My favorite paint brushes that can be purchased online

My favorite paint brushes that can be purchased online

Find Artist Brushes and Why I Like Them.

I had joined the Rocket Moms group on Squidoo, and our second weekly assignment was to write about a prized possession. We were to take a walk around the house and determine what was really valuable to us.

I’m glad I took that walk. My first thought of what I thought would be my most prized possession, while still sitting in front of the computer, was different than what I actually picked.

So walking around the house, I opened up to what it could possibly be.

I browsed upstairs. There was the piano which I very occasionally play. No, that wasn’t singing to me. Could it be the great knives on the dining room table that I purchased as part of a new selling program I was going to do? No, that wasn’t cutting it. So I took a trip downstairs to the basement. Ah, I saw it! My art studio. That’s where I get creative; other than when I’m making lenses on Squidoo. What is it that I would take with me. My artist brushesartist brushes. I have a bunch, and I have favorites, ones that are my first choices to use. Yes, I would pick my artist brushes. They are one of my favorite tools of creativity.

The Rounded Art Brush

My first favorite is a flat filbert brush. It is a flat brush with a rounded edge. It comes in great for laying down backgrounds, and blending colors while having a more rounded touch to the background. They’re great for creating clouds.

I also use it for filling in and adding successive layers. I really like that rounded touch.
I have this brush in at least four sizes, that I can think of right now.

Filbert Paint Artist Brush

The Liner Brush

My next favorite brush is the liner brush. I use it a lot for adding details and fine lines, Teeth just wouldn’t be the same without a liner brush! Huh, you’d have to take that smile to the dentist! Yes, I do like the liner brush. Oh, I probably have a good six or so liner brushes. Lines do come in various sizes, you know.

Liner Paint Brush

Paint Brush Cleaning Tips

Use cool to cold water for cleaning paint brushes.
Finish with a bit of soap to press on the end to help maintain the shape of the brush.

The Painting Knife
My next favorite isn’t a brush at all, it’s my painting knife. Sad to say, I haven’t used it much for painting at all, at least not up to this point. I use my painting knife quite a bit for mixing the paint.

I used to use a brush, but then I had to rinse the brush, and watch wasted paint get diluted in the water. Heaven forbid! I wanted my paint to last longer than that! Then I started using my knife for mixing. This one with the rounded part of the handle works great. I’ve also used painting knives that were flat, handle and all, and the handle laid too close to the mixing surface. The rounded stem of the handle keeps my fingers up off the painting, mixing surface, and the narrow tip allows me to grab just the right amount of paint color that I want to mix into the other.

So two thumbs up for the painting knife being a mixing knife! I can also dab paint right off the knife with my brush. Aaah, I get to use my extra paint up. Now, that’s a sweet song in my heart.

This is the whole kit and kaboodle!

Except for the one’s I’ve recently used. I lay them out flat to dry before adding them back into the mix. I keep them sorted, all the rounded brushes together, all the liner brushes together, all the straight edge brushes together, etc.

I have my painting knives in the smaller container. I received that little flower container as a pencil holder when I was a clerical person. I think it’s much happier now holding my artist painting supplies. : )

How To Use The Color Wheel To Create Outstanding Art

How To Use The Color Wheel To Create Outstanding Art

What Is The Color Wheel And Why Is It Important

How to use the colour wheel in art, in simple terms whilst still being of practical use. There are literally millions of colors as any computer user will tell you but we only need to understand a few of them, and how the colour wheel can help with this, to realise how they can be used together for real benefit to the artist, adding a creative dimension to paintings and other artworks.

The colour wheel only considers three primary colors, three secondary colors and six tertiary colors and we look at how the color wheel is arrived at and how it is used.

The accompanying image is for explanation only and does not represent the actual colours. I put this together in Photoplus and could not obtain the exact colours, the images throughout are taken from this diagram. This should not affect the explanation here.

This will give us a practical ability to select color schemes for our art. For an artist / designer, knowing how to make use of the color wheel makes choosing color schemes and why they work, easy.

