Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Painting 101: Basic Supplies to Get Started!

Good morning Class, welcome to Charles' Painting 101 for Beginners! If you are interested in painting, but don't know where to start, or importantly don't want to spend a lot of money just to try it out... then this is the post for you!  


—Old rag or paper towels – for brush/knife cleaning
—Water Cup
—Easel or flat surface to work on
—Paper bags, old sheet, or drop cloth to cover any area that you want to ensure does not get “painted” by mistake
—Palette (I use the cardboard flaps that I cut off my Amazon boxes) 
—Good light source: large window, lamp, or strong overhead light 

Painting Tools:

—No. 10 Bright Brush (square shaped bristles)
—No. 8 Filbert Brush (arch shaped bristles)
—Medium-sized Flat Wash Brush (wider, mop-like brush) 
— Small Liner Brush (long, thin point bristles)
—Medium Palette Knife 

With just these four brushes and one knife you can paint most of the works on my art channel: Impulsive Artistry YOUTUBE LINK.

In my abstracts I also use larger chip brushes (what you usually think of as a paint brush for small projects around the house)

—1/2 Inch Chip Brush
—1 Inch Chip Brush
—3 Inch Chip Brush 

Synthetic vs Animal Hair Brushes:

While I would not suggest just using a basic assorted pack of paintbrushes, typically designed for children, I have tried and used both synthetic and animal-hair artist brushes when painting. Synthetic brushes will not hold up as long, but can be a cost-effective option for a beginning painter - usually in the $3-5 range per brush. All of my acrylic paintings are created with synthetic brushes - using a cheaper brush does not mean that you can't paint amazing pieces of art! Do keep an eye out for loose hairs that get stuck to the paint on the canvas while you are working (yes the animal hair brushes also do this!)  

Go to the painting aisle in your local art supply store, and check out their artist brushes there. I suggest finding a price point that you are comfortable with, and go with that. Look for a very fine edge for the larger brushes, even distribution of the bristles, nothing bent or damaged, and a nice point for the liner brush.

Feel free to experiment with different kinds of brushes to get different effects!  

Paint Colors!

To get started in painting you only need five colors, yes only five - you can mix the primaries into the secondary colors you need! Tip: Yellow + Black = Green, seriously, try it! I recommend starting with acrylic paint—artist student grade is fine to get started (you can use craft paint, but the colors won't be as vibrant at it will have a matte finish), then after you build up some painting skill, branch out into watercolor or oil painting (much more expensive, but a lot of fun). 

Titanium White
Mars Black
Naphthol Crimson
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Cobalt Blue

Expand Your Color Palette:  

Ultramarine Blue
Naples Yellow
Raw Umber
Burnt Umber
Alizarin Crimson

Cadmium Orange Hue
Prism Violet
Permanent Magenta
Phthalo Green

Also Try:

Acrylic Gesso - Reuse paintings that didn't quite work, cover up the canvas with the gesso
PVA Glue - Allow to dry, great for texture! 
Matte Liquid Medium - Great for blending colors on the canvas 


A Collection of My Paintings. Artist Charles Wolf. 
Impulsive Artistry © 2017 

This topic could be a whole post to itself, but for now I will keep this fairly brief. To start out, purchase a pack of the 8x10 Canvas Boards at your local arts supply store, $7-10. 

You can see this type of canvas in my recent "Ocean Sunrise" painting below. This size is small enough so that you can cover the canvas quickly and complete a painting under an hour. 

"Ocean Sunrise." Full Length Painting Lesson.
Acrylic on Canvas Board, 8x10in. 
Artist Charles Wolf. Impulsive Artistry © 2017 

You may also want to try the 11x14 and 12x16 inch canvases, but these will of course take longer to finish. I find that as I increase in canvas size - up the standard size list, I typically add an extra hour or two to complete the painting. I would not go larger than 12 x 16 inch to start and recommend smaller canvas sizes to begin. I will not recommend any brands here, just go with what is cost effective for now, especially if you are just starting out, because these are essentially practice paintings, we don’t need to purchases really high-end material just yet.

Most of all – just have fun!!!


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