More on Ways to Save Money in the Studio

Yesterday, there was much interest in my blog post — Artists, You Can Save Money By Making Your Own Paints. Thanks to all who shared it and re-blogged it.

Today, I am posting follow-up tips on supplying your studio for less.

Containers:

One problem you will likely encounter when making your own paint will be the continual lack of enough clean containers with lids to store your paints.  I discovered American Science and Surplus has many plastic and glass bottles in assorted sizes at super low prices. Because they stock surplus items you can even find art supplies as well as paint-making devices such as a mortar and pestal at a fraction of the cost of the same items sold in art supply stores. If they are not in your geographic area perhaps you will find a store like this near you.

How To Make Your Own Pastels

I’ve made lots of my own pastels and have always found it super easy. Even if you do not consider yourself a pastel painter there may be instances where you want to draw with a large stick of pigment onto canvas or paper. You can make pastel sticks to fit your needs and your hand, or even make sticks with graphite powder, charcoal powder, metallic powders or plain white chalk powder.  A kilo of the highest quality white French chalk powder retails for as little as eight or nine dollars. Mix white chalk with a dry pigment powder to make a tint of that color.  Knead in the wet binder, gum tragacanth–which is easy to find and use. This full description on how to make pastel sticks

English: Gold bronze pigment Deutsch: Goldbron...

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seems a bit much more complicated than I have personally found it to be. For instance, the instructions recommend adding a preservative. I have pastel sticks that I made  4-5 years ago that are still in perfect condition even though I never added any special preservative but used only distilled water and added a little Isopropyl alcohol to the gum tragacanth.

If you have tips for saving money in the studio that you would like to share with other artists feel free to leave a comment.

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Artists, Want to Save Money By Making Your Own Paints?

a pigment store in marrakech

Image by austinevan via Flickr

English: Pigments for sale on market stall, Go...

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Acrylic paint red pyrrole dab
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Painters who make their own paints have control over what’s in them. Making paint is easy. Here is the link to several paint-making recipes.

You will find dozens of recipes for making your own paints and mediums in the book Formulas For Painters by Robert Massey. I’ve owned a copy for years and have tried many of the recipes in this book.

If you don’t want  to work with powder pigments, it is even easier and more economical to purchase pigment dispersions in squeeze bottles and add color to a medium, such as acrylic matte medium, to make your own acrylic paints. A gallon of acrylic medium and several pigments in dispersion will produce much more paint at a lower cost than purchasing the same quantity of paint in tubes or jars from any art supply store. I have used pigment dispersions for several years and have found Guerra provides consistent quality and fast delivery.

Pigment dispersions and a gallon of gum arabic produces a lot of watercolor or gouache. You can buy gum arabic dry or liquid.

English: Gum arabic powder in tub

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Oil painters have many more options open to them for mediums that will work with pigments, either dry or in dispersion.

If you work with oil paint perhaps you have used cold wax medium– a small jar of cold wax medium costs several dollars in the US at your local art supply shop. That is why I want to share this simple recipe for making much more for much less. This is a recipe I have used myself so I know that it is simple and easy and produces a quality product. You can find inexpensive blocks of white wax at stores that sell candle making supplies, and you can pick up a can of turpentine at your local home improvement store.

COLD WAX MEDIUM RECIPE

1 part white beeswax

3-6 parts turpentine

Melt the wax in a double boiler, then turn off the heat source. Gently mix the turpentine into the wax. Allow to cool. It will thicken into a soft paste and will look identical to the cold wax medium you purchase from art suppliers.

Store the cold wax medium in a container with a lid. Use it with or without added color. Cold wax medium will go on smooth and easy and then harden on your canvas or panel.

Success for Fine Artists

Sign-up for Aletta de Wal’ s Artist Career Training newsletter

http://www.artistcareertraining.com/artmatters-newsletter

for access to the free podcast:

“ElevenTips for Success
for Fine Artists”

In this recording, Aletta, (amid a long list of actions artists can take) recommends that artists: “Write a story about each piece of art you create.”

Even my abstract painting titled “Resistance” has a “story”. Read what I wrote below:

Resistance, mixed media on canvas, by Marie Kazalia

Resistence

Artist: Marie Kazalia

48” x 48”

Date: July 2010

The title, Resistance, refers to the painting techniques used–which are the Process Painting techniques of layers, stain and poured paint. The silver acrylic paint layer (over yellow and texture on canvas) acts as a resist to the watery splashed on dark paint stain, so that it does not soak into the canvas as in traditional Stain Painting.  The stain layer of watery paint bleeds out to break from the confines of the hardedge forms based on military camouflage patterns. The artist mixes much of her own paint using painting mediums and dry pigments. In this case, the artist mixed silver aluminum powder into an artist grade acrylic medium as the pigment binder, to create the silver paint used in this painting.