This is a concept that beginners sometimes find difficult to grasp at first. However it is very easy and will pay dividends if you understand how to use it to select color schemes for your artwork.

The Color Wheel 101

A Primer

The first thing to understand is that there are three colours from which all others can be mixed. These are called the PRIMARY COLOURS and there are specific names for them but all you really need to know is that they are red, yellow and blue. Please note: I have created the colour wheel images on this page for the purposes of this explanation of the concept, they do not accurately reflect the true primaries or mixes of these.


Mixing these in more or less equal proportion gives another three colours called SECONDARY COLOURS. They are green (blue and yellow), violet (red and blue) and orange (red and yellow).


TERTIARY COLOURS are obtained by mixing a secondary colour with an adjacent primary. E.g. red and orange gives red-orange, blue and violet gives blue-violet.


The real beauty of the colour wheel is not that it provides a colourful diagram, but that it helps to select colour schemes for your artwork and here’s how it fits together


Now we shall consider how we might use this knowledge. But first of all, the colours on the screen do not seem to work too well especially in the red to blue sector. Why not use the paints / colours from your own palette to make a colour wheel? Use it for reference when needed, it will repay the effort many times over. Just start with the primaries and add the other sectors by mixing the colours in the respective proportions. In fact, if you use different primaries ( for example: alizarin crimson in one wheel and cadmium red in another) you will be able to see which colours when mixed give you vibrant greens or dazzling oranges, etc. Knowing how to use your colours is one sign of a good artist.

You can find out more about the primaries I use in my watercolour palette, and how I use them to mix secondaries, etc in my page on Painting The Seasons.

The Monochromatic Colour Scheme

Use Of The Colour Wheel (1)

We can identify five main colour schemes based on their relative positions in the colour wheel. The first and easiest of these is: –

THE MONOCHROMATIC COLOUR SCHEME; contrasts are achieved simply with shades and tints of any one colour.

Now we seem to have introduced the concept of shades and tints. Do not fret! A tint is a lighter version of the colour. It is made by a process which depends on the media being used. In oils or acrylics for instance, it would be a mixture of the pure colour pigment and white. In watercolour, it would be a more dilute mixture of the colour. A shade is a darker version of the colour, often made by mixing with black but could be achieved by mixing in a small amount of the complementary colour. More about this below.

The Complementary Colour Scheme

Use Of The Colour Wheel (2)

The next we shall consider is the complementary colour scheme. Here we make use of one main colour and its close neighbours on the colour wheel or their tints and shades, and add a little zing by also using its complementary colour. This is the colour found opposite on the colour wheel. So :-
for blue the complementary is orange
for red the complementary is green
for yellow the complementary is purple

The photo of the indian lady shows a collage which makes use of a complementary scheme to make the red sash stand out.

Another collage, I have recently completed shows the effect of using a blue colour scheme and adding a little orange in the form of images in a film strip. I think this shows how effective the complementary colour scheme can be.

The Harmonious Colour Scheme

Use Of The Colour Wheel (3)

Next we shall consider the Harmonious colour schem, also called the analogous colour scheme.

This utilises closely co-ordinating colours, i.e. close together on the colour wheel. This is often described as using either warm or cool colours. Warm colours are the reds, yellows, oranges and their mixtures. Cool colours are the blues and greens.

The “sixties” themed ATC shown here uses mainly reds, purples and oranges to give it a warm feel.

Another example is given which uses cool blues in various tints.

The Triadic Colour Scheme

Use Of The Colour Wheel (4)

The triadic colour scheme utilises colours equidistant from each other on the colour wheel. E.g. red-orange, blue-green and blue violet. An example of this is seen in this “african themed” ATC.

This second photo shows also shows a triadic colour scheme in use. The red background with the blue of the repeated advertisements and the yellow text and gold (yellow) colouring dragged across the background.

The Split Complementary Colour Scheme

Use Of The Colour Wheel (5)

painting over collageThe split complementary colour scheme uses one dominant colour balanced by two colours from either side of its complementary. This can be said to be very similar to the triadic scheme and only subtly different.

