Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Favorite Painting Tools

My Favorite Tools for Making Painting Easier

Glass Palette
I have a great resource at the town dump--The Swap Shop. I've found many treasures over the years there, and a piece of good glass is no exception. By far, I find glass to be the best surface to mix my paints on.  I use it in my studio and in my plein air palette.  It cleans up so easily. I often neglect cleaning it off at the end of a painting session, but a razor blade will scrape it clean.  If I have to, I'll use a non-toxic furniture stripper on it to get it back to clean.  I also spraypaint the backside of the glass with white or gray paint to have a neutral base to lay my paints on to as well.

Chip Brushes
Chip brushes can be picked up at your local hardware or craft store. Usually I spent less than a dollar on them and they come in a variety of sizes. I love these brushes! They're great for blocking in a large or small painting, keeping you loose, and for interesting textures and edges.

Murphy Oil Soap
Stapleton Kearns turned me on to Murphy's Soap as a brush cleaner years ago and I haven't used anything else since. Soak your brushes overnight to get them back to soft and supple. In the field, I often bring a small amount of waterless hand cleaner, such as GO-JO to clean my brushes with. It doubles as a hand cleaner too! In the studio,  I will often leave my brushes in a jar of Felippo Bario Pure Virgin Olive Oil overnight (because I'm Italian), but to get them as good as new--Murphy's Soap is the best. 

Viva Paper Towels
If you're going to use paper towels, then these are it. But I don't anymore. I just use rags for the pure environmental consideration. Again, the town Swap Shop provides an endless source of rags such as napkins and dishtowels. They last many, many painting sessions.

Hand Mirror
It never ceases to amaze me how different my work looks in the mirror. I don't always see the mistakes or weak areas until I see it in reverse. In the studio, I keep the mirror literally on the opposite side of the room from the easel. In the field I keep it next to my palette so I remember to use it. (I found both of my mirrors at the Swap Shop) Try it!

Brush Washer Pot
I bring this pot into the field in my backpack and then when I'm in the studio, it lives next to the easel. It's a small amount of Turpentine that does a great job of keeping my brushes--and therefore my colors--clean. The lid snaps on tight so when not in use, it's odor and leak free. (Yep, I found mine at the Swap Shop)

How about Yours?
Got a favorite studio tool or plein air tool? I'd love to hear about it!


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