I thought I'd do a little show & tell of my current art supplies just for the hell of it. I'm always curious what other artists are using.
Next: Gouache in Permanent White. For highlights & shines.
Next: Permanent Rose that I bought for mixing proper Caucasian skin tones.
Finally: An old perfume bottle I've had since college. It was a lemon verbena scent—I love citrus-scented things. It's now used for misting paint, wetting the page, etc.
Left: My Winsor & Newton travel set (Cotman, not Professional) that I have never taken outside. I also don't think I've ever used the brush that came with it.
Colors in this set: lemon yellow hue, cadmium yellow hue, cadmium red pale hue, cadmium red hue, alizarin crimson hue, purple lake, ultramarine, cerulean blue hue, viridian hue, sap green, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, burn umber, & Chinese white. I'm not very happy with the burnt umber. I use it to make blacks, grays, & shadows (along with ultramarine). I've found that it has a gritty, chalky texture. I think I'll be swapping it for sepia or Vandyke brown. I may also get an intense phthalo blue or indigo to create better shadows. Someday I'll upgrade completely to higher quality paints...
As a side note about creating skintones, this blog entry by Ella Jackson has been incredibly helpful to me. There are three other posts & worth a quick gander.
Right: My mixing plates. They're two small panes of glass from some frame I bought at Goodwill in college & taped the back & edges with masking tape. They live under a thin piece of wood that's inside the cigar box almost like a false bottom. Secret spy shit.
Windsor & Newton illustration inks from my mother. Black, red, yellow, & blue. I've not used them very much, but I'd like to do some experimenting. I think I need some eyedroppers first, though, so I can be very methodical about my ink to water ratios.
Left to right: a toothbrush for spatter patterns, a big, cheap 1 1/2 brush for washes, two 3/4 wash, 10 chisel blender, 6 chisel blender, 1/2 angular, 3/8 angular, 8 round, 1 round, 1 script liner, 2 filbert.
My most used are the flat/blunts, 3/8 angular, & script liner. I almost never use the round brushes. The filbert is almost exclusively used for transferring paint from the pan to palette.
I've had these brushes for probably two or three years and I'm quite happy. They were very reasonable & have proved to be extremely durable. I'm not particularly nice to them. I think I've only thrown one away & I've used them in frisket, the Liquid Leaf, & pure acetone (for cleaning the Liquid Leaf off). The bristles are nice: very soft & even. I can get a quite crisp line with them. Of course, being synthetic, they don't hold liquid as well as a natural hair brush, but it hasn't bothered me much. I think I'd like to try working more wet into wet & should pick up a couple sables. I should also pick up a teeny little round, liner, &/or angle for details & edges. Probably should have something in between 10 bright & my 3/4 wash, too, to be honest.
My water vessel is an old pickle jar. I'm really missing the old jar I had, but I recycled it when we moved. I'm not totally happy with my current water situation, so I'm keeping an eye out for a tall, sturdy jar. I also have masking fluid & a razor blade for cleaning off my palettes.
My paper choices are limited to 9x12 blocks exclusively. I don't have the space for the extra supplies (or patience, perhaps) for taping down pages. The blocks I currently have are the Strathmore 400 Series block & the Arches hot press block. I love the Strathmore block. So much so that when I found it on sale I bought three. It's an inexpensive, accessible, all-around great workhorse block. The treehugger in me likes that it's partly made with recycled fiber. The only drawback I've found is that you can't work over the same area again & again too roughly or scrape with a razor blade without creating an obvious mar. I've only used the Arches block once for a small series of landscape-type paintings. It's my first hot press paper & I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I'd like to get the Arches cold press block. I've had people recommend it very highly (even to go so far as to ask me if I was crazy when I asked if it was any good). Sometimes the product is worth the hype & the higher price tag, sometimes it's not. Time will tell.
You know, it's funny, I never thought I'd be a painter. I couldn't stand acrylic & oil while I was in school & only really started experimenting with watercolor near the end of my schooling. I thought I'd be a pure graphite & maybe ink (in a pen or marker form only) artist with coloring of comics handled largely by someone else (I'm pretty terrible at digital coloring). But the physicality of painting is very rewarding, very meditative & I appreciate how quickly watercolor dries.