The example here shows a painting, as I have not been able to find one of my ATC’s that have been created using this colour scheme.

The dominant blue has been off-set with a reddish orange and touches of a yellowish orange.

How to paint shadows – basic methods explained

How to paint shadows – basic methods explained

Painting shadows – resources for realistic painted shadows

This site tries to give some help on painting shadows in realistic, representational painting.
To establish the right form of a shadow is one thing, but to get the colour of a shadow “right” is at the centre of mastership in painting, I think.
Imagine a meadow in sunlight and a tree that casts a shadow on it. There will be different shades of green, some in light and some in shadow.

Especially the capability of the human eye to adapt quickly to low light levels adds to the difficulty to draw and paint true shadows. As you look into a shadow it seems to get lighter. When you look back into the sunlit areas the shadows suddenly seems so much darker again.

In the end painting shadows is painting light, a particular form of light: shadows are reflections of indirect light whereas the sunlit parts of a subject are exposed to direct sunlight.

Some basic steps to paint shadows are discussed here from dark to light and vice versa. Depending on the medium used there are limitations and different potentials to depict shadows. Two example paintings in oil colour (Plein Air) and dry pastels (studio still life) are discussed in detail. The tips can be used in studio work as well as in works on site, Plein Air.

Basics of the colour theory are explained together with links for more extensive studies. Finally some comprehensive “how to books” on painting light and shadow can be purchased from this website.

Image credits: All images on this webpage ,if not otherwise stated, are creations by the author.Images and illustrations of products (in affiliate links) are used according to Squidoo TOS.

The theory of light and shadow explained with a pastel still life painting as example

This is a great explanation of the theory of light and shade in drawings.

Understanding the categories of direct light, highlights, form shadow, reflected light and cast shadows can help a lot to see and depict the effects of lights in nature much better.

I lit the still life set above with a strong side light from the left and a weaker top light. With a bright piece of cardboard I reflected light back into the composition from the right side because otherwise those shadows would turn into a massive dark and partly almost black area. This is a method that photographers use a lot in portrait work to reduce the contrast between light and shadow areas.

What categories of light an shadow can be seen in this pastel painting?

1.) In area one there is the brightest part, the area of high light on this particular vessel

2.) In area two you see the darkest form shadow (core shadow) that contrasts the most with the area in direct light. This is partly an optical effect rather than a “true” observation. On curved surfaces you will see a more or less wide zone of transition from the brightest direct light into the form shadow. The core shadow will fade more and more
as you move away from the light source and will finally get brighter again when you get in to area 3

3.) Area three is a form shadow that receives some reflected light, often the reflected light has a different color and it will change the color of the form shadow. In this particular case I added some more red that was reflected from the background panel onto the vessel.

4.) Area four is interesting as a cast shadow falls directly into the zone of bright direct light. That dark shadows cast from the soda bottle is lit up on the lower edge of the other vessel by some reflected light from the lower body of the soda bottle.

5.) The shadow in area 5fice is a special case. There is a soft, somewhat blurry cast shadow with a darker core. That effect occured because I used two sources of light. The darker core is in fact a more precisely cast shadow from the strong side light, whereas the soft broader outer part of the shadow originates from the further away light bulb under the room ceiling.

Light, shade and shadown in drawing and painting a beginners guide

Is there a formula to mix the colour of shadows?

An example in oil colors -Some problems and questions that occur in painting shadows

Artprint plein air landscape painting by editionha
Large format printing by Zazzle

In this plein air oil painting light and shadow are the main features. I did this study because I wanted to find out what is the colour of grass and foliage in sun and in shadow and whether there is a way or maybe a kind of formula how I could get the best or convincing results.

But from which colour or shade should I start from? Should the colour of the grass in sun be the starting point and I would mix from bright to the darker shadow, or should I come from the dark side and establish the colour of the grass in shade first and brighten that colour somehow up to paint the areas in direct sunlight?

