Sunday, 14 March 2010

Art supplies for the part time painter (EMG Zine November)

solneman2 on stock exchange
Don't have time to go to the art shop? What can you get from your every day supermarket/ grocery store, newsagency or shops that you regularly visit that you can use as tools? Many of you are probably already using these or have heard of the techniques described, but I thought I'd collect a 'shopping list' of supplies!

Of course you are not going to find artist quality paints, or sable paint brushes, but there are plenty of things that you can add to your artist toolbox that are cheap, available from general shops, and can extend out your toolset or allow you to experiment, particularly if you don't have time (or money) to visit the art shop.

Cotton tips/ cotton buds/ tissues/ cotton balls:
-    Great for smudging pencil work,
-    lift out wet paint,
-    applying small amounts of paint,
-    apply paint with crumpled tissues or cotton balls to create interesting textures,
-    crumple tissues and place over watercolour paper. Paint through the tissues with ink or watercolour paint to create interesting textures.

Baking paper:
-    Place a damp paper towel beneath some baking paper in a tray or a dish, and you have an instant wet palette for acrylic paints. This stops the paint from drying out.
-    use it as tracing paper or for working out alternate designs for a sketch
-    use it as a stencil or for blocking out designs when applying paint

Salt (table or rock salt):
-    Sprinkle salt into wet watercolour paint and allow to dry. Dust off the salt and this creates
-    Also try wet pieces of rock salt into wet paint

Gladwrap/ cling wrap/ plastic wrap:
-    Use it to cover up paint palettes and save paint
-    Use it to create interesting textures by pressing a crumpled pieces into wet paint
-    Cover a plate with gladwrap and use as a paint palette

Aluminium foil:
-    Place over a dinner plate and use as a paint palette
-    Use to sharpen old scissors by cutting through 5-7 sheets
-    Wrap a large piece of cardboard in foil and use as a light reflector when taking photographs of still life or portraits.
-    Use for mono-prints. Paint a design on the foil and then place a piece of paper over the foil. Gently rub on the back of the foil to transfer the design. Peel back the foil from the paper.

Dishwashing Liquid/ Shampoo:
-    Use to clean paint brushes as a cheap alternative to brush cleaning solutions.

-    Use as a fixative for charcoal, pastel or pencil sketches. Of course the proper art fixative is recommended for really important pieces as it’s archival and specifically made for this purpose.

Tea or coffee
-    Tea and coffee can be used to paint with. Or course you may just want to drink them, but the variety of teas (including fruit and herbal teas) can give you a wide colour palette. All you need to do is brew up your tea, the stronger the better, and then start painting like you would with watercolours. Experiment with layers, intensity of brewing
-    Stain paper to do ink sketches, pencil drawings or watercolour paintings on. Try different methods such as ironing tea soaked paper to dry it, allowing the tea to pool in places, dropping coffee granules onto damp paper

Rubbing Alcohol
-    Use it for texturing by sprinkling or dropping into wet paint (particularly effective with watercolours). It effectively displaces paint pigments and leaving a speckled result.
-    Use it to lift paint layers when using glazing techniques with acrylics
-    Can be used for blending coloured pencils (I've heard of it being used with Prismacolors primarily, but no reason you couldn't try with other brands). You could also try watercolour pencils.

-    Use your basic emergency candles for wax resist when working with watercolour techniques

If you want to play around with natural paints there are a number of things in the kitchen you can try (browse around for recipes online).
-    Vegetable dyes
-    Milk paint
-    Potato paints
-    Egg tempera

You can also pick up basics such as pencils, pens, sketch blocks, kneadable erasers from office supply stores and news agencies.