Greetings Friends and Fellow Art Lovers,

If you love art, you love colour. Walking into an art supply store is your candy store. So many yummy choices! I want to give you some info that will make you a more savy customer...

1. Beware the bargain priced paint. There is a big difference between artist quality paint and student quality. "So - I'm just a student"j, you say. Ah but... student quality paint will frustrate you and really slow down your learning curve. It can fade, has less of a pigment load making it difficult or impossible to make dramatic darks, and is not always consistent from tube to tube. That means the lovely reds in your painting can turn brown - sometimes quite quickly. The yellows can fade. And just when you figure out your favourite mixture, you buy a new tube and it doesn't behave the same.

2. This student grade thing is even more complicated. The manufacturers do not usually put the word "student" on the tube or jar. Liquitex calls their student grade "Basics". Winsor and Newton calls their student grade "Cotman". Save yourself some frustration - don't buy those. If in doubt, ask the staff if you are looking at artist quality paint.

3. Some colours are easy to mix. You don't need to buy them in a tube. For example; sap green. Mix a bit of ultramarine blue into lots of any primary yellow. That yellow-green is sold as sap green. How do you know which paints make great mixtures? I have recommended supply lists for each paint type on my website. With these few colours you can make thousands (not exaggerating) of wonderful mixtures. Check them out here:                Cheryl's recommended paint supplies.

4. Learn to look at the pigment numbers on the tube or jar. For example; PB29 is a single pigment used to make an essential primary blue often called ultramarine blue. But the manufacturers each choose the name on their tube. So it could be called Peacock Blue if the manufacturer chooses that. By knowing the pigment number,  you will know if you already have that colour in a different brand - or even in the same brand! DaVinci has 4 different names on tubes that each only contain PV19. The theory behind that is, PV19 is one of a few pigments that will shift in colour a bit when ground finer. I bought all 4 to see if there was much difference. To my eye, 3 of the 4 looked to be a very similar magenta. The 4th leaned more toward purple.

5. Frequently a tube with just one pigment listed is a better buy. Example; if you see a tube with 2 pigments, let's say PB29 and PW(any number), the PW is a white pigment. If you own a white already, and a PB29, you can very easily make this light blue mixture yourself and not spend money on a tube of it.

6. Be very careful with blacks. I occasionally use straight black, simply on its own for strong contrast, and hardly ever in a mixture. Nothing makes mud faster than darkening a colour by adding black to it. There is sound colour theory behind that. To get a good handle on mixing your own blacks, I recommend the 10 week colour course that I offer from time to time. (Maybe next fall - not sure yet.)

7. Fewer tubes of colours will always make for a more dynamic painting. Beginners sometimes think that if they have 25 tubes of colour out the painting will turn out better. Not so. By starting with just a few (most often I use 4 or 5) and mixing them, your painting has a much better shot at being cohesive and not feeling like the colours are sporadically chosen and unrelated. This also lets you get to know well a few colours before adding more to your repertoire. It gives you a colour foundation to build on.

I hope this list will save you both money and frustration on your art journey. Colour is one of the most exciting and personal aspects of painting. Give yourself lots of play time with good quality paint so that the colour palette that is uniquely yours emerges as you put in the brush time.

Lots of sign ups have come in for the Women's Cottage Art Retreat. Here is what is left open:

Friday night May 24 to Sunday May 26 - 1 private room left available.

May 27 to May 29 Monday to Wednesday 3 day retreat - 1 private room left available.

Friday night May 31 to Sunday June 2 - 2 private rooms and 1 shared room (2 separate beds plus ensuite washroom) are available. All the info is here:

Happy Painting!

Cheryl O

Today's Quotes:

"Colour is the place
where our brain
and the universe meet."

Paul Klee


Commissioned - Sold
by Cheryl O