The most irritating thing is that the human eye adapts always to the light conditions. When I looked at the grass in sun the shadows seemed to be very dark. But when I studied the areas in shadow it seemed that the shadow was not that dark anymore the longer I looked at it. It seemed to get brighter and many different shades of grass emerged, which disappeared again when I studied the sunlit parts of the landscape. Particularly the border between light and shadow presented a difficulty. The contrast seemed so very strong there, but my logic told me that the amount of light and as a consequence the colour of the grass directly at this border line and a few meters away from it had to be the same. In other words the shadow would not get darker close to the sunlit area and also the sunlit area would not be brighter close to the shadow area. This effect again has to do with the way our eyes handle strong contrasts. There are limits for what our eyes can discern and for that reason leaves of trees observed against a bright sky always seem very dark, almost black even though we know that they are green.

Finally I had to realise that I never would be able to reproduce the very same sensation and experience of seeing light and shadow in my painting. Instead I could try to imitate the “effect” of light. For that reason I painted the grass near the border to the sunlit area in a darker and cooler green than the grass close to the edge of the forest. Also I tried to put in some variations within the sunlit and shadow areas.

Also my idea of a kind of a mixing formula vanished; instead I understood that I needed to establish the right tonal values between light and shadow and that I had to find the true colours of grass or leaves etc in shadow and light. Plein air painters often have a small card board frame with a small hole in it with them. By looking through this hole they can isolate certain spots of colour to determine the true colour of objects. I used the palm of my hand to form a kind of monocular and thus isolated certain spots of the landscape for my eyes to get an idea what the true value and colour. This helped me to establish the basic tonality of the shadow and the sunlit meadow. Then I started from these middle values and expanded the range by mixing slightly lighter and darker colours of dark greens and greens in sun.

Some people mix their shadow colours by adding blue, violet to the colour of the sunlit areas or objects in a rather schematic way. These shadows often look artificial. The same applies for the other method that starts with the object colours in shadow which then is brightened up with white and yellow to imitate the sunlit appearance. Both methods are based on the assumption that shadow or sunlight can be understood as some sort of colour filter. Sunlit areas contain more white and yellow, whereas shadows contain more blue and violet components. of course these basic assumptions are correct and helpful on the way, but for more sophisticated painting one has to drop “recipes” I think.

So how do you mix dark shadow colours with oil colors ?

There are many ways to mix dark colors, in fact the possibilities are endless. However there are only a few starting points.

1. Add black color to your base color
Let’s say you need a dark red. By adding black to red color you can mix a darker red, but the red will get more and more muddy the more black you add. You can tell by the greyish look of a paintings that a lot of black has been used in mixing. If you want that look it is fine, but if you prefer bright colors this method most probably will not be the preferred one

2. Start with a dark version of your base color and add dark blue
If you want to keep your colors bright and virbrant adding dark blue to the base color will give you a dark, but blueish version of the base color

3. Mix a dark color with the three primary colors : magenta,blue and yellow
This is the most demanding version to mix the color as seen from the primary colors. You might want to experiment with dark versions of the primary colors or similar colors for example you could subtitue magenta by burnt siena and use prussian blue instead of a primary blue etc..

4. Use Schmincke van Dyke brown to darken colors
I have used Schmincke van Dyke brown with great success to darken colors, especially for painting shadows on green foliage or very dark foliage.
In fact I consider van dyke bewon the best black you can get. It does not kill the clarity of your base color as black does. In combination with variation of no.2. and 3. one can get great results.

I commend to experiment with all four starting points. The shadows and dark greens in the landscape above were painted by using variations of the no.2–no4.

What is the colour of shadows ?

A bit of colour theory

The colour of an object is determined by the light, or more exactly by the wave length of the light that is reflected by the object.
An object in direct sunlight reflects stronger and different light in comparison to an object that receives no direct light or only a fraction of the available light because some other object is casting a shadow on it by stopping the light from the primary light source. Nevertheless the object receives indirect light from the surrounding, which is reflected light, when in shadow. The colour of this indirect light can vary of course depending where it is coming from especially from where it is reflected or maybe even filtered.

