Decluttering My Art Supply Closet Part I: Choosing My Media

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

I tend to go through alternating minimalist and maximalist cycles when it comes to acquiring stuff – and when it comes to taking on hobbies! Recently, I’ve been in an expansive, more-more-more phase: I started watercolor, explored various related arts like gouache and ink, got a ton of different supplies, tried new things. Now I’m entering the restrictive phase of the cycle, where I pare things down and decide what to focus on and what to let go. 

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Da Vinci Dot Cards!

Da Vinci paints are made in California and tend to be cheaper than Daniel Smith, Winsor Newton, and Schmincke (at least here in the U.S.), but to me they look just as good; some colors I like better!

Da Vinci’s dot card has only 24 colors (a fraction of its line), but they are well-chosen, vibrant, and I loved every single one. I also created more work for myself by augmenting it with a few additional colors that I wanted to try & took a chance on.

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What is this painting… of?

Have you ever really thought about the way you look at a painting, a photograph, or even a scene in real life? Your eyes skip around. You don’t take it in all at once, or process it neatly top-to-bottom like a computer might. You jump from one element to another, your eye drawn by those shapes, colors, and contrasts that are most interesting, unusual, or surprising. 

Not everyone’s experience of the same real-life scene is the same, of course. Perhaps you and a friend are looking at the same landscape. Your eye is drawn to a yellow tree in a sea of green trees. They are more interested in a duck that’s swimming on the lake. Each of you might paint a different picture of the same scene: yours might focus on the tree and not have a duck at all, and theirs might paint the duck in loving detail while reducing the trees to a hazy background. 

As an artist, you can curate your viewer’s experience. You can lead their eyes to the parts of your painting that you find most interesting and meaningful. But to do that, you need to know yourself just what it is you’re painting. What’s the center of interest? 

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Legion Sample Size Paper Reviews

Legion Yupo sample size paper, with a #10 Velvetouch brush for size comparison.

Recently, I tried a bunch of itty-bitty 2”x3” sample-size pads to try various Legion watercolor paper options. I was especially interested in Yupo, a “tree-free” type of paper that’s totally different from typical watercolor paper. Here are my impressions.

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What is the Tool of Thirds?

I’d heard Photography People say “rule of thirds” long before I learned what it actually was, and it always sounded so mysterious. A secret rule that photographers use to make Art instead of Snapshots! I avoided learning about it, because I hate rules, but when I did, I actually found it very useful and now I use it all the time. 

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