Recently, I've been getting a lot more interaction on Instagram - I love it! It makes me feel like I'm building a warm, inviting, encouraging community, which is exactly what I wanted Instagram to be for my art all along. With the wonderful comments I've been receiving, I've also got people asking for what kind of art supplies and tools I'm using. Since I haven't updated that info in a while, I decided I would here:
I've said it before, and I will shout it from the mountaintops - I LOVE AQUARELLE ARCHES WATERCOLOR BLOCKS! As I first starting work with water media, it was incredibly frustrating to use paper that would curl up or create bumps as the painting dried. I would have to buy incredibly heavy (expensive) paper in order to avoid this common pitfall.
Fortunately, I found Arches. Unfortunately, it was also expensive.
Que Jerry's Artarama!
Jerry's is my favorite website for art supplies. They're based in North Carolina (my home state, and not that far away) so the shipping is reasonable and incredibly quick!
Everything I've purchased there has a special discounted price, with more savings than you could find anywhere else. Believe me, I've looked!
I came upon the brand of paint I use out of what was available to me at the time. I was living in South Korea when I first started painting in watercolor, and the art store across the street carried only one brand: Shinhan. These happen to be professional grade paints, which is awesome. The opposite quality, 'student grade,' watercolor paints, contain more fillers and less pigment, ultimately making for a gross looking piece of art.
Since moving back to the States, I've had more choices for paint brands, but although I've tried to branch out, I always find myself coming back to Shinhan. These paints are creamy, look beautiful watery or opaque, and are bold and bright! Exactly how I like to paint. Shinhan is tough to find in art stores, but Ebay sells watercolor sets, as well as individual tubes. I keep a well stocked palette and have some leftover tubes to replenish, so when I need more, I purchase by the tube.
I think I'll continue with Shinhan watercolors since I like a uniformity in my work. I also like the fact that they were created to mimic ancient Korean/Chinese/Japanese rice paper ink paintings. Makes me feel extra cool and cultured using them ;-)
Again, I still use what I had available to me when I lived in Korea. I have a smattering of random brushes, but my favorite these days is a 00 Series 80R-S BABARA made in Japan. It's got a lovely feel, and perfect for details, while still allowing me to fill a delicate space completely with color.
I didn't realize that a set of brushes happens to be super expensive on Ebay, since I bought my brushes individually in Korea. When I need to buy new brushes, I think I'll be doing some good sleuthing to sniff out the best deals. I'll keep you updated on that.
Random other tools
I use this brown tape for holding down larger free pieces of watercolor paper that don't come glued in a block. There's a bunch of half-filled mason jars of paint water sitting around my house, and I keep a long metal ruler nearby for taking measurements.
Since I've been showing my art more, I've had to find a way to frame things so that it's acceptable for hanging, viewing, and buying.
I'm just starting this art business, so I don't have the moolah to go spending $100+ on a custom framing job for each piece. I DIY the best I can...
For frames, I purchase smaller sizes from Ebay, with the retailer Craig Frames. I bought several packs recently for my Cafe Nola show. I love crisp, white frames to show off my colorful work, and these frames come in a plethora of sizes and glass (no plexiglass or plastic, please!)
There's a Joann fabrics near my house where I find my little picture hanging tools, wire and eye screws.
For larger frames, I never want to risk the glass breaking in shipping, so I usually head over to Michael's and choose from their products. I got a great coupon in the mail that gives 30% off one regular priced item, 20% off entire purchase, and 50% another regular priced item - and I can keep using one per day until they expire! With my show coming up in May, I need to grab all the large frames I can at a small price. Michael's you'll be seeing a lot of me in the next couple of weeks!
What are YOUR favorite art supplies? Any recommendations I should try?
*images were found on JerrysArtarama, Ebay, Michael's, and Joann Fabrics via Google