painting artists can find the answers to their frequently asked questions here

Artists frequently asked questions about Supplies and Techniques plus More....

  • When you are learning to paint, you probably have a lot of questions.

Asking questions is a great way to learn. You will find the answers to many of your most common questions here.

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.

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 ad - alkyd paint to dry overnight or within 24 hours. The finished paintings look just like traditional oil paintings.

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

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what watercolor paint should i use - tubes or pans?

This is one of the frequently asked question when you are beginning with watercolors.

  • 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.

what do you 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 you watercolor on canvas?

Yes, you may purchase 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 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.

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

Either one may be used for watercolor paintings.

Spray the dried paintings with a fixative to seal the paint. Then they may be framed without a mat or glass.

An often overlooked painting surface is 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

Why do I paint watercolors on Aquabord?

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.

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.

Painting with a limited palette of the primary colors will enable an artist to mix most any color.

  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Permanent Rose or Cadmium Red
  • 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 watercolor?

A watercolor tutorial for beginners will answer your frequently asked questions about how to use watercolor, colors for your palette, what brushes to use and what to paint on.

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

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.

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.

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

a classic book

how do you keep paint fresh?

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

Masterson Palette boxes

Oil and alkyd paints will keep for many days in a Masterson Palette Box.

You may use a 12"x16"  Stay-wet Palette Box for acrylics.

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

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. has public domain and CCO images.

for any other frequently asked questions contact me

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