Friday, February 25, 2011

merry go round - favorite painting tools

Every last Friday of the month, I am going to be jumping on the 'Merry Go Round'. What is the Merry Go Round exactly? Each month, a group of artists and craftswomen from around the world join together and give their response to the same question/challenge.

Find an old man.  Ask him if he ever built, fixed, or restored things in his life.  If he says yes, then go find his garage and locate his tools.  He may have a few or he may have hundreds, but chances are there will be a couple that have seen heavy use and special attention.  These are his favorite tools.

And just as any carpenter or fix it man, an artist always has their favorite tools close at hand.  Today, I get to share my top five favorites for painting.

No. 5 - Tiny Watercolor Brushes

I have only been doing watercolors for a short while now, but can tell you that I go with the tiny brushes about 98% of the time.  The big ones always make the end product look like a child was in charge.  I just can't get them to work how I want them to.  So, tiny it is.

No. 4 - Extra Thick Paper

My extremely low budget right now means that I cannot buy the extra thick watercolor paper often, but oh what a difference it makes when I do!  I hate the way the thinner stuff warps with the water and makes the entire piece feel cheap.

No. 3 - Easel 

My true love is painting with acrylics, and when I do that, I use my beautiful easel.  This was a gift from my husband before he was even my husband and it has gotten great use!  Mine is collapsable, so it has been wonderful to easily throw it on the truck when we move.  I miss it dearly right now as I am in Europe.

No. 2 - Space

I cannot tell you how much I need free space when dealing with my acrylic paintings.  My process usually involves 2-3 layers that need to dry in between.  This means that I usually have about 5-10 work in progress pieces at a time.  I dearly need places to safely put them for the drying process.  I hope to have a beautifully ugly studio like the one I had in Boston again someday.

No. 1 - Plastic Palette Knife

I might get emotional as I write this, because I so immensely miss my knives.  The palette knife is how I have set my work apart from other artists.  I love the texture they give a painting and the roughness they provide to delicate details.  They make me work quickly.  They clean up so easily.  They are my number one favorite tool.

There are 10 other women that are part of the Merry Go Round.  Check out what their favorite tools are!  

Misty at Artmind
Mariana at Florcita
Laura at Blue Terracotta
Monika at Red2White
Ruth at Birdland Creations
Kim at Vilt a la Kim
Sara at Crafts of Texture
Samantha at Vintage is for lovers
Agathe at Le Bar du Vent

Related Articles
Why I Use A Knife - More details on why I've chosen this tool for my very own
Q&A - Video of Me Painting - A really fun video of me using those tiny brushes
Sketch Book - Take Two - Another great tool that didn't get included


  1. How interesting! I just started -for fun only- to work with watercolours and I still haven't got the hand of it. I guess good paper and good brushes make the world of a difference, right?

  2. Thanks for this peek at your favorite tools! That's so interesting that you work on so many paintings at once. Where do you dry them at the moment, in Europe?

  3. I love your work... it's great to see what tools you use! Sx

  4. I like your paintings, especially the texture you create with the knife. Lovely to meet you.

  5. How come you didn't pack your knives? It woud make me sad too if I had to miss my favorite tools for a long period of time. Painting frightens me - I mean, the big white canvas does - perhaps I need these tools to make that go away! ;)
    Welcome to the Merry go round, Bethany! :)

  6. I love your paintings, and especially the texture you create with your knives. (And I don't mean to make you sad.) I look forward to getting to know you! xo Samantha

  7. Sorry to hear you are missing some of your favourite tools right now. Let's hope you can remedy that soon. Love the idea of your working on lots of projects at once! I love doing that too - with each at a different stage. Keeps my mind buzzing with ideas. Glad you've joined us on our merry go round :-D

  8. thanks for sharing your toools and experiences with them!! welcome to this group!!

  9. I'm sorry to hear to seem to have to make do without most of your favourite tools at the moment, but I'm also very interested to see I'm not the only one who can be emotional about "mere" tools...
    Bear up! :)

  10. yay! a painter! it's been so fun going 'round and seeing everyone's top 5 tools. sad to read about missing your knives... hoping you are reunited in due time.

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts!