A Very Thorough Guide of All My Painting Supplies
Hello lovely humans of the world wide web.
Many of my followers have asked me questions about the supplies I use when painting, so this week I've created a detailed guide of all the materials I have on hand in my creative workspace. For the most part, I get my art supplies from Hobby Lobby, Cheap Joe's, and Jerry's Artarama. Hobby Lobby can be an amazing deal if you use their coupons, which are perpetually available.
Below, I'm going to share links to all of my supplies, tips for painters (both beginning and experienced), and information on how I use these supplies in my creative process:
I use a variety of paint brands depending on what and how I'm creating. When it comes to oil painting, I love Winsor & Newton oil paints. They are beautifully pigmented and thick.
For acrylic pour backgrounds, I actually find that I have more success with cheaper paint brands. Since cheap acrylic paint brands are typically much thinner, they flow easily when pouring them onto the canvas. For these types of projects, I typically use Americana or Apple Barrell paints.
For anything other than pour backgrounds, I use heavy body acrylic paints. Heavy body acrylics are more expensive than regular acrylic paints, but they are worth the investment if you want to get serious about painting. The pigments are higher quality, and the paint will get you farther and last longer. I personally use Liquitex heavy body acrylics and Golden paints.
A lot of fine art oil and acrylic paints are sold individually. This creates a daunting task for beginner painters on how to affordably and efficiently select colors. As a rule of thumb, when selecting paint colors that will cater to a diverse palette of tones, you want to get a warm tone and a cool tone of every color. So, for instance, if you were unable to find pthalo green, you could simply substitute a different cool green tone such as Viridian or Permanent Green Light. If you're not sure where to begin, these are the paint colors I would recommend you get:
Lemon Yellow (cool)
Indian Yellow (warm)
Prussian Blue (warm)
Cobalt Blue (cool)
Yellow Ochre (warm)
Burnt Sienna (warm)
Pthalo Green (cool)
Sap Green (warm)
Cadmium Red Light (cool)
Cadmium Red Deep Hue (warm) Bonus:
I recommend a flesh tint because many beginning artists struggle to create accurate skin tones. The flesh tint is a great place to start, mixing in other hues to get more specific to your reference. Burnt Umber is also another color that I prefer to always keep in my inventory. I can use primary colors to mix a cool, dark blackish-brown, but I find it almost impossible to mix a chocolatey, warm brown tone from other colors I already have.
BRUSHES AND PALETTE KNIFES
During art school, I've used my fair share of expensive art supplies, brushes included. While I learned quickly that some art supplies were well-worth the investment, I never felt that brushes were one of those (excluding calligraphy or certain specific niches of art). Personally, I didn't feel that using fancy bamboo brushes in my studio classes was better than using the large set of generic-brand brushes I get at Hobby Lobby for my own personal paintings. .
When it comes to choosing paint brushes, I recommend you consider how your style and trade of art should play into your choice. For example, I always gravitate towards smaller brushes when working, and I almost never use large brushes (even when I'm working on a large canvas).The type of brush that you use will, to some extent, dictate the style of your work. Big brushes foster a more quick, loose and free style, whereas small brushes cater to fine details.
When I'm working with oils, I always use a palette knife to mix my paints. I have found that, while you can use a paint brush to mix, a palette knife is far more quick and effective in creating an evenly blended shade, and it wastes less paint. I would recommend getting a metal palette knife rather than a plastic one simply because they're more durable and long-lasting.
If you're using oil paints, you will definitely need turpentine to clean your brushes. Compared to other brands of paint thinners I've used, Mona Lisa brand turpentine is relatively odorless (which is a huge bonus if you're painting in any enclosed space, trust me). Turpentine can also be mixed with oil to thin it down. However, I only use this technique on the initial under layer of my paintings because, over time, the turpentine will dull out your colors as the paint dries.
I always keep my turpentine in a sealed mason jar. Don't forget turpentine is highly flammable, so you should collect leftover turpentine and dispose of it safely at your town's local hazardous waste facility. TIP: If you don't have turpentine, you can clean oil paint off your brushes in a cup of dish soap as a makeshift solution.
As I mentioned, treating turpentine as a medium throughout your painting process can lead to dull, flat colors. After the first layer of any oil painting, I use linseed oil to thin my paint. Linseed oil will help the paints to dry faster, and it can thin out paint if you want to add thin washes of a color to your canvas. I use Winsor & Newton's linseed oil. I've never been ambitious with using a palette knife directly on my canvas. Often, I like to apply colors in thinned-out washes and work with a small brush in order to manifest my vision with more control. With linseed oil, I am able to do this, and the colors in my paints remain vibrant as they dry. If you're like me, then you will definitely want to invest in linseed oil for your painting.
More or less, Acrylic Medium is the equivalent of linseed oil, but for acrylic paints. It will allow you to thin out your colors and create thin washes of pigment. However, unlike linseed oil (which causes oil paints to dry more quickly), medium will keep your acrylic paints wet for longer. Acrylic Medium is a very helpful tool to me when creating gradient blends in my paintings, such as a night sky or a sunset. I mix medium with my paints to keep the paint wet long enough that I can work with it to create a smooth, even blend. Liquitex has a lot of great painting products, and their acrylic medium is no exception.
In case you can't tell by now, I find that a lot of art products by Liquitex are great quality (@Liquitex, sponsor me?). I use their heavy body acrylic paints, their acrylic mediums, and their varnish (good for both oil and acrylic).
If you don't know much about varnish, varnish is to painting as modpodge is to crafting. Varnish is a protective finish for your paintings that will preserve your precious work.
It provides protection to the paint from dust and abrasion (if you want to clean it or dust it off over time). Look for varnishes that contain UV-light stabilizers, which will preserve the colors in your painting from naturally light-induced color changes over time.
I first learned about glass palettes in my studio classes at art school. I was hesitant to purchase them because they seemed so expensive compared to purchasing a standard palette from a craft store like I always had in the past. However, by now I've tried all kinds of palettes for my paints, and I can promise you that a glass palette is well worth the investment (especially if you're working with oil paints).
Wood palettes will waste your nice paints by absorbing them, and welled palettes become basically impossible to clean if the paints dry at all. A large glass palette can be easily cleaned with a paint scraper, no matter if the paint is wet or dry. If you have the means, purchasing a glass palette is optimal because they're thicker and less prone to shattering or chipping than a homemade one. You can purchase the glass palette I use (pictured above) here.
TIP: If you don't have the funds to purchase a glass palette, glass from old frames can be an affordable substitute. You can use glass from old frames around your house, or purchase a large glass picture frame from your local thrift store. Be sure to add duct tape around any sharp edges.
If you're working with a glass palette, you may also want to invest in a palette seal in order to keep your paints from drying out over several days or weeks of working. Technically, you can use Saran Wrap to seal your glass palette without a palette seal. However, this is not nearly as long-lasting of a solution and it creates a lot more waste than a reusable seal.
I bought my palette seal on Amazon and I would highly recommend it. I use it to keep both oils and acrylics wet for days (or weeks) at a time. When I'm working with oils, I keep my glass palette in the palette seal. When using acrylics, I use Sta-Wet paper, which is made to go inside the palette seal when using acrylic paints.
I am so glad I could finally share this information with you all, because painting is an activity that has brought me so much joy and purpose in life. And I want to share that passion with others! With that being said, I hope that this list gives you both the knowledge and the inspiration to get started and dive headfirst into your painting. Leave me a comment below if you have other questions about the supplies I use or my painting process that you'd like to know about!
See ya next week. ◡̈