Many people ask "how do you make those dots". So here are some of the daily tools I use in my studio and why I like to use them for creating acrylic paintings:
- Apron with a front pocket. If I didn't wear this, I would have paint on more surfaces than my big toe, face, headphones or minivan steering wheel. I put this on before I do anything in the studio, for the above listed reasons. The front pocket is for my phone/tunes. (Big grin!)
- Sony, sound isolating ear buds. So worth it to block outside noises around the Art Center... and gym if I'm so inclined.
- Anti-fatigue mat. This makes things easier for the feet and knees and keeps me going for most of the morning.
- Boards with clear gesso, because I want to be painting for every moment that I can. This lets me work with wood without worrying about finishing or warping.
- Tape for masking edges I want to keep pristine.
- Sponge brushes for colored gesso or any base color I might be wanting to try.
- Photos for reference, mostly at the start of the painting and for double checking dynamic range (lights and darks).
- White and black charcoal for roughing in my designs.
- An adjustable easel. I can sit or stand and still keep good alignment and prevent repetitive motion injuries.
- An old plastic cup from college days to hold my brush water. It makes me smile when I think of the good times.
- Rags made from hubs' old T's. One rag is for wiping off paint when getting ready to switch colors. The other rag is for wiping off water from the newly rinsed brush. Working this way keeps my water from getting brackish too quickly and keeps the paint from running when applying a new color. Every now and again I will rush to the other side of the studio to grab a clean rag to moisten and wipe off a "whoops" or a drip.
- A plastic reusable paint tray. If the paint accidentally dries overnight because I rushed out of the studio to pick up kids... I can peel it out. Only certain types of plastic do this, so research it or check with me before buying.
- A spritzer. I can spritz my paints every time I rinse a brush; it helps keep the paint from drying out too quickly.
- Saran wrap. I cover my palette when I step out of the studio for a few minutes (or hours). I've had the paint be fine a couple of days later if I've put a good seal on it. (Paint ain't cheap my friends.)
- A plastic palette knife. No reason for plastic especially, but it works wonders for quickly mixing my liquid acrylics... and for scraping out dried paint.
- Golden Liquid Acrylics. I have been using this brand for its archival qualities and high pigment loads for over 30 years. They are beautiful and just work. A gal needs that in this crazy busy world.
- Brushes. Yes, most of those dots are made from square looking brushes... from about the size of your thumbnail down to, well, itty bitty. (Where the bleep did I lay my reading glasses?!)
- A mirror. I take it with me across the room and look at my paintings backwards to check and make sure nothing is popping out that shouldn't. If I'm ever getting the sense that something "isn't quite right" with a piece, this is my go to tool. I wonder if this is where the magic mirror thing started...
- Your eyes and brain. When I use those squared off brushes with my liquid acrylics, the paint edges soften after I make the mark. A "softened" square from a distance is seen and interpreted as a circle in your brain. Don't worry. It's a generalization feature we all have.
- Refillable paint markers with Golden High Flow Acrylics. This lets me make even smaller dots. And, the Golden product lines all play nicely with each other, so no worries there.
- A blue plastic scrub brush to use on the plastic tray in the event of stubborn dried paint. The bright color is nice and matchy matchy with my college cup.
- Murphy's Oil Soap. To wash my brushes in preparation for the next painting session.
- My phone for taking snapshots to assess the painting or post on social media. It's also handy for setting alarms so I remember to pick up the kids from school.
Are you a maker of dots? Acrylic painter? What tools do you use?
If you are looking forward to seeing some of these in person, save the dates:
May 6th and 7th from 11a - 5p both days.
I'll be participating with 18 other studio artists in Silicon Valley Open Studios 2017 then. Would love to see you. -- R. Bangs
Site #18 | 1700 Industrial Road, Ste. 208 | San Carlos, CA 94070