My Favorite Artist Things
LARGE FLAT BRUSHES
Broad brush strokes, fast coverage and expressive lines are all produced with these fun brushes. You can get them at art stores but you'll find less expensive versions on Amazon. These beauties can be quite expensive (upwards of $100) in stores but online you should be able to find them for a fraction of the cost. They are not as long lasting or soft, but for me, as an expressive painter, I don't need precision! Click the heart to see an example or to purchase 8" from Amazon.
VINTAGE FLEA MARKET CONTAINERS
I keep my eyes open for unique containers that will hold my art supplies. Wooden canisters, metal bins, old display shelves and small buckets make great storage containers for brushes, palette knives, business cards, markers, small paint tubes, and all the little bobbles you collect for future projects. The more splatter and drips that collect on them, the better they look! Round Top Antique Show is particularly great for the finds! Click the heart to see where I go to find all my best old stuff!
FLORAL DESIGN BOOKS
I find my inspiration in many ways, but one of my favorites is Floral design and arrangement books. I look for photos of real flowers, bouquets, arrangements, gardens and sometimes fabric patterns and room design. I study the patterns, color and textures to learn from nature and other designers what makes a good design truly pop. These books can be found at home decorating stores, antique shows and at any bookstore. I highly recommend Rachel Ashwell's My Floral Affair. Click the heart for Amazon Link.
It may be obvious to say painting with a lot of natural light is the best way to create beautiful work... but it's the truth. An open, airy space with big windows is essential for an artist. (Northern light is the best but not always possible.) Light stimulates creative flow, gives great perspective of the colors as they glide across the canvas and textures seem to be extra 3 dimensional! I also feel like the light gives me peace of mind and a feeling of serenity, even when I feel frustrated with my work. If I can't paint with good natural light, it feels restrictive. Click the heart to read more about Northern Light.
PERSONAL ART MAP
I love maps that show where people have been in the world. It always fascinates me because there's a story with every pin. One day it dawned on me that there is a story with every piece of art that I have shipped or dropped off to its new owner. A quick google search and Etsy gave me several stores that will make a custom map to showcase art. Several Etsy storefronts offer maps, the key is to find someone who will tweak it for an artist. Penny Bee Art did it for me. It's been fun to push the little gold pins somewhere new when I share my work with a new client! Click the heart to go to Penny Bee Art on Etsy.
LIQUITEX STRING GEL
Anyone that takes art workshops with me knows this is my "go to" product. It's not a varnish or a finishing product, it's actually a medium (meaning it is supposed to be mixed into the paint.) But I adore the way this gel finishes a painting with a bright glossy shine. It makes all the colors pop, and it protects the painting so well you need just a warm cloth with water to clean it. This is available on Amazon or at your local art store. It's not cheap (about $22-30 for a 16 oz. jar) but it's worth it to me. I just love this stuff! Click the heart to purchase from Amazon.
LIQUITEX FLOW AID ADDITIVE
I love a good drippy painting. Many times I'll use a water bottle to spray directly onto the painting and watch the colors run down the canvas. However, water and acrylic paint create a thin layer that isn't as vibrant and long lasting. So when I truly want the color to stay bright as it drips... I add this flow aid to the paint until it's thin enough to drip. It's also perfect to add to paint in a jar that is older and thicker than you'd like. Flow aid loosens up the paint and rejuvenates it to help give it a smoother texture like it was when you first bought it. It's an inexpensive medium available at any art store. Click the heart to purchase from Jerry's Artarama.
Jerry's is where it's at. If you're lucky enough to visit the store in person you'll find everything you need and then some. When I go, it has the same affect Target has on me... go for one thing leave with 27. Expect to spend your hard earned cash here, but understand that money in Jerry's does buy you happiness and lots of creative ambition. The online store, linked here, is just as fabulous and has even more products than the freestanding store. Jerry's has great floater frames, an endless supply of Golden paints (in the jars- my fav!) and any little thing you can imagine. It's great for bulk canvases too! Click the heart to visit the online store.