You have selected your paints, and now it is time to fill up your paint box with the rest of the equipment you need to begin painting.
What you need and what you think you want are two different things.
The bill can quickly add up, so starting slowly will keep you within your budget and prevent unnecessary purchases.
Browsing through the shelves of a local art supply store, or cruising through the pages of a website can be overwhelming.
You may find yourself drooling just a little at all the wondrous tools and accessories.
Every new item beckons with promises of improved skills and increased productivity. Beware the call of the siren.
Artists tend to become addicted to collecting paintbrushes. There is always another style, size or design that surely will boost creativity and proficiency, just waiting for the unwary artist.
A good paintbrush is an investment. A well-made brush is a joy to use and a durable companion when treated properly. Inexpensive, cheaply made brushes can certainly be used, and there are tasks for which you will want a few brushes that can be considered disposable.
However, a good brush maintains its shape, holds more paint and will perform more readily than an inexpensive substitute. A poorly made brush may be made with inferior bristles, which may not be suited for the artist’s medium. The bristles tend to fall out and not hold the proper shape while in use. You don’t want hair becoming a permanent feature of your painting. If the student struggles to use his brush, he is wasting time, and his technique may suffer from the lack of a suitable tool.
Kolinsky sable brushes are not necessary, but well-made brushes suited for a particular medium make your painting life much easier. It is not necessary to own every style and size of brush. Think about what size paintings you will be doing. Generally, a student starts with relatively small supports. You do not need a three-inch brush for a 16 by 20 inch painting.
You need a small brush for detail work, a large brush to lay in big background areas and a medium size for all the work in between. Generally, it is best to use the largest size brush possible, as it makes the work go more quickly.
Always keep your brushes scrupulously clean. This is so important with acrylic painting, since dried acrylic is impossible to remove. Maintaining your brushes is a habit that is a real money-saving tip, which can help an artist significantly.
Begin your painting career with a few brushes in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can always add to your collection as you learn which shapes work best for you in different situations.
Just about any flat, non-porous surface can be used as a palette. Shop the thrift stores or rummage around the kitchen to keep your painting supply budget on track.
Styrofoam meat trays or picnic plates are great disposable palettes. These are inexpensive or free and can be used for some time. However, if you need to seal your palette to preserve your paint between painting sessions, plastic wrap does not cling to this surface.
An old china plate or platter is another excellent palette choice seals easily with plastic wrap. A cookie sheet or enamel butcher’s tray is also a good choice for someone who wants a large surface on which to mix paints.
Now you have the basics for painting. You have paint, brushes and something on which to paint. However, there are lots of tools and accessories to consider, either to make your job easier or more efficient. Next time we will consider some options in storage for your accessories, paints and brushes.