supplies dilemma

In this article I will give you couple of suggestions on where to buy your first supplies and why…

By now you read about mediums, viewed a couple of YouTube videos, and maybe even subscribed for free lessons from your favorite artist or artists. The list can go on forever. You have done homework and are ready to rock! From now on I will be advising you on acrylics only, as it is the only medium I currently work with. I’ve been working with acrylics for a few years, but it’s still unfolding in front of me in the most surprising ways. I know I am stuck with it for a very long time. 🙂

Back to the supplies dilemma; Art supplies are expensive. Unfortunately this is a dear truth. This fact became a reason for many not to pursue their well hidden and precious art dream. Nobody wants to be a “starving” artist. I completely understand, but I’ll tell you what: “You don’t have to buy expensive and the best acrylics there are…at least for now”. Since you have a lot of practice and exploring to do in terms of learning colour gamma, their behaviour, finding your style, practicing different kinds of working materials as brushes, palette knifes, and whatever else it may be. You can do all in ways that are not as costly.

way #1. Go to your near-by “Buck or Two” store, most of them will have acrylics, canvases, and brushes. Although, I strongly recommend you get better brushes in more specialized store. Good quality brush is 70% of your painting success, in my opinion. Acrylics will not be as thick, but they will do the job for now. Moreover, colour spectrum of acrylics available in those stores is quite wide. Let’s talk about canvas. Choose chip canvas wisely. Look at the frame which should be straight, check if canvas is dented or ripped. Get medium sized and larger. Avoid very small sizes, it will hold back your potential as beginner artist explorer.

way #2. Check all the art craft supplies stores in your area to compare prices. Sign up for weekly/ monthly electronic newsletter for promotions. Go to the store and get a set of brushes for acrylics, once you start working you will see the difference in quality and also will collect more brushes individually upon your art needs. Acrylics – get a level 1 or 2 student artist acrylics. This paint will jump sky high in terms of quality from the once that you saw in the “dollar store”. They will be thick as a paste. I suggest you get prime colours: prime red, yellow, and blue; get titanium white and black.  Also get canvas primer. Getting only prime colours plus some extra will allow you to learn more about the colour spectrum as you will be mixing and creating them all.  Observe if canvas is on sale, get couple of desired size. Most of canvas sold at these stores is a cotton canvas. Large grate would be better quality. When choosing canvas pay attention to its frame as it has to be straight. Canvas must be at least double primed. It has to be well stretched.

way #3. Combination of way #1 way #2. I started with getting student artist quality prime colours and good set of brushes, however, piled up on canvas from Dollar Store.  This way my mistakes were more forgiving.

It is all up to you, whatever way you will choose it will bring you to the next level of artistic growth – creation. Go for it and, most importantly, Have Fun!

canvas scare….

One of many valuable lessons that I learnt from my studio teacher was not to over-think the process.  I experienced a big canvas scare at the beginning. I was armed with paint and brushes but could not start painting. I spent lots of time staring at what was in front of me and was very indecisive on what colour to use and what to paint in general. The feeling was almost paralyzing.

My advice to you is to paint nothing. Do not concentrate on possible virtual images that you are trying to find within. There are so many, and they will all come along at their own pace. For now they are just putting you in a state of confusion. Redirect your attention to colour. Get your prime colours and start mixing and matching. You will start learning how to create different colours and shades with only these three colours. It will give you a great deal of understanding on how the colour works. To help you with this divine process, the one tool you absolutely must get is the colour wheel, which is available in every art and craft store and those stores that have art and craft department. A colour wheel is basically a map of relationships between primary (yellow, red, blue), secondary (orange, purple, green), and complementary (opposites: ex. red and green, blue and orange) colours.  Use this illustration to practice colour: if you want to create a tint of a colour add white, to create a shade add black. Follow the paint, play, and experiment with it then observe the results.

With all that said, what you have to remember in this fun and exploring process is that acrylics are a quick drying kind of paint. You can prolong the working paint time by wetting your canvas with water using a spray bottle. Just sprinkle a little bit on a canvas, moist will keep paint from drying.  I use this trick all the time.

So get the paint and put that first colourful mark on a snow white untouched canvas, see where it takes you, possibilities are endless. Have fun!

lets talk about acrylics…


Acrylic paint is water based and fast drying. When beginning to work with acrylics, you should try a few different kinds, to be most precise – different quality and consistency acrylics. Why? I really do think that this practice will help you to understand the flow of each acrylic type, its performance, capability, purpose, and contribution to your art piece in general.

For a start, I will introduce you to the basic category of acrylic paint: craft acrylic, student acrylic, artist acrylic, and professional acrylic. The main difference between all four would be the proportion variety between the amount of water, pigment, and filler in each of these kinds of acrylics.

The craft acrylics are the most affordable price wise. Craft acrylics have the most amount of water, a small amount of pigment and filler. This type of acrylic is colour flat, runny, and thin. By colour flat I mean lack of brightness; craft acrylics are quite dull.  However, they have good colour range availability. But don’t be fooled, craft acrylics are a lot of fun to work with and can majorly contribute to your art piece. I use black craft acrylic when painting something in detail such as eyes, small tree branches, etc… This way I don’t have to water down my full bodied artist quality paint. Craft acrylics could be extremely useful to practice your pour painting technique which I will introduce in a future article. Craft acrylics have potential and could be a great addition to your acrylic paint collection.

Student acrylics are still in a very good price range. They have higher amount of pigment and more filler. The colour range offered in student acrylics is quite wide. This acrylic is medium bodied making it easy to work with. They have a good capability and are suitable for most of jobs. It’s a good type of acrylic to start your learning process with.

Artist acrylics and professional acrylics are not very far apart. Both have high amount of pigment, brilliant colour range; both are very powerful, flexible, and easy to work with. The difference between two is still price, quality, and body weight. Artist acrylics are more paste alike, have thick consistency, where professional acrylics are more smooth and flawless. Professional acrylics have higher amount and quality pigment which directly affects colour maintenance after a painting is dry. Please remember, acrylics darken when drying by at a tone or two, depending on a colour range and quality.

As you can see acrylics offer a wide range of capability. By trying every kind you will learn their potential and will be able to decide how you should implement them into your work process. Keep your mind open.