Artist Materials: What I Paint With

People often ask me what I use to paint with. All artists that I know buy way too much in the way of art supplies. I know that I do. Somehow thinking that it's that next tube of paint or that new brush that will be just what I need. After many years of trying so many things. I’ve learned the following things about painting supplies. The most important thing is good paper. Good paper beats good paint and a good brush by a mile.

Watercolor Paper. I generally now paint on Arches 140 pound cold press watercolor paper, sometimes a use a rough surfaced paper for a effect, but not so much anymore. I love painting my big wet washes on 300 pound paper sometimes so the paper won’t buckle from all the water in it. The only problem is sometimes they get so wet it takes them days to dry thoroughly. Brushes. I use an assortment of brushes, if I had to pick one I’d say I use Cheap Joe's Dreamcatcher series of brushes, but the fact is that I have dozens and dozens of brushes that I use. I am particularly fond of an old 2 inch hake brush for my washes. It has no brand name on it at all. I don’t know what I’ll do if it ever falls apart. Just be sure to use brushes that are designed for watercolors and to take as good as care of them as you can. If you do they will last a lot longer. Paints. I use a variety of paints. I am more partial to granular watercolors instead of staining pigments. I recommend using professional grade pigments unless you are really, really brand new. Even then I think you may be happier with the results of using better grade paints. For a long time I would only would paint with Winsor Newton pigments, then I switched to Daniel Smith Watercolors. Both of those are fine paints, you can’t go wrong with them. For the last year or so I have been using Holbein Watercolor paints, and I am very happy with them. My current pallet isn’t restricted to any one brand but has a few paints from several different companies.

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