frequently asked questions

painting artists can find the answers
to their questions here

  • Artist's most frequently asked questions about painting.

supplies - techniques - and more

Answers to frequently asked questions, Springtime a landscape painting by artist Carol MayAn Alkyd Painting - "Springtime"

art supplies

what is the best paint for artists?

  • Always choose professional quality paint. Professional artist paints contain more color pigment. That makes it easier to produce high quality paintings. Even students should use professional paints, if possible.

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what are alkyds?

One of the frequently asked questions about oil paints is how long do they take to dry? Oil paintings may take up to 6 months to dry thoroughly.

  • Alkyd paints are the same high quality pigments combined with alkyd resin.

The alkyd resin speeds up the drying time. This enables alkyd paintings to dry overnight or within 24 hours. The finished paintings look just like traditional oil paintings.


what watercolor paint should i use - tubes or pans?

Tube watercolors and pan watercolors both contain the same paint pigments.

  • Tube watercolors have glycerin and other additives that keep the paint flexible in the tube. Tube watercolors produce more brilliant colors because you don't have to add so much water before you use them.
  • Pan watercolors are in a dry cube placed in a pan. They are portable and are the favored for painting in the field. Use small brushes to get the paint out of the pan. Large brushes will overlap into the adjoining pan colors.

tube and pan watercolors


what do you paint watercolor on?

Watercolor paintings have been done on paper for centuries.

Watercolor paintings on paper must be framed under glass with a mat to keep the painting from touching the back of the glass.

Modern technology has given us some other choices for today's watercolor paintings.

What Watercolor Paper should I use?


Watercolor painting of a Florida Anhinga on cold-pressed paperWatercolor on Paper

can watercolor be painted on canvas?

Yes, you may purchase "Ad" canvas specifically made for watercolors. Make sure the label says it can be used for watercolor.

Brush on a good amount of water to the entire face of the canvas to break the surface tension.

Let the water soak in before you start painting. This will prevent the paint from beading up or sliding around.

After the paint is thoroughly dry spray the painting with a "Ad" protective UV resistant spray. The painting may be framed with or without glass.

Watercolor painting on canvas by Carol MayWatercolor on canvas

what is aquabord, claybord or gessobord?

Aquabord, Claybord and Gessobord are made by Ampersand. They apply ph neutral Kaolin clay to one side of Masonite panels.

"Ad" Aquabord is textured like cold pressed watercolor paper. Claybord is smooth.

Either one may be used for watercolor paintings. Spray the dried painting with a "Ad" fixative to seal the paint. Then it may be framed without a mat or glass.

One of the most frequently asked questions is, "What can I paint on?" Most oil painters use stretched canvas.

An often overlooked painting surface is "Ad" Gessobord. It is an ideal surface for traditional and water-based oils, alkyds, acrylics, collage, and mixed media.

God's Promise watercolor by artist Carol MayWatercolor on Claybord

what light is best for painting?

Lighting is one of the frequently asked questions.

  • North light shows true colors. The ultimate studio lighting is to have north facing windows in your painting area. Many of us don't have that luxury.

Regular incandescent bulbs we use in our homes are warm. Paintings done under regular bulbs look dull in natural light.

Florescent tube lights are cool. We tend to over compensate and make the paintings too warm. So what should we use?

  • Daylight bulbs provide a balance of warm and cool light that is perfect for painting. They use about 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.


daylight bulbs


what brushes should I use?

Choose your brushes suitable for the type of paint you are using. Different paints use different types of brushes.

How to choose your paint brushes



painting techniques

what colors should i use?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions. All colors are made from the three primary colors.

A limited palette of the primary colors will enable an artist to mix most any color you desire.

  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Permanent Rose
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • White for oils, alkyds or acrylic paints

Many artist use an extended palette of a warm and cool version of the six rainbow colors.

Oil/alkyd extended palette colors

Watercolor extended palette colors


how do i start painting watercolor?

  • Included is a basic 5 step plan for painting watercolors.


i want to start oil painting

You can paint a colorful Baltimore Oriole with the beginning oil painting tutorial.

  • Included are the color scheme, what brushes, colors and materials to use.
  • Photographs and explanations of the painting steps.

FAQs about oil painting gives detailed answers to more frequently asked questions about painting with oils.

For example, how do you use oil paints? How long does it take a painting to dry? Materials, best paints, colors, etc.

Step-by-step Oil Painting Tutorial by the artist Carol MayBeginning Oil Painting Tutorial



more frequently asked questions

do i have to know how to draw?

Some people have a natural gift for drawing. The rest of us learn how to draw with practice.

  • "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" is a classic, inspiring book by Betty Edwards that helped me to learn drawing.

This classic book is translated into 17 different languages.

  • It is a powerful book for building your artistic confidence and skills.

classic book


how do you keep paint fresh?

  • Keep your unused paint in a covered palette box between painting sessions.

Oil and alkyd paints will keep for many days in a Masterson Palette Box. Place your paper, glass, wood or whatever palette you use into the 12"x16" box and seal the lid.

Use the stay-wet palette box for acrylics.

Tube watercolor paints may be kept in a Masterson Aqua-Pro Watercolor Palette.



Masterson Palette boxes


how are original paintings shipped?

Small original paintings will be shipped thru the United States Postal Service.

Large paintings will be shipped thru United Parcel Service.


how much does it cost to ship an original painting?

Original paintings are shipped free of charge in the United States.


where do you get reference images?

Paint from your own photos or copy free images.

Look for free public domain images or CCO images.

Public domain images have expired copyrights or no copyrights.

CCO, creative commons images have zero copyrights attached. The person who originally produced the images has given up their copyrights to the image. 

Pixabay.com has public domain and CCO images.

Do your paintings from your own photos or copy free images.Painting from my own photo

if you have any other frequently asked questions feel free to contact me

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