Creativity comes in many forms for me these days, but my preferred way of making art is to use acrylic paints to create mixed media art on canvas. I generally start with painting abstract backgrounds because it’s a fun way to slap some paint down and let my creative tendencies flow without the fear of making a mistake. It’s so freeing!
After I get the background to a point that I like, I start to think of the next layer–it’s usually a character, animal or a sentiment. I can’t say that I usually have something specific in mind to layer on top when I start, it just comes to me after that first layer of paint. The color + vibe of the whole thing inspires me for the general message that’s coming through. It’s a lot of fun to flow like this:-) And for the times I do get stuck, I just start working on another canvas to keep the flow going (and let the other one dry).
So in this process, there are a lot of different tools that I use; some are traditional, some are everyday objects (paper towels, anyone?) I try to keep circulating tools so that I get new marks + visuals on my paintings and don’t fall into the rut of the same old look. There are some old stand bys that are the foundation of my art making, here they are:
Spray bottle: So simple, right? It’s an amazing way to create drips, soften colors and even remove something entirely. It’s an easy tool that can change things in an instant. Who doesn’t love spraying with abandon?
Paper towels: Again, a really simple tool, but man does it do some great things! I use them to blot, blend and absorb color. Sometimes I use them to apply paint back on the canvas, too. The patterns of the paper towel end up in the final pieces a lot, and it offers simple variation to the background. #winning
Foam brush: I got this tip from painter Flora Bowley when I saw that it’s generally the one brush she used to paint most of her paintings! I figured there must be something to it, and sure enough it’s a pretty cool tool. The foam brush is great particularly to use on bigger pieces because you can cover a lot of ground with a few swipes. They’re great for blending and making patterns + marks, too.
Stamps + stencils: I absolutely LOVE stamps + stencils. They can give such great dimension to any painting, and can also create an overall interesting feel for the piece. I use a lot of pattern stamps so I can use them in a row to create a line or use them a few times around the piece at different angles. I also love using letter stamps to create the sentiments on my pieces. Combining the different style letters gives a little bit of an ‘off-center’, whimsical feel. And to clean the stamps? I use baby wipes. Yes, baby wipes! They are my total secret weapon in making my art.
Palette Knife: Not only can you blend paint colors together with this nifty tool, but you can also paint with it. On bigger canvases, it’s a great way to smear, smudge + scratch paint into the canvas. Different sizes and shapes will give different appearances–it’s fun to experiment with them all!
SO where is the best place to get all of these items? You can pick up the general things at your local store like Target or Walmart but for the art specific tools, you get the best deals from the online shops:
P.S. My favorite bonus tool? Canva. I know it’s not a traditional art tool, but man is it an amazing way for me to display my art! I use this cloud based program to create graphics for my online world (blog + social media) and I even incorporate my own backgrounds into the design. Are you looking to learn how to create your own graphics, too? I have you covered–my course, Create In Canva, is especially for you so come take a peek.