Being able to paint is a precious gift, whether you are a professional artist or just a beginner painter whose hobby is painting. Painting is one of those hobbies that give you the opportunity to relax, enjoy, and learn as well. Moreover, there are many benefits for the brain and mental health. Painting is believed to improve the overall quality of life. It promotes stress relief, strengthens memory, expands creative growth, enhances motor-skills, nurtures emotional growth, etc.
Of course, it takes practice, experience, and observation to become a good painter. And not to mention – the right set of tools and supplies. Every painter, regardless of whether he is a professional or not, has to be equipped with art materials and supplies which all can be found in a well-stocked craft supply store. There are a few essential supplies and a lot of extra art stuff that isn’t necessary but can allow you to express yourself more freely. That being said, let’s take a closer look at the various art tools you can use.
Essential Art Supplies
There are different types, sizes and styles of painting surfaces. The most popular ones are canvas, paper and wood. The choice depends on the technique you want to use and your goals.
Canvas is the traditional option for painting. There are two reasons why artists love to paint on canvas, and those are the smooth receptivity of the brush and the longevity of the material itself. Canvas is the most enduring surface and if you want to create a permanent work of art and a very large painting, then it’s the obvious choice.
Paper is another fine painting surface. It’s mainly used for acrylics. There are papers designed specifically for acrylics, even so, you can use any type of paper, depending on your needs.
Hardwood panels have also been used for centuries, especially in the Middle Ages, primarily for oil and tempera paints. This surface is made from hardwoods like birch, oak, mahogany, and walnut.
Painting brushes can be described as magic sticks in the world of painting. If you visit a craft supply store, you will find many types of paint brushes to choose from. They can be of different bristles, shapes and sizes.
When it comes to acrylic paints, they are usually divided into ones that have artists’ quality and ones with students’ quality acrylic paints. The first ones come in a diverse range of colours, have a high concentration of finely ground pigment and boost high permanence ratings. The second ones are generally made for schools and children, therefore they are cheaper than the artists’ paints. They’re characterised with lower pigment levels and the possible inclusion of fillers which may weaken the colour strength. It’s often noticeable that artists’ colours are more vibrant and have a smoother consistency and this is what makes them easier to blend and layer.
For beginners, it’s fine to start off with students’ quality acrylic paints as they’re cheaper. However, once you start producing artwork that you would like to preserve or even sell, it’s good graduating to artists’ colours.
The palette is what you use to mix the paints in. You will always need a palette unless you squeeze, drip or splatter your paint directly from the tube onto the canvas. Just like the other art supplies, there are also quite a few types of palettes to choose from. They can be traditional wooden, disposable and standing palettes. For beginners, the disposable palettes are recommended, since they are economical and make cleaning up a breeze.
Extra Art Supplies
An easel is a wooden or metal stand which is used for holding the canvas, panel, or board. Even though it’s not necessary, it’s especially convenient to use when working with oil and acrylic paints. All in all, there are different types of easels, and each type has a slightly different purpose.
Painting Knives and Palette Knives
Painting knives allow you to produce unique textured effects. They can be found in different shapes and sizes. The tips of the knives can be used for detailed work, the flat part for broad strokes and the edge for lines.
Palette knives are designed for easier mixing of the paint and cleaning the palette. They can be stainless steel knives or plastic knives.
Gesso is a primer that prepares the surface for painting. It dries hard and makes the surface stiffer. Gesso is similar to white acrylic paint, only thinner.
Acrylic mediums are liquids or gels that you mix into the paint. Adding acrylic mediums to your paint can help you create different effects and finishes by making the paint thicker, thinner, matte, glossy, slow-drying, textured, etc.
A masking tape, or also known as artists’ tape, is used to mask off areas that shouldn’t be painted. It is made of thin and easy-to-tear paper. Using masking tape is a great way to prevent unwanted mistakes.