Posts Tagged ‘Buy the best art supplies possible!’

Happiness 1

It may be assumed that every craftsman (or woman) who loves the craft also loves his (or her) tools.  The carpenter loves his hammer and saw, the chef loves his knives, the plumber loves his wrenches, the photographer loves his camera, and perhaps the dentist even loves his drill—although that does sound a bit weird.

But this craftsman (actually, woman) loves HER brushes, paints, papers, and all those miscellaneous accoutrements known to the watercolorist.  There are many fine brands of supplies available.  Like most people who love a craft I do have my favorites.

My “Messy Palette” is a JOHN PIKE.  There are many palettes out there, and most of them look fantastic.  My favorite brushes are Daniel Smith’s aquarelles—flat and round in several sizes, Jack Richeson’s small flats, and Robert Simmons’ 2″ SkyFlow wash brush. 

The paints on my palette are mostly AMERICAN JOURNEY—wonderfully vibrant buttery-quality paints in more colors than I ever dreamed of.  I tend to buy mainly the transparents and skip most of the earth tones, as they can be created by combining two primaries and adding a complement.  Sometimes, if I want an opaque touch, I use a bit of gouache—any brand.  There are a few WINSOR & NEWTON colors that I keep handy: New Gamboge, Olive Green, Brown Madder (really a chestnut red/brown), and the Winsor Blues—green shade and red shade.  The Winsors are drop-dead gorgeous, and they bleed/diffuse/blossom/fray into whatever colors are next to them creating amazing art with no effort on the part of the artist.  (Some individuals do not like the blossoms and diffusions, but I love them.)

My papers are Arches 140 lb. cold press and YUPO (pictured above).  I consistently alternate between these two supports, as I like them equally.  They are totally different—Arches being the traditional rag paper great for transparent laying, and YUPO being a glasslike surface which is non-absorbing and full of funky surprises.

Then there are the miscellaneous items:  a candle for creating a wax resist; scraping tools such as a credit card (an obsolete one) and a small paring knife; a pan scrubber to scrunch across wet paper for blurry effects; old knitting needles for painting scratchy lines; rubbing alcohol for spattering and making snowy blurbs or ocean waves; Q tips for dabbing; a toothbrush (not the one I use on my teeth) for spattering the alcohol or blotching the paint; salt and my soapmaking cosmetic powders to create texture and interest; plastic wrap and waxed paper for pressing into wet paint to create rocks, etc; a couple of drinking straws to blow paint around on the support; spray bottles containing various liquid paints; a large and small spray bottle for spraying water—one with a large spray and one with a fine mist; dummy matts in various sizes; a deckle edge scissors for cropping when necessary; facial tissues for making clouds and mountains; paper towels for wiping brushes; water containers; water soluble ink pencils and watercolor crayons for drawing on the support (I rarely do this, but when drawing is needed the ink pencils and watercolor crayons are better than graphite pencils because when dampened the ink and crayon marks blend into the paint); sandpaper and nail files for scraping ink pencil into wet paint and making textured color blobs; Winsor & Newton Texture Medium which creates a grainy surface to paint over—great for rocks and trees; and more.

Happiness 2

I have named the above photos “Happiness 1 and 2.  You can imagine why I gave them that name.  🙂

Margaret L. Been, ©

NOTE:  I order my painting supplies online from Daniel Smith, Jerry’s Artarama, Dick Blick, and Cheap Joe’s.  As far as I know, the wonderful American Journey paints are only available from Cheap Joe’s—and only Daniel Smith carries Daniel Smith’s aquarelle brushes. 

Some supplies may be found in an art supply store.  But the stores normally price the stuff higher than the online suppliers do.  The selection in stores is often sadly limited.  And only online can I find American Journey paints! 

I do recommend professional rather than student quality for all painters and would-be painters—even for children who seriously love to make art.  It’s worthwhile to splurge here, and cut corners elsewhere. 

Inferior quality products simply do not satisfy.  Early encouragement and pleasure in a discipline are terribly important.  We would never want our children to learn music on an off-key, tinny piano—and there is no sense in being penurious with art supplies IF we can somehow manage to buy the best.

Hereby smolders a potential blog topic for http://northernreflections.wordpress.com/  Parents often manage to buy costly athletic equipment, electronic stuff for their kids, name brand clothes, or a new and bigger house.  WHY?  In my world art/music/drama/crafts/books are infinitely more important than any of those “latest things” that many seem driven to purchase! 

I’ve always been contented with frayed furniture and an outdated TV (which I rarely watch).  I love dressing “to the nines” in resale attire and eschewing the “latest fad”.  But I spend BUCKS on music, art, and books!!!

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