I’ve always had issues with acrylics drying too quickly on the palette before I’ve used them. I used to throw quite a lot of dried up paint away. Not any more! I use ceramic white tiles to mix my paint on, and cover my mixed colours with transparent plastic lids (actually from some steel spice jars). These prevent air-drying, and the paint lasts for hours or even days under the lids. I can then blend colours easily from all the different mixes I build up. When the paint on the tile dries, I use a DIY metal wallpaper scraper to remove it, back to a clean white tile again. Keeping paint under the lids means I can keep going back to various colour mixes, work in new colours and keep important mixes going for a while. The photos show a sunrise that has been blended on the canvas from different colour mixes kept wet under the lids.
Tracedown paper can be used to transfer designs onto all sorts of surfaces – I use it to transfer designs onto driftwood then use a pyrography pen to burn it in. It comes in A4 and A3 sheets and can be reused over and over again.
(local artshop sell Royal and Langnickel Graphite paper sheets not the trace down brand)
Blue tack instead of kneadable eraser works out a lot cheaper.
make a light as air mobile by hanging small polystyrene balls from very fine thread – paint them with glue then dust gold sparkles on them and when dry add drops of nail polish.
The cotton bud
Not just for cleaning ears. It is the most useful tool for many art
purposes. It can blend coloured pencils, or graphite pencils, or
collect excess pencil or charcoal dust so that there will be less
smudging. It can remove excess oil paint or dipped in turpentine remove
paint mistakes, or it can be used as a paint brush for dotting both
acrylic and oil paint, or almost any medium. It can absorb excess
They are also cheap and easy to find.
HOW TO GET THINGS STRAIGHT WHEN YOU WANT TO
As I find it difficult to get a straight line when I try to paint such things as the edge of a building I’ve developed this simple combination of techniques. I find it easier to control a pencil than a paint brush to get good eye sweet lines in watercolour paintings so if I want a straight neat line I first use a watercolour pencil to mark in a good light edge. Then, I paint almost up to the line and use my wet paintbrush to lightly blend the two mediums. This tip works really well with uniform or variegated images. For painting things like a stone wall try using different shades of watercolour pencils to make marks to paint up to.
Jam Jar Lid Palette
Need a small palette with a flat bottom?
You can use the lid from a jam jar – or any other similar lid.
It holds enough paint for a small wash, and is especially useful when working with a flat brush.
I prefer to use pale lids, as they show the paint colour well.
They are easy to carry, and when they get stained, you can easily replace them!
Catch the Overspill from Over-Filled Tubes of Paint!
When you open a tube of watercolour paint, have a bottle top ready to catch the overspill.
I use milk bottle tops, well rinsed before hand!
You can write the colour on the back with a waterproof pen.
When the paint is dry, turn the top upside down, and it is protected from dust.