frequently asked questions

your frequently asked questions

Answers to some of artist's most frequently asked questions about painting.

supplies - techniques - and more


what is the best paint?

Always choose professional quality paint. They have more color pigment and that makes it easier to produce high quality paintings.

Even students should use professional paints, if possible.

frequently asked questions

your frequently asked questions

Answers to some of artist's most frequently asked questions about painting.

supplies - techniques - and more


what is the best paint?

Always choose professional quality paint. They have more color pigment and that makes it easier to produce high quality paintings.

Even students should use professional paints, if possible.

As an affiliate of Amazon and Blick Art Materials I earn from purchases. There is no additional cost to you. Learn More

what are alkyds?

  • Alkyd paints are high quality pigments combined with alkyd resin to hasten drying time.
  • The pigments in oil paints are combined with oils, such as linseed oil.
  • Watercolor pigments are combined with gum Arabic.
Answers to frequently asked questions, Springtime a landscape painting by artist Carol MayAn Alkyd Painting - "Springtime"

watercolor paint - tubes vs. pans

Tube watercolors and pan watercolor paints both have the same paint pigments combined with gum Arabic.

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 watercolor for painting outside in the field.

Use small brushes to get the paint out of the pan. If you use large brushes, the brush will overlap into the adjoining pan colors.

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 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 spray. The painting may be framed with or without glass.

what is aquabord or claybord?

Aquabord and Claybord 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 painting with a fixative to seal the paint.

Then it may be framed without a mat or glass.

God's Promise watercolor by artist Carol MayWatercolor on Claybord

what is gessobord?

One of the most frequently asked questions is, "What can I paint on?"

Most oil painters use the traditional stretched canvas.

  • An often overlooked painting surface is Gessobord.

It is an ideal surface for traditional and water-based oils, alkyds, acrylics, collage, and mixed media.

what light is best for painting?

  • 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 these 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 actually 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. A limited palette will enable an artist to mix most any color you desire.

  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Permanent Rose
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • plus 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
with detailed answers

  • How do you use oil paints? How long does it take an oil 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.

This classic book is translated into 17 different languages.

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

how do you keep paint fresh?

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

Place your paper, glass, wood or whatever palette you use into the 12"x16" box and seal the lid.

I put the palette box with my unused alkyd paints into the freezer and they keep for weeks.

When you are ready to paint again give the colors a quick spritz of water and they are good as new.

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.

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

if you have any other frequently asked questions,  contact me

You might like these

  • How to Paint Watercolor - Preserving Whites

    Paint a lovely butterfly while you learn how to paint watercolor and preserve the white paper because white watercolor paint does not exist.

  • Artists Mix Paint Colors

    Mix paint colors that make your paintings sing with color. Painting will be fun and you’ll save money by mixing your own greens, blacks, warm and cool colors…

  • Daisy Painting with Oils

    Confidently do a daisy painting with an easy tutorial of white daisies. Enjoy your art journey while learning how to paint daisies.

  • Nature Paintings

    Beautiful nature paintings of my favorite things like butterflies, flowers, dragonflies, birds, animals and interesting sea life.

  1. Home
  2. >
  3. FAQs

What's New

  1. Aquabord by Ampersand

    Aquabord made by Ampersand is a great surface for creative watercolor paintings without the hassle of watercolor paper.

    Read More

  2. Watercolor Art Supplies

    What watercolor art supplies do I need? What can I paint on? What’s the best watercolor paint, paper, brushes? Can I watercolor on canvas, plus more…

    Read More

  3. Painting Watercolor Flowers

    The single most important thing about painting watercolor flowers is - watercolor is fun! How to paint watercolor Iris, Poppies and Echinacea flowers.

    Read More

  4. Hummingbird Art

    Hummingbird art, these little birds pack so much color and personality. What a joy doing hummingbird paintings of God's flying jewels.

    Read More

  5. Oil Painting for Beginners

    Step-by-step oil painting for beginners. What do you need to paint with oils? How do you use oil paints? Paint a brilliant Oriole on Dogwood flowers.

    Read More