
The above recommended number of total brushes should be considered a bare minimum. I personally use about three or four times as many brushes when I paint. Using too few brushes will make painting more difficult.
Two large 2-inch brushes like this one:
Be sure to work new brushes in your hand before using them so that any loose bristles will fall out. This is especially important for the varnishing brush as the the varnish dries quickly and you won't have a lot of time to be pulling bristles out of your varnish.
If you buy pre-stretched canvas, I recommend Centurion brand primed linen canvas.
If you're going to be stretching your own — which I demonstrate here: youtu.be/5Aw820hyZS0 — you'll need to buy canvas and stretcher strips.
The SoHo Urban Artists Colored Pencils (I like their Naples Yellow Light pencil) is ideal for penciling on stained canvas. Do not use a regular lead pencil, as it will mix with your paint and "gray up" your color.
If you are in the US, I recommend using my own Geneva Studio Palette, which is made of neutral-color, stained canvas sandwiched between safety glass and a wooden base. This allows you to visualize your paint color on the palette before painting it on your stained canvas. It fits perfectly with the Geneva Palette Table that I designed.
You can get Geneva Studio Palettes here: Geneva Studio Palette
You can get the Palette Table here: Studio Palette Table
You can also make a simple glass palette yourself. I use glass palettes because they are easy to clean. Most glass supply stores can cut them for you. Have them grind the edges and round the corners. 22"x 15" x 1/8 in. thick is a good size. For instructions on making a great palette, watch this video: youtu.be/CODlWL6HqzM
I also have a video on how to make a great palette table to hold your palettes, which you can watch here: youtu.be/wZmcJ4Ox_94
The number 5000K (or 5500K) represents the color of the light (3000K being very yellow/orange, 6000K being very blue, and 5000K or 5500K being a balanced white light).
Two 85-watt bulbs in either 5000K or 5500K color make a great studio light if your ceiling is 8 to 10 feet high. If your ceiling is higher you will need more bulbs.
Use a 20-watt compact fluorescent bulb (or even brighter if your shadow box is large) for your still-life shadow box light.
If you purchase multiple bulbs of different wattage it will allow you to adjust the brightness of your still-life light by switching bulbs — compact fluorescents are not dimmable. Although I have seen some dimmable versions for sale, I was advised against using them as they do not last.
The very best option (although more expensive) for a shadow box light, would be a very bright, dimmable LED light. An LED bulb on a dimmer switch will make it super easy for you to balance your whites. If you do use a dimmer switch be SURE to lock down (with masking tape or something) the dimmer switch AFTER you have balanced your whites. Refer to this video for how to balance your whites: youtu.be/TuZ0t5FR9f0
Do not use incandescent bulbs at all (the old-style regular light bulbs), either for your shadow box light or your studio light. You simply will not be able to judge your colors accurately if you use them. For instance, you might think you are painting with brown paint, but take the paint outside and you will see that it is a dirty purple.
If you live near a large city, you can find 5000K or 5500K bulbs at a light bulb specialty store. Try looking them up in the phone book. If you can't find one that sells them, try searching Google with the words "5000K fluorescent" or "5500K fluorescent" in the search field.
If you are unable to find them, try asking for help on the forum: forum.drawmixpaint.com