I am teaching a beginning oils class this month and have included some favorite gadgets and hacks in the lessons each week. These little bits and pieces have proved to be some of the favorite moments in the class for some of the students. So today I will share some of my favorites with you…
For me, the best studio palette is a piece of glass—it cleans easily and completely and you can put whatever color you like (I prefer gray to white) under it. Still, when dragging stuff back and forth for lessons, or even on days when I am painting at the association and not at home, I like something light and portable. My solution: a thin cheap clear or white cutting board. These are lightweight, easy to clean, can be easily wiped down. A perfect travel palette when you do not want the weight and you are not using and tossing it like paper.
My next hack is a coffee can half filled with sand. I love the wide top and filling it with sand allows me to stand dirty brushes upside down so they don’t touch each other as I paint. The wide can base prevents tipping. I keep the lid handy so that when not in use it is sealed in case the can should tip over. It’s probably my favorite painting hack.
Another useful tool to keep handy is a pack of computer swabs or Q-tips. They are perfect for a quick lift of a mistaken paint blob. You can also remove the cotton and use the shaft of the swab for sgraffito or line drawing.
Among my art tools, my favorites include a tube wringer-for getting the last bit of paint from the tube, a rubber tipped color shaper which is terrific for creating smooth, hard edges as well as liftingg mistakes right off the canvas, and barrier cream to protect my skin (I hate gloves and often use my fingers when painting so this cream is a nice alternative to gloves.)
Final studio favorite: my Yeti cup because it keeps everything hot or cold for hours, but more important is the fact that with the lid on I don’t mistakenly dip my brush in it. 😉
What are your favorite painting hacks or tools in the studio?