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ORGANIZING YOUR PALETTE, WORK SPACE AND ART SUPPLIES

Catherine's Art Studio

My time in the studio has been a bit limited lately while I have been taking care of my grandson Ethan so when I do get out there I have to make the most of my time.  Having the studio and work space clean, organized and ready to work is very important for me.  I had about an hour one day last week so I decided to clean up my work area and organize my painting supplies.  In doing so I thought I would share some photos of palette and layout of my work space.  Having my art supplies organized and easily accessible makes it so much easier to get started when I do get to “play” in my studio.  I have made a diagram of my palette layout and also taken a photo of it while it was clean and untouched.  After trying many stay wet palettes systems I have finally decided on the 12” x 16” Masterson Sta-Wet Palette Seal. First I lay in a yellow Stay-Wet Handy Palette Sponge.  These sponges are super thin, you soak them, squeeze out the excess water and place in the bottom of the palette.  Next I place a sheet of palette paper over the sponge, this helps keep the paints moist from underneath and easier to lift up the amount of paint you need with your brush or palette knife.  I took an 8 x 10 piece of glass out of an old frame and placed that on top of the paper near the bottom edge but centered between the two sides.  Finally as you can see in the diagram below I place my colors on the palette paper in a clockwise direction starting in the lower left corner and following around to the lower right corner.

Diagram of Catherine's Acrylic Palette

The brands of acrylic paint I use are Liquitex and Golden Acrylic.  I like both of their qualities and I lean toward Liquitex because the caps are larger and easier to handle.  The tubes are vinyl and don’t crack like the metal paint tubes, I hate leaky tubes! I have made a wish list that I carry in my wallet of the paint colors I need and the brush sizes I want so when I get a 50% off coupon at one of the craft stores I can get what I need at half the cost.  If I need more than a few colors or brushes I order from Dick Blick Online Discount Art Supply and save on shipping.  They also let me make a wish list so when I am ready to order I can pull it up on their site and click away.

At the top of this blog is a photo of my work space while it was clean, below is a close up photo. I am left handed so this would be reversed for a right-handed artist. In the work space photo you will see that I have made my own brush holder out of medical syringe holders glued into a pencil tray.  It works great to separate all the different types of brushes and I can locate what I want very quickly. I did have to crowd these things a bit to get them in the photo so you could see the general layout. You can click on any of these photos to see a larger view.

At this time I am painting on old banquet tables because my son-in-law Scott wants to make me a custom desk and cabinets but we haven’t had the time nor the money quite yet.  I have to be patient because Scott does an awesome job on any project he works on so I know it will be perfect.  You can see some of his handy work in the photos below of my studio he finished out of an empty garage.  As you can see I also work on my porcelain painting,  jewelry and beading all in one studio and still  have lots of room for student work areas.

It is nice to have everything set up, clean and ready to work as soon as I get an Art Break!  Since my Art Breaks have been short and sweet lately I have been working on small pieces.  I discovered “Artist Trading Cards” recently and whenever I am working on a larger painting I try to create a similar painting on one of them.  They are 2” x 3” cards made out of water color paper. I am not real sure what to do with them yet but here are some of my finished ones:

I hope to hold a class soon for beginners on “How to Paint Flowers with Acrylics” in my studio.  If you are interested contact me by email at: artdesign@catherinetonning.com and I will let you know when I get it scheduled.  Painting with acrylic paint is very versatile and satisfying once you get a system down. One of the most important factors is keeping the paints moist and cleaning your brushes frequently with soap and water.

I hope I have inspired you to paint with Acrylics!