There are some brushes I always reach for no matter how many hundreds of brushes sit on my worktop. There are some colours I always reach for the matter how many hundreds of tubes of paint there are and there are some canvases that I always seem to be ordering. So here are my top 10 materials that I use every single day.
1. Zest-it oil paint dilutant and brush cleaner.
I started using zest-it oil paint dilutant instead of turps sometime ago. It isn't as ‘clean’ as water, But it is a lot less harmful than turps. I discovered that when working in my studio all day every day much as I've grown to love the smell of turpentine(!) it was beginning to give me a headache.
It's great to work in a well ventilated space but sometimes in Winter that simply isn't possible, so zest it has really helped make sure that I'm free from headaches and that my lungs have a much nicer time even though I'm an oil painter.
2.Natural linen canvases. The vast majority of my work is on linen rather than a standard Canvas. I let the linen show through as the background of my painting I think it is so beautiful. I have developed my own method of priming the linen so that it is clear. You can buy clear primers off the Internet but I find that they leave a chalky residue which isn't appropriate for me when I want the linen to show through so I have developed my own secret recipe.
3. Rigger. I use lots of different sizes of rigger brush. I use the fine tip of the point of a rigour, I even use a rigour sideways. I get through riggers quite quickly so most of the time I use a synthetic rigger as they are cheaper but I have real sable brushes which I use at the end of the painting for the final finishing touches. I absolutely love these brushes.
4. In combination with my rigger I also love a good flat brush again I have a combination of sizes some synthentic, some sable. Having a flat brush to lay down quick washes of colour and to blend and mix tones is an absolute must during my painting ritual.
5.Old Holland bleu-violet. I tend to use this colour more often than I use French ultramarine, the blue-violet has a lovely warmth and depth to it. I can mix it with different browns to create a very dark almost black colour. I can mix it with white to create a beautiful warm blue. I have tried to paint without blue-violet and it can't be done I absolutely adore using this colour.
6.Brown madder. Like most artists I have plenty of burnt siena and raw umber in my box of tricks but I have added to my Browns collection with brown madder. In the same way that blue violet is a warmer deeper version of French ultramarine I found brown madder to be a warmer deeper version of burnt sienna. I love it. it has a translucency all of it’s own and it can be found in the under painting layers of most of my work.
7. Michael Harding’s Titanium white. I absolutely love Michael Hardings oil paint. It has a creamy constituency and the depth of colour on a par with Old Holland paint. I particularly enjoy using Michael Harding is Titaniam white as it seems to contain all of the blendable quality of a good zinc white, with the bright whiteness required from titanium white. It works. It works really well.
8. Old Holland Naples yellow-reddish extra. Like many artists I fell in love with Naples yellow sometime ago, it is incredible to work with when creating beautiful skies in oil, however I have added to my collection with the Naples yellow-reddish extra. This has been particularly useful in painting animals and getting lovely reflections on a cows nose, or a hare’s ear! I love this colour.
9. Michael Harding’s glaze medium. There are loads of glaze mediums out there and for many years I painted without using glaze mediums and simply used more oil and less turps to create a clear glossy finish. But since discovering Michael Harding’s glaze medium there's been no going back. I adore it’s consistency and it enables me to put a very thin coloured glaze over the top of my paintings. A glaze medium enables a translucency simply not possible without it.
10. A painters smock. I suppose I don't really need a real smock. I have loads of them; seriously loads. But I have gotten into the habit of being free and easy with my paint allowing splatters and dribbles in trickles to be part of the paintwork and this means I'm never going to be the kind of artist that can paint in good clothes. Painting clothes are essential for me and I have become rather attached to my painting smocks.
On my home page I state that ‘I love to paint”. My top ten help me enjoy the painting process all the more.