• Carolyn Land

Let’s Get Practical

“Art is a habit-forming drug.”     Marcel Duchamp

In last week’s blog, I mentioned a list of: “24 Things to Loosen Up Your Art.” One that I did not mention, I would like to address this week: Get everything ready.

We are not all lucky enough to have an in-home studio.  For those of you who do not and want to work at home, I would like to offer some helpful hints. There have been times in my life, I was not lucky enough, to have a whole room I could set aside for my “creative spirit” materials to reside.  I remember a time I was doing watercolor paintings on a cherry “secretary desk” in the corner of my living room.  “Where there is a will, there is a way”!

Tote and Tools


So, if you don’t have a studio, get yourself a backpack or a tote bag with some pockets. (Love pockets!)  Put in a pad of your favorite paper, five or six paint colors, a variety of tools to apply the paint, a palette, an old kitchen towel, a mason jar for water, a piece of plastic for the floor and one for your working surface. And, fill the outside pockets with odd and ends you might need: tape, pencils, scissors, ruler, small spray bottles of alcohol and water.

There are hundreds of paint, pencil, and pastel colors out there, and yes, we want them all.  After all we are artists, and we love color!   But the truth is 90% of my work is done with six colors of paint.  Paynes Gray is my dark, Titan Buff is my light, and my three primaries are Turquois Phthalo, Ouinacridone Crimson, and Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold.  Then I have a jar of Magenta, I interchange with the Crimson, if I want a brighter, warmer, purple or orange, or I can mix it with the Crimson for a bright red.  Mix those three primaries together, and you get the most wonderful dark!  Finding the few colors that work for you, saves money and space.  It also means no matter what style you are working in; the work will always harmonize.  I have no problem being creative with 6 paint colors.

I use re-cycled Styrofoam meat trays for my acrylic palette.  When I am done I can throw them out.  If I have paint left, I can paint some tissue paper with the left-over paint, on a plastic garbage bag and let it dry, and have pieces for collage.  If there is a lot of paint left, the meat trays fit well in a gallon plastic storage bag, that you can seal. Watercolors are great in a commercial palette, with snap on lid.  When you are done painting they dry up. When you need them again, they just need a couple of squirts of water and come alive. No need to throw anything away.

Photo of filed collage paper

Collage Paper


If you do collage, keeping your papers filed in an accordion file folder works well and they are always together. Put the folder in a tote, with some paper to work on, a jar of medium, a mason jar with soapy water for your glue brush, a plastic bag of odds and ends you might want to incorporate, a pair of scissors, an old kitchen towel, and a table covering.  You are always ready to work.

The point is, if you keep your supplies together, and limit what you have, you can work any place.  It is nice to have it all, but sometimes less can be more.  Never let your space limit your creative spirit, and having it together gives you the freedom to take it out and get to work, and not have to find this, that, and the other thing.

“I hope with all my heart that there will be painting in heaven.”       Jean-Baptist-Camille-Corot

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