I am back at long last! : )
So much has happened in three months. I received a few commissions from family and friends, started an art class with a local artist, and visited the AGO just before their Mystical Landscapes exhibition ended!
Something else I’ve been working on is updating my art supplies collection from a decade ago. It’s been fun because you know, art supply stores == CANDY STORES.
Brushes are my weakness. All the different shapes, sizes, materials, handle lengths, handle finishes…
1. Painting knives (Curry’s Steel Painting Knife #2930, left; Liquitex Free-Style Painting Knife Small #3, right): As someone who’s most ‘outlandish’ paint tools were toothbrushes and q-tips, these paint knives were really somethin’ else! It immediately makes you look like you know what you’re doing – loud scratching noises on the canvas, bold, expressive strokes whether you want it or not. My only complaint is that after having used the knives a few times, the quality of the Curry’s Steel Painting Knife is already noticeably worse. The varnish on the handle has started to come off, and rust has started to form where the blade connects to the bend in the trowel. Newbie Mistake / Pro Tip: Use this with palettes, not paint wells. *eye roll*
2. Royal & Langnickel Zen Series 43 Flat #12: I’ve only recently moved from
small micro, hogshair brushes to large(r) synthetic ones. This one felt SO SMOOTH on the canvas, had a good snap in the bristles, and as a bonus, the handle is long and shiny! Yes, I am a sucker for gorgeous paintbrush handles (EVEN THOUGH I know fully well that it would get covered in paint with time).
3. Royal & Langnickel Zen Series 43 Fan Blender #6: I’ve always been so curious about this brush. So far I’ve only tried it once, and with watercolours, so I’m hesitant to draw conclusions about it yet.
4. Round Hogshair Brushes (Princeton Snap! Round #10, left; Curry’s Series 755 Round #6, right): My art teacher suggested we get some round hogshair brushes. My own brush collection so far only had flat ones (for no conscious reason), and I found I really enjoyed the rounds. Buy lots, people!
5. Princeton Art & Brush Co. Round #16: Round EVERYthing, fellas. It’s the best beginner’s brush. Also has the most gorgeous handle.
6. Escoda Prado Tame Filbert #12: My ABSOLUTE most favourite brush so far. The bristles feel so smooth on the paper, and it definitely keeps its shape. It accurately reflects your hand pressure to make lines that smoothly transition from super thin to super thick. Worth the $20 in quality and, at the very least, you can save by not buying the smaller brushes.
7. Cotman Watercolour Brush Pen Set: I was a little skeptical at first glance. NINE of the twelve pans looked like the same shade! But I was looking for a travel kit, and I was curious about waterbrushes, and this set had both. Happily, the colours are very different, and very rich as well! The waterbrush is still a little confusing, but I’ll chalk that up to my having just used it once so far.
8. Liquitex Basics (Silver 118mL, left; Cadmium Red Light Hue 250 mL right): These two, I had bought to experiment with. I have been liking the new trend where people incorporate metal leaf into their paintings, and was wondering if a metallic paint would have a similar effect with less fuss (no: it was shiny, but too weak). The Cadmium Red Light is because I’ve been obsessed with underpaintings lately. I wanted a cheap but large amount of some bold colour. : )
9. Krylon Low Odour Clear Matte Spray: I once applied a protective clear coat to a painting before mailing it off to a friend. Unfortunately, it smeared the paint and really put me off of protective coatings altogether (always test first, people!). I bought this Krylon Matte Spray because I was painting on my tyvek wallets and knew the paint would need some sort of protective coating. It didn’t smear! : )
10. Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Markers (Aqua, left; Black, right): Pretty much purchased for the sole purpose of drawing on mugs. :p It definitely lasts longer than if you used a regular Sharpie, but it still comes off with time. I drew on a coffee mug that gets used + washed every single day that “lasted” for about a year. And by “lasted” I mean it looks all scratched up, but the design is still obvious.
11. Royal & Langnickel Gouache Paint Set: I was curious about gouache because it’s supposed to be more opaque and matte than watercolours. While it was more opaque, the difference to me wasn’t large enough. It really just felt like I bought more watercolours.
12. M. Graham Artists’ Acrylic Paint in Ultramarine Blue: Purchased for my art class. It doesn’t really feel different compared to the Liquitex Heavy Body paints, but both of these are definitely better than the Reeves Acrylic Paint. …Though I guess that’s not saying much, is it?
13. Dr. Ph. Martin’s Frisket Mask Liquid: This one smells BAD. But it works well! I particularly enjoyed the process of using my eraser to rub off the masking once the paint dried. : )
14. Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic Paints (Titanium White 138 mL, leftmost; cadmium red, Burnt Umber, Payne’s Gray, Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson Hue, 59 mL each, left to right): Here’s what my art teacher said in her paint list for us: “Please avoid the big, cheap , transparent plastic tube, student paints. They will limit you.” When I squeezed some paint from the tube in class and made my first brushstrokes, I was disappointed. It felt the same as those ‘big, cheap, transparent plastic tube’ ones that I’ve always used. But I puttered along, making a painting every week for the past month or so. Finally, I pulled out my cheapo paints to do a painting for myself and… you know what, it feels different right out of the tube! I get it now.
