Happy Creativity Friends.
What a wonderful season we are heading into for creative joys, be it decorating, wrapping gifts, baking delicious treats, curling up after the rush period with a good book, or exploring new creative gifts.
Did you see the health warnings for baby powder?
I hate being a know-it-all at times, but where health and safety in the arts is concerned I've made in a passion to educate artists to work safely, and have also warned that baby powder was linked to ovarian cancer since I learned that in health science training in the 1960s. Before I use art supplies, I learn about the chemistry of what I'm working with. I guess that makes me something of an obsessive nerd-artist determined to stop artists from inadvertently harming themselves.
The dangers of a self-taught artist, who blows pastel dust off the paintings into the studio in their demonstrations, just makes my head spin.
I've always warned people that both baby powder and artist's pastels are both closely related to asbestos, and indeed some occasionally do contain asbestos. I only teach pastels in order to heavily emphasize that they are a dangerous substance to work with. Fine dust, especially fine pigmented dust, is hardly a healthy substance to use within the house, especially if there are children about.
If you planned to buy pastels in the New Year sales, can I suggest reconsidering and choosing a healthier art medium to work with?
I will be creating lots of art tutorials oils and watercolours, and some tutorials in other mediums. Oils are the easiest medium to learn art in, with a good tutor to guide you. I would love to be that tutor and will teach safe ways of working with oil paint. Do not let the art supply sales person sell you stuff without looking at the safety warning on the back of the tube or bottle. Become a fine print reader.
What art supplies to get in the New Year sales?
Sets of paint and pencils or pens are usually discounted up to 20% in the NewYear. If you know what you are after, watch online auctions for unwanted, or discarded after one use, art supplies.
Better to buy fewer art supplies of artist's quality than a lot of student grade materials. See that peony painting, I created it with only green, red and yellow paint.
Black, white, red, yellow and blue and one or two of the best quality brushes and good quality painting supports will get you started in most mediums.
Stocking Filler Art Supplies.
Recommended, Stocking Filler Art Supplies
A colour wheel. I'll demonstrate how to use it and share about colour harmonies.
Oil Painters Stocking Fillers.
For oil painting: Pointed round hog hair brushes for traditional fine art painting.
Don't worry, if you can't paint now. You only need the desire and some supplies to get started. I will do beginner lessons as well as advanced ones, and it is fine if you have flat or fulbright brushes, I use those too.
Citrus Turpentine is made from orange zest, so it smells like oranges. It's a lot nicer to work with than gum or pine turpentine. Even so, use it out of doors. A disposable palette might not make you feel like an old master, but they are practical. A roll of aluminium foil spread loosely over your art supplies mightn't be a glamour touch for the room, but it keeps my cats out of my wet pant. If you buy quality paint, you don't have to buy mediums to work with it. A bottle of stand linseed oil is useful if you paint slow and need to apply wet paint over dry in detail areas. If you work wet on wet or the alfa prima method I'll teach, don't buy bottles of art mediums, you are safer not breathing the fumes. You can clean oil paint brushes in... I have a video on that in my new, Painting the Beauty of Peonies Course, but basically rinse in canola oil, or baby oil, then remove all traces of the oil with either soap and cold water being careful to reshape the brushes, (I'll be showing how in my oil painting art courses) or clean them out of doors in citrus turpentine.
Watercolorist's Wish List for Santa
For watercolour: A large, pointed, squirrel mop brush or a pure sable pointed brush. Neither will be cheap if they are quality ones. Advice from good, rather than a cheap brands, art supply store will save you money in the long run and save you a lot of frustration when painting.
Secret Santa Treats for Any Age
For drawing: A drawing board. a range of quality graphite pencils in varied grades. An art gum and a kneadable eraser.
If you ever need a soft rubber, and can't find one, roll fresh white bread into a ball. It will lift off graphite without damaging the paper beneath. It's also fantastic poultice for removing stubborn splinters. Haha, those are the only thing I use white bread for. Told you I was a health science trained (not a bad thing for an artist) nut. :-)
Questions & Answers and Constructive Critiques.
Subscribe and hit the notifications bell in my YouTube Channel to follow the free art demonstration and studio vlog. I'm not teaching on YouTube. I see the YouTube more as a studio news chat and art demo. The courses and lessons you find on my website, at the base of any page, go into greater depth and are for my art students.
My online students may put links to photos of the lesson they are doing in my blog comments section and request a critique. I'll do the constructive critique in the following video where possible.
You don't need a lot of space or a fancy easel.
My video demonstration studio consists of three mobile tables. One to work on and one on each side for extra supplies. It's a practical and easy studio to set up in the corner of a room near natural light and power point.
I use daylight globes purchased from a sewing craft store. I have heating and cooling control and a fan for extra summertime comfort. A comfortable chair is a must have. You don't need lights as bright as I have.
I'm appreciative of the training I've received over my sixty-five year professional art career and I'm happy to pay it forward—online—through my blog, newsletter, YouTube and art courses.
Reg and I are in our seventies, and our private space (email and home) is now only for close family. We are retired from personal contact, public life, and do not accept external engagements nor invite visitors to our rural retreat. Thank you for understanding and respecting our privacy.
Very best wishes from artist-author, and creative coach. Ryn Shell, and from Reg Shell, the and the studio assistant cats, Valentine and Tabby.
Have a Wonderful, Loving, Merry, Safe and Creative Season!