Monday, March 15, 2010

These are some of my fav things!

Today I'm going to show you some of my favorite art supplies plus a vendor that I like.  I am very very fussy about having the right things to work with and keeping them in as good of shape as possible.  When I was teaching art for 11 years I would send my new students home with a supply list and pray that they would follow it.  Now some of them were as young as 8.  So, I can understand why their parents wouldn't want to buy them the best but my philosophy of teaching was use the best and get the best.  Hey!  I think I should use that as my new motto for the supply department of my blog.


When the students would come to class with the chintzy brushes that all come in a packet from a foreign country I would cringe!  In fact after a while of helping them I would tell the parents that they just had to break down and spend more money on quality (you get what...., etc.).  So here are my top favs:

1.  Liquitex acrylics-I love them because they have more of a matte finish to them.  So I can layer oils on top without fear of the oils not adhering.  The lids fit decently and are easy to handle even for adults.  Also, a little trick here-you can put unused paint back into the tube quite easily by holding the paint tube upright and tapping down, gently, on the tube.  Just ladle with your little palette knife and tap after each addition.  Back in it goes.  NOW you can't ladle in paint that has started to set up because it won't change once it gets in there.  But I've done that before and not had too much of a problem.  If that happens it will just squirt out at the beginning the next time you use it.

2. Grumbacher Bristlette paint brushes - You may have to order them if your art supply store doesn't carry them.  I just plain old like them for both acrylics and oils.  But you've got to take good care of them, folks.  Wash them out each time and try hard to get deep down into the bristle.  I just use mild dish soap and water-then work and work out the paint.  Then I dip them into the next lovely lovely supply and LEAVE that on the brush until next time as it will condition the bristles and they'll be soft.  It's water soluble and will wash off.

3. Weber Turpenoid Natural.  Love it love it.  It is safe to inhale and works great for use with oils instead of turpentine or other nasty nasty stuff.  You can ALMOST drink it-it's so safe.  I hope they still have this but I'm sure they do.  I bought several bottles probably about 5 or 6 years ago and I'm just on the second now.  I get one of those glass jars that has the wire coil at the bottom and put the Turpenoid up to the top of the coil.  When using oils I first wipe off most of the paint from the brush.  Then I clean it in the jar by scraping, gently, against the coil.  Then I wash them with the soap and water.

4.  Winsor & Newton Liquin.  Yea, it's great.  I use it for a medium with my oils and final finish (even with acrylics).  Now, I talked to the Winsor & Newton chemist and he said I shouldn't use it for the finish but I've been doing it for years and it's great.  I love it because you can paint on top of it if you choose to (remember obsessive painter-me).  He recommended I use this other final finish and I'm not kidding I was not happy about it because, of course, I wanted to change a few things.  I COULD NOT get any of that finish off.  It's like iron.  I tried sanding, chemicals, etc.  I recommend that after several years when you are certain that you're done and won't be touching anything up-then use the iron clad finish made by Winsor & Newton (name?).  But you won't believe how it makes the acrylic painting sings and comes alive the minute you put the Liquin on top of it.  Wow, oh, Wow.

5.  Whew.  Almost forgot.  I order often from Dick Blick as they usually have everything I want and have never ever had bad luck with them.  Plus once you get on their mailing list you get a whopper of a catalog every year.  I don't think they carry the Bristlette brushes, though.  Are you listening Dick Blick?  Please get them.

That's it but I'm sure I'll think of more on another day. 

Any questions?  Please ask. I'd love to hear from you.  Remember my caveat-I don't claim to know it all and can be corrected.

Art History Moment:  Well, I just can't resist talking about my favorite painter, Maxfield Parrish.  In fact I think I'll spend a little more time on him because he's a fascinating art character (and I MEAN character) and one of the all time best illustrators.

Maxfield Parrish is the guy that painted all those great calendar art paintings with girls sitting on rocks.  You may have seen one of his works on an album cover of the 1960's-or someone inspired by him.  "It's A Beautiful Day", the rock group, had an album that could be his or an M. P. inspired artist.  He is the artist for the all time top selling poster.  We'll talk about it tomorrow.  I think I'm going to have to direct you to Google him because I'm afraid of copyright infringement as he's from the previous century and still has living heirs.


  1. Hi,thanks for visiting our blog:)Saw your blog your paintings are amazing!

  2. Thanks so much! You are so nice.