Artists' materials.

Posted by: AnneDalton

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Why would I write about materials?   Well, one (if not the best reason) is that far too many people get "hung up" on a particular paper, canvas, board, etc., and refrain from even trying out different materials.      O.k. I know that for me, 300gsm high grade paper (textured) is what I most enjoy using for my watercolours and my line and wash and ink drawings.   But that does not mean to say that I limit myself to their use.   Recently, I have painted on blotting paper, brown wrapping paper and on paper impregnated with bits of leaves and bark!   And indeed, as I know, heavy duty (wallpaper) lining paper, provides a first-class base for charcoal and crayon illustrations!

When it comes to working in oils and acrylics, I favour canvas and pre-painted board, but am not adverse to working on cardboard,  hardboard (though it must be wetted back and front and left to dry before applying the primer paint) and plywood.   

 We artists like to surround ourselves with boxes and tubes and pans of paint, but what about "el cheapo" ordinary white emulsion?   Purists (but I am certainly NOT to be counted amongst their numbers) will throw up their hands in horror, but I can candidly say, that this medium, used, as I did recently, on primed board, and with the relevant tints (acrylic) added as needed, even if I say it myself, the result is gorgeous and I shall feature it on Total Art Soul in the near future.  

Applying a variety of mediums in order to create that one-off, fabulous work, must always be kept under consideration too.    And in this context the use of materials such as powdered chalk, salt, sawdust, distilled masking fluid and vinegar, also gum arabic, can all play an important role in helping you create that masterpiece.

Finally, try to keep your palettes, materials and brushes clean.   Opening a box of muddied colours is not the best way to start a painting, nor will your work be enhanced when an unclean brush laden with last week's colours, is dumped onto a delicate watercolour!     Remember to re-cap your oil and acrylic and gouache paints too; they can dry out you know. 


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