The Graffiti Faerie

Our Graffiti Faerie is caught in the act of producing her street art. Looking over her shoulder, as some street artists have to do if they don’t have a spotter, her gaze is defiant – daring us to challenge her art and actions. Strong midday sun shines on the colourful and chaotic canvas of graffiti and street art around her.

Of all of my Urban Faerie paintings, this one has been the most demanding. I actually started this one first out of the five, and it is the penultimate one to be completed. The more observant may spot some crossover graffiti and street art from the other paintings in the series. There is a suggestion of high rise faerie, graffiti from the neon and diesel faeries and a hint of the litter faerie, which is coming soon….stay tuned!

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Top Ten Favourite Art Supplies

Welcome to My Top Ten Favourite Art Supplies!

Apart from obvious things like paint, brushes and canvas (though you don’t actually need any of those things to create art), the art supplies I couldn’t do without might surprise you. Takeaways, bedsheets, and masking tape feature heavily in making the magic happen!


So here, in no particular order, are ten things that are among my very favourite art supplies.

10 Palette knife

I know a lot of artists do this, but I’m going to give it to you straight – mixing paint with your brushes wrecks them. Seriously – it will eventually gum up the bristles and ferrule, take you longer to mix a colour and you’ll never quite wash out all the paint from deep in the brush. Over time, this will accumulate and ruin the brush. Do yourself a favour and get a couple of palette knives to mix your paint. Metal ones are the most fun, but even cheap plastic ones are better than mixing with a brush.

9 Tiny takeaway containers

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As a takeaway addict, I never need an excuse to order a curry. Luckily for me, our local takeaway uses little plastic containers with air-tight lids for condiments. Once washed out they make excellent storage for spare paint when you’ve dished out too much and for that carefully mixed colour you want to keep for a while.

8 Watercolour pencil

Not for doing watercolour paintings as I’m useless at them, but for sketching on the canvas, drawing grids and guides for the underpainting, and drawing on top of the acrylic paint . Unlike a graphite pencil, which will muddy your paint and never fully erase, watercolour pencils will wipe off cleanly with a damp tissue or even your finger.

7 Tear-Off disposable palette

These pads of disposable palettes are fantastic – the glossy surface is a joy to mix paint on, there is a pre-cut thumb hole and no clean up needed. For very detailed work I sometimes tear a bit off and tape it to my painting next to the area I’m working on.

6 Masking tape

From sticking reference photos on my wall and easel, to taping things to the actual paintings while I’m working on them, this low tack tape is super useful and doesn’t damage anything. Use it to help you painting straight lines or even to paint your entire painting as demonstrated on You Tube here by Jamie Dougherty.

5 My phone!

Researching reference images, taking in progress shots and tweeting when I’m painting to hold myself accountable. I work hard to turn what could be a major distraction into a valuable tool.

4 Stay wet palette

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As an acrylic artist, I am blessed and cursed with the rapid drying properties of acrylic paint. An indispensable tool in every acrylic artists studio has to be a stay-wet palette. There are loads of different types available, but they are simply a shallow container with a lid that keeps your paint from drying out. They work by using a membrane at the bottom that you soak with water. My favourite thing to use is old bedsheets that I’ve torn up into duster-sized pieces, but you could also use a j-cloth or blotting paper. Top with a piece of greaseproof paper that you can then put your paint on. It will wrinkle when it gets damp from the cloth underneath – there is no way to avoid this. Make sure your greaseproof paper is white not brown so that it doesn’t affect your colour mixing. I get mine cheaply and pre-cut to roughly the size of my palette from here.

3 Daylight bulb and stand

Lightstand

Due to parental commitments, most of my painting takes place at night after the children are in bed. My daylight bulb enables me to paint at night but keep my colours true – a normal tungsten bulb can cast a yellowish shade over your work and will make your colour mixes slightly off when viewed again in daylight.

2 Spray mister bottle

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The quick drying properties of acrylic can be slowed by the occasional light spritz of water. This is especially useful when painting plain air as I did here

1 You

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Look in the mirror!

Yes.
Seriously.
None of us exist in a vacuum, and I am so grateful for the friends and family around me, and an audience for my art. Thank you for sticking with me, reading the blog, liking and buying my art. I really appreciate each and every one of you.

So what are your favourite art supplies? Anything you absolutely couldn’t do without? Please leave me a comment and let me know!

Pop goes the dragon

Like most Welsh people, I am very proud of being Welsh and love our culture. I thought it was high time that I had a go at the Welsh dragon on our national flag and the painting above is the result.

As you can probably tell from the accuracy of the dragon, I traced it. Now before you all raise your hands in horror and think that I have somehow ‘cheated’ in doing this – I can explain!

I wanted the paining to be a recognisable depiction of the dragon of flag – I don’t see the point of reinventing the wheel, and didn’t intend this painting to be my interpretation of the flag, just a fun piece. As artists, we have so many tools at our disposal – grids, photographs, projectors etc. that it seems a shame not to use them when the right project could benefit from it.

While many could say that this painting is less of a ‘painting’ and more like  ‘colouring in’ with paint, it did give me the chance to practice blending, colour mixing and use of other materials.

I often use many different photographs as source images to help me decide on the pose/angle/composition of my original works, or as research to get to know a subject matter better. Is this cheating? I very rarely ‘grid’ a photograph onto a canvas, as I prefer the practice of sketching it myself. Occasionally, I will do a few preliminary sketches or a digital mock up of a complex painting to see how the composition works before putting brush to canvas. Is this cheating? Or part of the creative process? What do you think? Leave me a comment!