Watercolor and ink brushes require special care. Unlike the paintbrushes that are made for oils or acrylics, which are stiff and sturdy, watercolor and ink brushes have soft and delicate bristles that can't take much abuse. Mistreated watercolor or ink brushes will lose their shape and will not hold pigment as well as before. The two key aspects of caring for these brushes include careful cleaning and mindful storage. When you are using a watercolor or ink brush, always rinse the tip immediately in a cup of water rather than allowing pigment to dry in the brush--especially ink, which will ruin the brush immediately if it dries. Don't allow the brush to rest tip-down in the water cup for any length of time; instead, rinse it vigorously and then place it tip-upward in a separate cup. As soon as you can, use a mild soap and cool running water to clean the bristles. Be gentle when cleaning the bristles, which are easily misshapen. Allow the bristles to air dry by placing the brush in an empty coffee can with the tip facing upward. This is also the best way to store watercolor or ink brushes long-term.
An alternative to purchasing an expensive spray booth is to make your own. Make a list of items that you need. You can use a furnace blower or a large fan. If it's about three feet across and has a belt, it can move a lot of air. You can hang it outside a shop window which puts the motor outside of the fumes. You could find these items at a junkyard or lumber yard. You mount the fan so that it blows into the shop through a filter and creates a pressurized paint booth. This will help keep things cleaner as the air is removed out of the area. This alternative works well. The dust is kept to a minimum and the fumes are not as strong. The area is kept cleaner and the booth is also better.
As romantic as an old-style, wooden artist pallet may seem, it is not practical for serious acrylic artists. A good pallet for acrylic paints needs to do three very practical things: give you space to work, preserve your custom paint mixtures until your project is finished, and keep your paints moist and workable.
The best pallet for all three of these jobs is a large, covered pallet with a sponge, an acrylic-paper liner and a tight-fitting lid. The large size gives you plenty of space to mix colors. The sponge and lid keep your paints wet, allowing you to work on a project for weeks without fear of your paints drying up. The acrylic paper gives you a stable work surface that allows the paint to draw moisture from the sponge without becoming overly soggy.
Every paintbrush you purchase will have a number associated with it. Every number on every paintbrush stands for something. The numbers on the brush usually are found in mm or inches and usually represent the width of the paintbrush's head. An artist's brush usually is represented by numbered sizes 000 to 20 as the most common artist brush size. A very fine brush would be the size of 20/0 but brushes this fine are not commonly used.
Every artist should keep a fine writing instrument stocked in their art supplies. You can use a fine writing instrument to put your signature on your work of art or you can even use it as an accent on your drawing or painting. You may also choose to use your fine writing instrument to write something special to someone on the back of a piece of art that you have created. Your fine writing instrument choice is entirely up to you, but many artists choose a high quality pen that may have a more expensive price tag when compared with normal pens.
Paint sticks are a pretty fun and funky way to paint with oil paints. Paint sticks are actually just oil paint in stick form, kind of like a crayon made with oil paint. Paint sticks offer a different way to work with oil paint. Rather than using a brush, you hold the paint stick in your hand to create different lines or textures than you could with a brush. Oil paint sticks also have a slow drying time just like oil paint in a tube, so you can take your time creating a masterpiece!
|Sheri Ann Richerson|