Very well known is the effect of blue and grey shadows on snow. Snow in shadow receives mainly indirect light from the sky. As snow is white i.e. without colour or more correctly reflects all colours, the shadows in snow look blue under a blue sky without clouds or greyish on an overcast day with a closed layer of grey clouds.

Example 2:
The shadows under a red sun umbrella are influenced by the colour of the umbrella for example. A blue drinking cup under a red umbrella might change to a violet colour due to additive colour mixing theory : blue + red=violet.

Also it is interesting to observe that the colour of the primary light produces shadows in the complementary colour. If you chose a red bulb as your primary light source in a still life painting the shadows cast by that bulb will have a greenish colour.

How to paint shadows – basic approaches

From light to dark and vice versa

1. From light to dark
In water colour and in acrylics it is a very common method to lay down the colours of an object in “normal light”. Then the artists waits until the colours are dry. In a second step those areas in shadow will be covered with a transparent layer of colour that will darken the original colours in order to get a shadow effect. A similar approach is also used in oil colours by adding blue and darker colours to tone down from light to dark shadows. That way the colour hue of the sunlit area is always present in the colour mix for the shadows.

Usually the primary source of light as the sun contains warm yellow light and the colour of shadows are mixed with blue colours as cool complementary hue.

2. From dark to light
Of course it is also possible to start from the dark side and to establish the colours in shade first. The colours of the sunlit parts are then mixed by adding white and yellow to the shadow colours to brighten up or tone up the shadow colours.

3. Mixing the colours as seen
The other way is to paint the colours as they appear in front of the painter. In principle there is no difference in mixing the colour of the sky and the colours of a wall in sun and in then in shadow. In any case the painter has to observe the colours and to translate his observation into a colour mix.
Very bright hues can be mixed by adding white and if the source of light is “warm” i.e. yellowish, as direct sunlight mostly is, with a little bit of yellow in addition. In general it is wise not to overdo the mixing with white because the result will be washed out or almost bleached colours. Overdone highlights can really ruin an otherwise well done painting.

A major difficulty is to mix dark or very dark colour hues. To know the extreme dark and bright colours that are possible with your medium is very important. The gamut of oil colours and other painting media is just not sufficient to represent the wide range of tonalities which are there in nature. Therefore a very bright light can only be represented by emphasising the contrast with dark colours around.

Painting or drawing shadows with dry pastels

A studio still life study with controlled light

This is a still life in dry pastels on medium rough watercolour paper from life in my basement studio. During a week I studied light and shadow colours in artificial light. I tried to find the right colours as seen on the objects to get the realistic look of light and shadows.

It was very helpful to have different colour shades in the Schmincke set of pastels colors. For example the ochre tonalities in light and shadow on the lamp on the right are only very slightly mixed. For the most part I applied the pastel without mixing in that case.

The green glass bottle in the middle however required quite a lot of careful mixing as the set of pastels colour did not contain greens in a suitable gradation of tonalities. I also used bits of grey or charcoal to darken certain areas. With purpose I avoided to use a lot of white in the brightest areas. I would commend to establish small areas with the brightest colours and the darkest colours very early in the painting process to keep control over the contrast or tonality range. It might be very difficult to establish highlights later if the medium tonalities are to high already. If you set your middle values too dark the deepest darks in shadows can become a problem. I found that it is more difficult to create the darkest darks in pastel than the lightest lights.

As you may observe the tonality varies in shadows, by darkening the shadows close to the contact with the bright areas I tried to imitate the sensation for the eyes when it looks at strong contrasts as described in the previous paragraph. There was a rather complicated mixture of shadows cast by the objects onto themselves and on others as well as effects of reflected coloured light, particularly in the green glass vessel at the centre of the composition.

Great Easy Acrylic Painting Projects

Great Easy Acrylic Painting Projects

Find Great Easy Acrylic Painting Projects

Find easy acrylic painting projects. It has great ideas and acrylic painting projects and access to other painting projects too. Discover the joy of painting in acrylic and explore this great medium with these projects.

Finding an Easy Acrylic Painting Project

Finding things to paint can be a trial sometimes. But it need not be. There are things to paint all around. For instance did you know that Vincent van Gogh spent months and months painting nothing but flowers. It doesn’t matter that he used oils it was the dedication to finding a subject no matter how difficult the task.

