Updated: Dec 18, 2020
The one question I'm asked more than any other is, "What painting supplies do you recommend?"
The Answer: The ones you will use, hopefully every day.
Which painting supplies to use is a very personal decision and therefore different for everyone. Part of the joy of being an artist is trying new supplies and new styles which inevitably requires something special.
I paint frequently, not every day anymore, but most days. And mostly in acrylics, but I still love to paint in oils and watercolor and gouache and watercolor pens, and illustrator pens... anything with color.
Some days I pull out rubber bins full of paper and stamps and pens, and buttons and ribbon and notions to make a journal or a special card. Creativity has no limits, yet sometimes the pocketbook does.
Starting out as an artist I was particularly mindful of the expense, and honestly I found almost everything I needed at Home Depot. Large, 4 x 8 foot sheets of Masonite boards costing roughly $10 could be cut down into 54 8 x 10 boards. Even more if cutting down into 6 x 6 boards, the most popular size for daily paintings.
And there is no shame to painting on Masonite. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is filled with Salvador Dali paintings created on, you guessed it, MASONITE!!
Back in the early days I would peruse the "returned paint" shelf at Home Depot and look for light, neutral colors or even bright fun colors. You can buy a gallon of acrylic paint for $5 this way. Or purchase small jars of paint samples in any and every color for $5. I find the best deals on this kind of paint are purchased at Benjamin Moore stores. When purchasing large quantities of paint, you may want to go to Walmart and purchase semi-transparent condiment squeeze bottles in which to fill your watery house paint. It's much easier to use this way.
At Home Depot you may purchase a knock-down knife, paper towels, rubber gloves, paint, substrates, even small foam brushes that come in handy. The point is, if you feel like you have to create a masterpiece every time you step up to the easel, you may never step up to the easel. Purchase inexpensive supplies to begin with and practice, practice, practice.
Don't worry if a canvas or two end up in the trash. That is part of the process.
Daily Painter Lisa Daria Kennedy once said, "Every package of panels from Dick Blick has at least one that is cursed. And if you find yourself painting on that cursed panel, throw it away. "
Still, students want to have a tangible list they can take to the store and show a clerk to purchase just the right thing. So below is my list, but please keep in mind nothing is written in stone. It's more about what you like and want to accomplish with your supplies. More about that in later posts. For now, make a purchase or two and start painting. Produce! Even if no one besides yourself will ever see it.
Jump in! You have to start somewhere. And I'm always here to help you if you if the water is too deep or the trail is too rocky. You are safe. And you are already an artist. Embrace it.
At the end of the lists, you'll find links to Jerry's Artarama Teachers' Lists. This is for your convenience. It is NOT a sponsored post, but I truly love working with Amanda and all the staff at our local Jerry's in Nashville.
When I first reduced my colors to a limited palette they consisted of primary red, primary yellow, primary blue, black and white.
Later I added a convenience color of burnt sienna.
Earlier this year I decided to add Phthalo turquoise to the palette. So these seven colors show up time and time again.
Only recently did I learn that I can't really mix a beautiful hot pink, orange or purple with this combination, only because I can't fine true primary colors, no matter how many tubes I purchase and regardless of the name on the tubes. So although they don't always appear on my palette, very close by I'll always keep cad orange medium, Dioxizine purple and either rose madder deep or magenta .
That's probably more information than you want to know, but at least I've thoroughly exhausted the subject and now it's up to you to decide for yourself. What colors make up YOUR palette?
(Again, this is not a sponsored post and not affiliate marketing for Liquitex or Jerry's Artarama, I do receive a few pennies per sale of items purchased through the Amazon Affiliate links.)