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Artists' Painting Supplies

Creating your own artwork can be one of the pleasures of life. Painting can be enjoyed by anyone old enough to hold a brush or crayon. Here are some considerations when choosing just what art supplies you need to paint.

What are acrylic paints?

Acrylic paints are dispersed in a solution of mineral spirits and methyl methacrylate. They are frequently used by artists because they dry quickly. This quality makes them good for indoor painting. You can dilute acrylic paints or use undiluted paint for deeper colors. Acrylic paints are sold in tubes if they are of thicker viscosity, or in jars with a screw top lid.

Are there acrylic paint supplies for beginners?

There are acrylic paint supplies for beginners as well as professionals. These paints can be matte or fluorescent, or come as temperature-activated pigments. You can buy them in tubes, jars, and spray cans. Acrylic paints are formulated not just for art paper but for wood, ceramics, canvas, and fabric.

What are watercolor paints?

Watercolors are made of transparent pigments that are ground to a very fine texture and added to a solution of water and gum arabic. This allows the paints to cling to the surface of the paper even if they have been diluted with water. Watercolor technique uses the white of the paper to bring out the white colors and pale tints of the painting itself. Gouache is a type of watercolor, but it stays opaque even as it's diluted, and the paintings have a more matte finish.

What are oil paints?

The colors of oil paints are evenly dispersed in a medium of drying oil. The oil is most likely linseed oil, but other oils include poppy oil, walnut oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and candlenut oil. Some painters favor oil paint because it's very versatile. The colors don’t change very much as the paint dries, and large pictures can be painted on lightweight canvases, which makes the paintings easy to transport from studio to gallery.

What kinds of brushes are in sets of artist’s paintbrushes?

Artists’ painting supplies offer various brushes, such as:

  • Bright: This has nothing to do with the quality of the paint, but was named for a Mr. Bright. These brushes are flat with somewhat sharp corners. They are about two and a half times longer than they are wide.
  • Flat: Flat brushes are broad and have straight edges. Like brights, they should be about two and a half times as long as they are wide. The ferrule, which is the metal that holds the brush to the brush handle, is flat.
  • Round: Brushes with round-style bristles come to a point that can be blunt or sharp.
  • Filbert: The filbert is a flat brush with rounded corners.
  • Fans: These brushes are also called dusting brushes. They have relatively few bristles and are used for delicate applications to a wet surface.
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