Friday, 22 January 2010

Tubes of Paint

Ceramics seem to have taken over my life. Prone as I am to small obsessions I realize that most of last year was taken up with making-and-baking pots. And this blog too has mostly featured ‘pots’ so far and very little ‘paint’. So today I thought it high time I blog a bit about painting.

Let’s start with the basics - materials. I currently use acrylic paints on canvas. I usually buy through local art shops, partly because I like to support them but also because I love browsing and need items immediately (being too impatient to wait for the post). I buy the same brand of paint throughout so all of my stock comes from the same manufacturer which at the moment is Daler-Rowney. There’s a logic to this: you become familiar with the brand and their ranges, you get to know how the paint feels to work with - and the paints themselves should be compatible with each other. (I’ve heard for instance that if you mix two different brands together they don’t always like it; but this could be just a marketing ploy!)

Of the Daler-Rowney ranges I usually opt for a 75ml tube (which are the chunky tubes about 14cm long) from the ‘system 3’ range, partly because it’s cheaper but also because it’s fairly free flowing and quick to dry. (I also tend to be impatient when painting and don’t like to wait around for things to dry!) And then sometimes I buy a tube of ‘Cryla’ heavy body acrylic colour in a 75ml tube - or the smaller 38ml tube - also from Daler-Rowney. This is a thick, dense paint which gives more texture. These are more expensive and have a tendency to clog in the tube if you’re not careful about putting the caps back on properly, but they give more depth to the surface where the ‘system 3’ alone might sometimes seem a little flat. I also usually buy a white in both systems – this means when I mix I have the choice to use a free flowing white or a thicker, more textured white to beef up the colours.

Most of the time I use only water as a mixing medium and rarely use any ‘fixing’ varnishes. I’ve tried acrylic mediums in the past but found them too fussy and the varnishes too creamy over the surface which seemed to take the edge off the colours somehow. Maybe I wasn’t using them right? Anyway, at the moment I avoid them and prefer the matt finish the acrylics give just on their own.

And those are my paints! Just an intro I suppose and I haven’t even started talking about the colours I use…but I’ll leave that for another day and another blog entry. In the meantime though I just wanted to mention one thing about ceramics before I go! Today I found out that my turquoise buttons were featured on I Love Handmade Blog. So thank you Kev for choosing them! Here’s a screenshot but you can also click here for the blog entry and here for my buttons.

Bye for now.


  1. That's interesting about sticking to a brand - I tend to mix and match, as I do with the colours I use. Perhaps I should be more selective! Looking forward to seeing some of your paintings :-)

  2. Thanks Cecca! Totally understand about mixing and matching too as I happily mix and match brands and hardness of pastels together! But with paint I like to predict/control mixing of colours - a different brand of 'sap green' for example didn't seem to have the same quality so I decided to stick to ones I knew. (And it's probably also a control freak thing!)