Often us painters cannot see what to paint, we are too busy looking for that amazing landscape or capturing rare lighting which is all great. But in doing so we miss the little things. We forget that it is the beauty in what we see and paint that makes it amazing.

Below are projects for you to try. Depending on where you are in the world will depend on when and if you have winter, summer or seasons or monsoons. But there is no reason why you cannot adapt each project for your own needs. OK here goes.
Find Great Acrylic Painting Projects on Amazon
Finding great acrylic painting projects is a great idea as it expands your learning and techniques and gives you plenty of ideas. Below are some project ideas for your acrylic painting

Easy Acrylic Painting Project 1

Project 1

For this project we are going back to basics. For those of you who haven’t done any color mixing start here.

Watch this video on basic color mixing as you will need to be able to mix colors for future projects.
Then practice until you can confidently get most of the basic colors.
Purple etc

Easy Acrylic painting project 2

painting project Two

Van Gogh may not be to everyone’s taste, however his work was based on feeling and color. If you are a beginner without much experience it is important for you to get the feel of the paint, how it works, how quickly it dries and what it looks like. The best way to do this is to play.

To do this project we are stepping into Van Gogh shoes. We are aiming not for an artistically correct piece, but one with color and feeling. Using your new found color mixing skills from project one we are going to create a simple painting.

1. Pick a subject that you love. Make sure it is fairly simple to do. Try to keep it natural. Flowers in a bottle or vase would be great, your favorite part of a garden, a cliff a tree etc. If you think a vase is too much keep it to one flower. Painting outside can be a challenge so only do this if you feel comfortable. Remember this isn’t about making a perfect picture but playing with color. do not paint from a picture or photo from other artists.
2. Gather together all your art colors and canvases and brushes.
3. Spend time looking at your image. Break your image down into both color and light.
4. Just paint the very basic shapes and basic colors. Don’t worry about detail just the overall image.
5. Make sure your colors are over vibrant and your paint thick. Keep your brushes larger to prevent fussiness.

Project 3 – Simple Acrylic Winter Landscape Project Challenge

Project 3

This is a lovely painting to do, it reminds me much of the Bob Ross style which is well known for bringing art to everyone. So challenge yourself to get out those brushes and explore the colors of winter!

Easy Painting Project 4 – A Simple Landscape

Project 4

This is a beautiful little painting to do. Not only is it a project but it also teaches you techniques all done by a 3 hour video tuition after which you should have some useful knowledge to apply to any local landscape painting you might fancy doing.

Project 5 – Fun Cave Horse Painting

This Comes With a Popularity Warning

One of my favorite projects was one I didn’t think I would enjoy but it was really fun. This is the cave horse painting. This is a beginners project however lots of people af all skill levels love to do this one. You recreate the stone walls by building up the paint much as you would for any other painting though it is designed to look really messy! The cave horse is painted much as the cave men would have done and he looks fats and dumpy.

Cave horse and other cave animal pictures are on the open domain if you want to get one.

WARNING: Very Popular. I didn’t think anyone would like a picture of a cave horse, but have found that it is very popular. My sister napped mine when my tiny house got crowded with art. Then my other sister wanted one too and I have to repaint one for me! So be warned you might have to do more than one! It isn’t a problem it is fun to do and can be done quite quickly.

Lots of Painting Projects for the Beginner to Advanced Painter

This is absolutely amazing! I came across this site while searching for inspiration and wow did they give it. This site has to be the best and most comprehensive site for art courses on the net. If you don’t agree and have found another one feel free to pop it on the comments as I am always in search of the best information and ideas out there. But I think this will be very hard to beat!

This is definitely the site by artists for artists of all levels and skills. These guys cover everything from easy acrylic painting projects like the one above right through to the more complicated projects and courses. If in doubt they do a free course and a free magazine just to get you started – these should keep you occupied for a while. However if you want to plunge right in there are some great courses and they start at low prices or you can buy modules.