15. Artist’s Loft Back Stapled 24″ x 36″ Canvas (with underpainting done in Liquitex Basics Cadmium Red Light Hue): The beginnings of my friend’s commissioned piece! The biggest I’ve ever done. The size makes me feel like a real artist, haha
16. Saunders Waterford 300lb Cold Press 22″ x 30″ Watercolour Paper: I decided to spoil myself with some really good, 300 lb watercolour paper. I want to feel how miraculous it would be to paint on unstretched paper without fear of cockling. I have yet to use it, so no conclusions yet. I love the feel of the paper though, and the deckled edges. Add it to the makes-me-feel-like-a-real-artist list!
17. Fred’s Pick Gallery Style 12″ x 24″ Canvas: My first gallery style canvas! :D Mostly, that means it’s 1.5″ in depth, vs 3/4″.
18. Mont Marte A3 Canvas Pad: When I was painting my new logo (the one with me and my Cricket), I got a little stressed because I’ve never painted myself before, AND I’ve never been successful in using non-realistic colouring. So I started using scraps of watercolour paper, painting myself over and over and over again, until I felt confident enough. It helped even to just be able to quickly dab the brush on the paper to double check that that’s the colour I wanted. I soon realized that I didn’t have an analogous tool for my acrylic paintings! Is there such a thing as “scrap canvases”??? I found this cheapo canvas pad in Home Sense and have loved being able to use it guilt-free to experiment/practice on. This one DOES cockle if too much water is used though.
19. Artist Canvas 9″ x 12″: I guess this is pretty close to scrap canvases. It doesn’t cockle, and it’s dirt cheap ($1.50). If you happen to make a masterpiece though, I feel like it might be difficult to hang(?).
20. Blue tarp: Big enough to protect the floor while I spray a protective coating on my larger paintings.
21. Giant yellow binder clips: Purchased on sale at Michael’s, I thought they’d be perfect for affixing my Mont Marte canvas pad sheets onto my gatorboard.
22. Manfrotto PIXI Tripod: I LOVE timelapses, long exposures… everything. I love how compact this tripod is. I use a smartphone attachment for my timelapses. For my semi-dslr, I just pop it on no problem.
23. Flower Pot from Italy: A sweet find in Value Village, I thought a handmade item would be perfect as a brush holder. : ) At the moment it looks kinda sad with my 30 or so brushes, but I hope with time it will fill out gorgeously.
24. Artist’s Loft 6 Well Muffin Style Palette: Another item I purchased for my art class. I’m more of a flat-palette type of person, but I see how wells can be really useful in mixing up larger quantities of paint. I tried a real muffin tin but it rusted on me and my expensive paint. D’:
25. Harman BBQ Apron: They opened a Value Village in the rich part of town almost a year ago. I’ve scouted out the areas that are usually filled with unopened new stuff. This was one of those items. I love that it has two big pockets in the front, perfect for snacks while I work!
26. Walmart Groceries Bin: I really really didn’t want a Walmart one, but at that time, I was hungry, tired, and absolutely could not remember where the cooler green ones were sold. Anyway, I wanted a little tote because I work in various spots in my house and was finding it annoying spending most of my working time walking back and forth because my hands can only hold so much. This bin has become my happy place. : )
27. Mastercraft Heavy-Duty Tinted Storage Tote: For the same reason I wanted a groceries bin, I wanted one for my paints too. I preferred it to be air-tight to increase the longevity of my paints… It was SO HARD to find (probably why I was so hungry and tired in Walmart)!. When I finally saw this in Canadian Tire, I had to had to had to buy it. …And it was tinted! I didn’t even know I wanted a tinted bin until I saw it! It’s air and water tight and had the gasket to prove it! It was only when I went home and was fawning over it that I realized it didn’t have a carrying handle. Welp, every other aspect exceeded my expectations, so I still give it an A+.
Lengthy post is lengthy. And I’ve bought even more stuff since! Anywho, I made a quick demo via timelapses with some of my new toys, but… the phone lost it. So here’s a photo.
I forgot to include the Sakura Pigma Brush Pen, and the Pilot Color Eno Blue 0.7 mm Pencil Lead in the giant list above, which is a shame. They were one of my more favourite purchases.
I recently started a job at Curry’s (a Canadian art supply store), and have been really enjoying learning about EVERYTHING outside of my acrylics and watercolours comfort zone. I wonder how much I’ll be buying now! :D
What’s your most favourite art tool discovery?