I realize we're still in March, but this month was truly a blur for me. Instead of moving slowly and steadily, like in January & February, it came and has almost gone before I knew it. Although each week went suspiciously quickly, I found time to work on some personal projects (yippee!) that I'm not quite ready to share yet (maybe next month). As you can see on your calendar, I'm coming to you while we're still in March, but that is for good reason. I'm heading on a trip to Patagonia for 2 weeks so I won't be able to send this out at the beginning of the month per usual!! I'm incredibly excited along with a slight dose of trepidation - going to an area of the world I've never been to before. I will share all about it when I return. But in the meantime, please accept an early "Happy April" from me, and let's dig into the subject of this month's newsletter: my favorite art supplies!
I love art supplies, quite honestly I could swim in them! Walking into an art store, whether a local joint like Texas Art Supply here in Houston, or a big chain like Michaels, or an online store like Blick Art Supplies, gives me so much excitement and possibility. I want all the things, and all the tools, just because.
One of the many aisles at Texas Art Supply is pictured above. Look at all of those brushes!
If I had my choice, I would solely go to Texas Art Supply, because as you can see in the photo above, they truly have everything! Their price points are nice if you don't want to spend a ton of money, but sometimes I will find myself at Michaels because it is closer to my house if I'm feeling extra lazy (which is often). I've gone to both places often enough, that I know which store has what and which is cheaper for which product. So I can plan it out ahead of time if a trip to my favorite local art store is needed (It's not that far away, but the traffic is bonkers in Houston, so legit I have a small window when I am willing to go there).
In terms of art supplies, I'm going to break it down for you by product type. Let's do it!!!
Favorite Art Paper:
Arches 140 lb Hot Press Watercolor Paper - Extra White
I prefer painting on paper, rather than canvas, allowing me to be a little less precious and a little more playful with my work. I also tend to scan in, and enhance in photoshop, my paintings, so the paper is easier for me to scan. The Arches brand - is by far my favorite and is quite buttery. With inflation and supply chain issues they have increased in price quite a bit for their 20"x30" sheets, but they are worth it in my opinion. 140lb refers to the weight/thickness of the paper (I like this middle-ground size). And Hot Press refers to the texture (Hot being smooth, Cold being textured). For scanning in work and potentially deleting the background the hot press is an easier thing to manipulate in photoshop for me.
Favorite Paint Brand
Holbein Watercolor and Gouache
Seriously cannot rave about this brand enough. I was turned onto them by an artist I follow, Rebecca Green, and I haven't looked back since. I use both their watercolors and acrylic gouache paints. And the pigments are just so beautiful I could melt, cue the fainting couch!
Favorite White Ink
Dr. Ph Martin's (Bleed Proof White)
I cannot rave about this brand enough. If I had the choice for any ink, I would pick this brand. But the Bleed Proof White in general is my favorite for post-painting additions. It goes on super opaque over dark colors and is great for touch-ups as well.
Favorite Painter's Tape
Hands down! No questions about it. The delicate surface is perfect for watercolor paper, and rarely ever bleeds through - and when it does my Dr. Ph Martin's Bleed Proof White will come to save the day!
Favorite Paint Brush Brand
This is a tricky one, because I am a Messy Marvin, and am rarely methodical when I paint. I just randomly pick a color and see if it works. I know a lot of artists that test things out a ton on thumbnails and scrap paper and multiple iterations of the same painting, and I envy that, but I just don't have the patience for it. I want to start and I want to start NOW! I am haphazard and did I mention messy? You may be wondering what this has to do with Paint Brushes. Well, all of the aforementioned attributes of my painting style mean I am not kind to my brushes. I try to be, every time I hold a new brush in my hands, but usually, I'll forget that it's soaking in water, and a whole day (or week) will pass by and the brush is quite janky now. So, I can't spend a ton of money on brushes, I am not nice to them. Winsor & Newton brushes aren't outrageous in cost (under the Cotman Line), but listen, friends, I will find myself spending even less if I'm on a particularly bad streak of ruining brushes. Sometimes you need to adapt to the art supplies, and other times you need to accept what you can't change and adapt the supplies to you.
Favorite Colored Pencils:
I draw over the top of my paintings pretty frequently now. Sometimes for texture, and other times just because I can...These work really nicely over gouache and watercolor compared to other brands that don't show up as well.
Favorite Paint Marker Brands:
Chalk Paint Marker: Bistro Chalk Marker
Both of these brands have amazing opacity and go on smoothly. I'll use other brands if I'm in a bind, but these are the ones I prefer the most.
Favorite Honorary Mention: Watercolor Pastels
Caran d'Ache - Water Soluble Wax Pastel
I only have a few of these, but I'm slowly collecting more. I'm finding them to be such a fun fusion of a pastel (kind of like a crayon) and watercolors.
Favorite Tool I Can't Live Without:
A lightboard - seriously! Changed Everything! They used to be huge, clunky, and expensive, so I used my window instead to trace my sketches. But now, they are sleek and affordable. I found mine on amazon, and it is sooooo worth it. The size I got (A2) looks to be unavailable at the moment, but the A2 size is here.
Coloring Page Freebie
I made a little coloring page download of the "Art Supply" Image for this month. Download it here, print, and color it with your own favorite art supplies.
That is all from me for this month. My shop will be closed for the next two weeks and I'll talk with everyone soon. Enjoy your April my Lovelies and I will talk to you soon, Rachel